Zadroga Act Special Master Sheila Birnbaum today issued the long awaited Zadroga Act 911 Victim Compenstion Fund Final Rules & Comments. See the Zadroga Act Final Rule Press Release here.
Perhaps the most important change which resulted from the numerous comments to the draft rules was the expansion of the “crash site” to the area below Canal Street in lower Manhattan (including a good portion of Chinatown). Previously, the “crash site” in lower Mahattan was limited to the area below Reade Street. This will now allow Chinatown residents and others between these two streets to file claims.
Unfortunately, the Special Master is still excluding both cancer and PTSD from compensation coverage. Due to the language of the Zadroga Act itself, it is unlikely that claimants with PTSD, one of the most common and devastating illnesses to arise from 9/11, will ever be eligible for compensation (although they are eligible for medical care under the Zadroga Act).
At least the Special Master left the door open for the future inclusion of Zadroga 9 11 claimants with cancer pending further scientific study. At this time, I am of the opinion that their is still a 50% chance that cancer will be eventually be covered under the Zadroga Act Victim Compensation Fund. We will continue to fight publicly for the inclusion of cancer under the Zadroga Act and we will continue to retain such cases in our office because we feel so strongly that cancer must be covered.
We will provide further analysis of the Final Zadroga Act Rules in the near future.