As First 9/11 Health Award Letters Go Out, Reps. Maloney & Nadler, September 11 Victim Compensation Fund Host Public Forum for Applicants

Jan 30, 2013 Issues: 9/11 Attacks, New York and Our Neighborhoods

New York, NY – Today U.S. Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney (D-Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn) and Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn), chief House sponsors of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act, joined Sheila Birnbaum, Special Master of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), to co-host a VCF public forum at Baruch College in Manhattan for persons interested in learning how to apply for health care coverage and financial compensation for adverse health consequences experienced as a result of exposure to toxins at Ground Zero after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The first award decisions were mailed out by the VCF yesterday.

“The first award letters issued yesterday begin to fulfill the promise inherent in the Zadroga Act: that as a result of the 9/11 attacks, responders, survivors, and workers near Ground Zero lost their health, that they and their families experienced measurable economic harm, and that they deserve to be compensated,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “That is why it is truly great news for those who have lost so much and waited so long for help. These victims and their families can now rest a little bit easier, knowing that their claims have been validated,” said Congresswoman Maloney.

“Now, it’s important for the individuals entitled to compensation under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act to understand what is required to file a VCF claim. That’s why, as chief House sponsors of the Act, Congressman Nadler and I asked the Victim Compensation Fund to arrange this forum and workshop to help those interested learn how to navigate the claims process and get the help that they need and deserve,” said Congresswoman Maloney.

“Today's announcement of the first awards through the Victim Compensation Fund is long-awaited good news,” said Congressman Jerry Nadler. “To the thousands of responders and survivors who have patiently waited for help with their 9/11-borne injuries and illnesses, this is a significant milestone. I thank Sheila Birnbaum and her staff for their very diligent and important work on these claims, and I’m very glad that our efforts over many years are finally having a real impact. However, we need to move more quickly on these claims. I know that the VCF is working closely with attorneys representing claimants to process all of the requisite paperwork in a timely manner to avoid further delays.  I offer my support in whatever form necessary, and look forward to more events like today's forum to ensure that we get the job done. The many people who are suffering deserve no less.”

Background: The World Trade Center Health Program, created as a result of the passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act introduced by Reps. Maloney, Nadler, and King, provides medical monitoring and treatment for those who became ill as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001 and their aftermath.

Yesterday, the Department of Justice announced that 15 initial claim awards were being issued by the VCF, with 14 awards offered to firefighters and one to a corrections officer.

Under the terms of the Zadroga Act, the VCF compensates victims for economic losses caused by the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. The VCF is funded at a level of $2.8 billion over five years. Since claims can be filed at any time in a five-year window that expires on  October 3, 2016, payments will be made in two installments: the first installment of $800 million is scheduled to be disbursed in the first five years, with the second installment coming from the remaining $2 billion that will be available in year six of the program, after the claims deadline will have passed and the total number, and dollar amount, of claims to be paid will be definitely known. Since the funding for the program is capped – and sourced to specific tax revenue – but the number of total applicants is unknown, the two-step process is necessary to ensure that all applicants are treated fairly.

The Zadroga Act also established the World Trade Center Health Program which provides medical care for injuries and illnesses traced to victims’ exposure to Ground Zero. It is currently funded at a level of $1.5 billion over five years, and covers a broader class of victims than the VCF.

Below is a link to further information on the Zadroga Act that was prepared by the Congressional Research Service:

·         Brief fact sheet on Zadroga Act programs

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