Zadroga Act Update
Everyone remembers where they were, what they were doing, and who they were with when they first became aware of the horrific events of September 11, 2001. It was a day that changed America forever.
We led the charge for over 9,000 sick 9/11 rescue and recovery workers.
There were reports of massive numbers of people killed in the attacks, but as we are now aware, injury and loss of life were not limited to the immediate victims of the airplane crashes. First Responders – police officers, firefighters, construction and utility workers, medical personnel and so many other individuals – suffered permanent injury and health effects or loss of life as a result of their exposure to the toxins surrounding Ground Zero. The White Plains accident attorneys at Worby Vecchio Edelman LLP and its predecessor firm were proud and honored to have represented over 9,000 First Responder individuals in the lawsuit against New York City and numerous other entities.
We are now at the 18 year anniversary of September 11, and we take this opportunity to supplement our column, 9/11 Victim Compensation Act posted on March 1, 2019 to bring you up to date on the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010.
The VCF Payment Authorization Act
Most importantly, in late July, the President signed into law The VCF Payment Authorization Act. The full name of the law – Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act – is certainly worth mentioning. This Act extends the filing deadline previously reported (which was December 18, 2020) to October 1, 2090. That means that claims can be filed with the Victim’s Compensation Fund until that October 1, 2090 date. The Act also replenished the Fund – we had reported in March that the Fund was about to start reducing its awards by 70% .
With this new funding having been secured, Rupa Bhattacharyya, the Special Master of the Victim’s Compensation Fund, has announced that the nearly 1,700 claims who had previously received reduced awards would be notified of their unreduced award, and that that notification would be before September 11, 2019. According to statements on the VCF website, nearly 76% those claimants have now been notified, and payments have been processed to 85% of those notified.
The bottom line is that the Fund has been reauthorized, is very much in business, and that it will be available for years to come. The legislation passed through the Senate with a 97-2 vote, an indication of the wide bipartisan support for the victims.
So let us repeat how the process works. In order to be eligible for benefits, one must prove that they were present in Manhattan in the area south of Canal Street between September 11, 2001, and May 30, 2002. The Act still requires registration with the Fund within two years of the date on which the claimant knew or reasonably should have known that the victim suffered physical harm, or in the case of death caused by exposure or other related injury, within two years of the date of death. The process requires that you register with the World Trade Center Health Program, and get a certification from the Program that you have a 9/11 related illness. This health monitoring is without charge to you.
Our 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Lawyers Can Help
The White Plains VCF attorneys at Worby Vecchio Edelman are proud to remain active in representing victims of September 11. Take a look through the VCF website, and call us if you think you might have a claim. We can explain the process to you, and we’ll let you know if we think you do or do not have a valid claim under the VCF. We can assure you that your claim will be processed quickly, and that it will be fully submitted once we obtain certification from the World Trade Center Health Program. There’s no obligation, and no up-front fee. Payment of any fee to us is at the rate of 10% as authorized by the Zadroga Act, and is fully contingent on you receiving an award.