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Congress Finally Approves Relief for Ground Zero

After many years of debating and lobbying, Congress finally approved the $4.3 billion Health Care Bill for 9/11 workers who became sick from toxic fumes, dust and smoke after the 2001 World Trade Center attack. Unfortunately, an extensive number of people exposed to the 9/11 toxins and dust have already died or developed serious and health conditions. The Zadroga Act offers resources and funding to help these people. The bill was unexpectedly approved only 12 days after Republican senators blocked a more expensive version of the bill from coming to the Senate floor for a vote.

After the Senate vote on the bill, a celebration broke out in a room in the capital that was packed with emergency workers, 9/11 families, and Senators Charles Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand. Senator Gillibrand said, “Our Christmas miracle has arrived.” She thanked everyone involved in the recovery, including the volunteers, family members, and emergency workers.

It took tremendous effort from many parties for the bill to be approved. The 9/11 workers traveled week after week to tell Senators and Congress members about their experiences during the rescue and recovery effort, as well as the serious medical issues and complications that arose from working at the World Trade Center after the attack. Progressive lobbying by top New York lawmakers and officials, police and firefighter groups, and 9/11 families pushed this bill to passage. It is the nation’s moral obligation to provide medical assistance to rescue workers who spent weeks and months at Ground Zero.

The 9/11 Health Care Bill provides $1.8 billion for the next five years to monitor and treat injuries arising from exposure to toxic dust and debris at the World Trade Center. According to The New York Times, nearly 60,000 people are enrolled in health-monitoring and treatment programs. The Bill will also set aside $2.5 billion to reopen the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund for five years to file claims to provide payment for job and economic losses.

By reopening the Victim Compensation Fund, a worker who experienced an injury, financial losses or death of a loved one may be entitled to seek compensation. This bill permits you to seek compensation even if you already received money from health insurance, awards in a civil lawsuit or Workers’ Compensation.

If you would like more information about the Zadroga Act and Victim Compensation Fund or would like to determine if you are eligible for these benefits or compensation, please contact The Perecman Firm.


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