What is the Zadroga Act and What Does it Cover?

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Known as the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, HR 847 is a law passed by Congress in 2010 to monitor and provide aid for survivors, first responders and volunteers who assisted in the aftermath of the coordinated terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001 in the United States. The law was named after James Zadroga, an officer of the New York Police Department whose death was linked to his exposure when responding to the World Trade Center site in Manhattan after the attacks. 

The Zadroga Act was an extension of the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), created just after the attacks on September 22, 2001. The original legislation addressed needs for family (or their representatives) killed in the attack as well as those injured during the attack or in the debris removal efforts that occurred after the attack.   

Who Qualifies for the Zadroga Act? 
Those who qualify for compensation under the Zadroga Act include those who lived or worked in Manhattan on or after the date of the attack, along with first responders and volunteers who participated in rescue, support or cleanup efforts. The program serves these groups affected by the 9/11 attacks: 

  • General responders from the World Trade Center
  • Responders from the Fire Department of the City of New York
  • Responders to the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon 
  • Responders to the crashed United Airlines flight 93 in Pennsylvania
  • Survivors of the 9/11 World Trade Center attack who lived, worked or went to school within the area that was declared a disaster area

Exact criteria for eligibility were defined by the act, which was passed by Congress in late 2010, but only came into effect on July 1, 2011. Established under the direction of the Department of Health and Human Services, the program is known as the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program.

The VCF had operated from 2001-2004, officially ending in June 2004 after having distributed $7 billion in compensation. For those seeking additional compensation after receiving an award from this original VCF, proof must be provided to show that this injury or condition worsened substantially, or that additional physical injuries or conditions couldn’t be compensated at the time. For those filing on behalf of a victim, proof must be shown that a person has legal authority to do so. 

Benefits Provided by Zadroga Act
Congress approved the final bill on December 22, 2010 and allocated $4.2 billion towards the program, which President Barack Obama signed into law on January 2, 2011. The Zadroga Act set aside funding to provide medical treatment for survivors and responders who experienced health problems after the attacks. Those deemed eligible could receive compensation for medical benefits, treatment and even lost earnings.

Its funds were meant to monitor and treat eligible emergency responders as well as cleanup and recovery workers, including federal employees. The Zadroga Act’s funding provided for initial health evaluations, monitoring of symptoms and treatment for those residing or working in buildings directly affected by the attacks.

More specifically, the money provided by the Zaroga Act funds:

  • Monitoring medical conditions through medical examinations for responders, including long-term analysis and monitoring for those likely exposed to airborne toxins released due to the attacks. 
  • Initial health evaluations of survivors, including determining eligibility for monitoring and treatment.      
  • Follow-up treatment and monitoring for survivors and responders of health conditions related to the attacks paid for through the program. 
  • All healthcare expenses – including prescription medications and for mental health – deemed medically necessary and related to the 9/11 attacks. 
  • Establishing outreach and education programs for potentially eligible people.
  • Collection and analysis of clinical data for those receiving treatment or being monitored under the program.
  • Establishing a research program to determine health conditions that resulted from these attacks. The Zadroga Act initiated the World Trade Center Health Program, which replaced other programs that were assisting with the health issues among those affected by the attacks. 

Deadlines for Filing & Registering
While the Zadroga Act was established to deal with the events of September 11, 2001 and the aftermath of the attack, it was initially only funded until October 1, 2015. Congress reauthorized it in December 2016, extending coverage until 2090, a full 75 additional years. This reauthorization effectively allowed affected parties to submit claims through the VCF until October 1, 2090.

This deadline is the same for everyone. However, there is a second deadline, a date by which people need to register with the VCF. Such registration allows potential claimants to file a future claim and waives no legal rights, though it also doesn’t obligate anyone to file claims. 

This registration deadline isn’t the same for everyone:

  • Those certified for a 9/11 physical health condition prior to July 29, 2019 by the WTC Health Program, claims must register by July 29, 2021, two years from when President Donald Trump signed the extension of the Zadroga Act on July 29, 2019. 
  • Those who hadn’t been certified by the WTC Health Program prior to July 29, 2019 are required to register within two years of the latest date by which the program certifies any physical health condition related to 9/11. 
  • If registering for an individual who died of a physical health condition prior to July 29, 2019 a claim must be registered with the VCF by July 29, 2021. 
  • If registering for an individual who may have died due to a physical condition related to the 9/11 attacks after July 29, 2019 the VCF registration must come within two years of date of death.

Exposure to Toxins
The Laufer Law Group has assisted and continues to assist those who have experienced health conditions due to toxic exposure from the 9/11 attacks, as laid out by the Zadroga Act and its extensions. For those who may have experienced exposure due to working, participating in rescue or cleanup operations, attending school or residing in the affected areas, you may be entitled to medical treatment and financial compensation.  

Exposure to toxins may result in such conditions as: 

  • Asthma and other respiratory issues
  • Birth defects
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Chronic rhinitis
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Depression
  • Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Heart issues
  • Lung, throat and various other cancers
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Sleep apnea
  • Various lung diseases

If you feel you’ve been negatively affected by the events of 9/11, you may be eligible for compensation. Please contact the Laufer Law Group, who can provide you with the experience, knowledge and care that your case requires.

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