Febraury 25, 2017
By Michael Barasch, Esq. and Richard Alles, FDNY Deputy Chief, Ret.
A new Department of Justice regulation allows people diagnosed with cancer to register a Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) claim within 2 years of the date that the WTC Health Program (or a governmental agency such as the Workers Compensation Board) certifies that the cancer was caused by exposure to the WTC toxins. Hundreds of people diagnosed with cancers over a decade ago are now eligible for significant compensation. And, if a loved one has passed away due to cancer, their families may assert a claim within 2 years of their death.
Union workers who participated in the largest rescue, recovery, and cleanup in our nation’s history deserve much credit for the revitilization of lower Manhattan after the September 11th attacks. Sadly, though, many people were rewarded for that heroic work with serious and costly health problems. Claims by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that workers, volunteers, and residents were in no danger of breathing in toxins from Ground Zero have now been proven false.
As a response to the crisis, Congress passed and fully funded the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act to alleviate health costs and provide fee medical treatment for those sickened. As a crucial part of the Zadroga Act, Congress created the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), which set aside $7.3 billion for those who are now or might become sick.
Doctors have linked 68 cancers to the WTC toxic dust. Skin cancers and prostate cancer are the two most common. There is a presumption that all these cancers were caused by exposure at the WTC site. Over 37,000 people who worked and/or lived south of Canal Street from 9/11/01 – 5/31/02 have already been diagnosed with illnesses linked to the WTC toxins. Thousands more are expected to be afflicted with cancers, and gastro-pulmonary diseases.
Active and retired construction workers are still eligible to receive compensation
Active and retired trade union workers, educators, and public employees who participated in the recovery/debris removal, or worked in the area south of Canal Street, are eligible for health care and significant compensation. This even includes people who were caught in the dust cloud, all workers and volunteers who spent more than 4 hours at the WTC site between 9/11/01 and 9/14/01, or 24 hours between 9/11/01 and 9/30/01, or 80 hours between 9/11/01 and 5/31/02. Compensation is also available to downtown residents and officer workers. For those with cancer, compensation levels range from $125,000 - $250,000 for non-economic loss. Additional compensation for lost income is available to those found disabled from their WTC illnesses. And, qualified people are eligible for medical monitoring/treatment.
Spread the Word to Everyone Who Worked South of Canal Street
Please help spread the word about this new deadline to your union brothers and sisters, especially to retirees. If you know any fellow trade union worker, teacher, or public employee who has been diagnosed with cancer in the past 15 years, they should register with the WTC Health Program (or LHI if they retired and now live out of NY State) in order to have their cancer certified. Again, the date that a cancer is certified starts the 2-year period to register a VCF claim.
Our firm proudly represented NYPD Detective Jimmy Zadroga, and we currently represent thousands of union workers with WTC-linked illnesses. We have been lobbying for this deadline extension since doctors first linked cancers to the WTC toxins. If you like additional information, please call our office at 212-385-8000, or visit our website, www.wtclawyers.com