First Payments from James Zadroga Compensation Bill made this week to 15 First RespondersJan 30, 2013
The first payments to first responders at the Ground Zero site in Manhattan have been made as part of the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, also known as the James Zadroga bill.
According to a New York Times report this week, a total of 15 first responders were cut checks this week ranging from $10,000 to $1.5 million as compensation for the injuries they’ve suffered as a result of their response to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. The compensation only represents a portion of the award they were due and each was informed via letter that they’ll receive more money in the future as the fund allows.
Thousands of people may be eligible for compensation through the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act and the report indicates that by the end, more than $8.5 billion could be paid to first responders and others who either live or work in the Lower Manhattan area and were affected by the toxic cloud of dust and fumes that permeated the air surrounding Ground Zero form months after the tragedy that claimed a few thousand lives.
First responders fought for the better part of a decade to get access to federal compensation to pay the medical expenses they incurred as a result of their response to the terrorist attacks. Many police, firefighters, and paramedics rushed to the scene and stayed for days, weeks, and sometimes months to help clear the debris of the destroyed skyscrapers. Many believe the toxic cloud that hung over the site impaired their health and caused them to suffer breathing trouble, irritated eyes and other health problems.
The Zadroga bill was created by an act of Congress and provided federal funding for many of those first responders, allowing them access to healthcare funding to help pay for those injuries. In recent months, victims of the toxic fumes at the Ground Zero site continued that fight, saying that the federal government should recognize some forms of cancer as disease eligible for compensation through the Zadroga bill. The government finally allowed some forms of cancer to be compensated through the legislation but none of the initial payments to individuals were to cover costs related to cancer treatments.
The estimated $8.5 billion far exceeds the $2.8 billion cleared by the government through the Zadroga bill and Congress will eventually have to approve more money in the future if those payments are to be made in full. The payments sent this week represented only about 10 percent of what those 15 first responders were due, according to the report.
The $10,000 awarded to some of those victims this week represents the minimum amount and one administrator of the fund told the source that the actual payments made this week should encourage other first-responder victims of the 9/11 attacks to come forward with their claims. The deadline to apply for these funds through the Zadroga bill is October 2016.
The highest awards will be paid to people who suffered the most serious injuries in the response to the terrorist attacks, especially younger firefighters who became completely disabled as a result of their work at the site.