Ground Zero Rescue, Recovery Workers to Begin Filing Zadroga Act ClaimsNov 3, 2011 | Parker Waichman LLP
Ground Zero rescue workers and others eligible for compensation under the Zadroga Act can now register with the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. The fund will remain open for five years to provide payment for job and economic losses suffered by World Trade Center first responders, those trapped in the buildings, and local residents who suffered illness or injures related to the toxic dust.
The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund reopened for registration on October 3, and could begin accepting claims for compensation as early as the end of November. The Eligibility portion of the claim forms became available online at the end of October 2011 (paper form is also available for those without internet access). Sometime around the end of November 2011, the Compensation portion of the form will be available.
Claimants who currently suffer from a covered condition have until Oct. 3, 2013 to file a claim, and others will have two years from the date on which they know or should have known of the condition for which they seek compensation until the Fund stops accepting claims in 2016.
The Zadroga Act, which among other things provides funding for health care for sickened Ground Zero responders, was passed by the U.S. Congress last December. While disorders such asthma, interstitial lung disease and mental illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder are eligible for compensation, cancer is still not a covered ailment. Over the summer, the federal government decided exclude cancer victims for now, after a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) review of scientific evidence purportedly found “very little” evidence of a link between cancer and the toxic dust cloud that enveloped and then blanketed much of lower Manhattan in the wake of the attacks. The decision will stand until at least 2012, when NIOSH will conduct its next review.