The Zadroga Act timeline is long and complicated
On September 11, 2001, terrorists crash airplanes in to the World Trade Center. Tens of thousands of first responders begin a search for survivors at Ground Zero, exposing themselves to toxic debris without respirators.
On September 18, 2001, EPA head Christine Todd Whitman informs local residents that the air is safe to breathe and the water is safe to drink. Mayor Rudy Giuliani claims that it is safe for New Yorkers to return to their normal routines.
On September 22, 2001, President Bush signs the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund of 2001 into law as part of the Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act. The Act authorizes compensation to any individual (or deceased’s representative) who was injured or killed as a result of the terrorist attack. The Act creates a Special Master.
On November 26, 2001, the Attorney General appoints Kenneth R. Feinberg as Special Master.
On December 21, 2001, the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) is opened for claims.
On March 13, 2002, the Department of Justice issues its final rule and associated commentary, clarifying the rules and the role of the Special Master.
On January 5, 2006, James Zadroga dies of a respiratory illness. He is the first New York Police Department (NYPD) officer whose death could be attributed to exposure to toxic chemicals at Ground Zero, where he spent over 450 hours assisting.
EPA Chemist Cate Jenkins says the EPA knew the air was toxic.
In August 2006, New York Governor George Pataki signs a law requiring New York City to pay increased death benefits to relatives of rescue and cleanup workers.
In September 2006, New York representatives Jerrold Nadler and Anthony Weiner filed a request with the attorney general to investigate Whitman. The appeals court ultimately finds that she cannot be held liable for her words.
On September 7, 2006, Representative Carolyn Maloney introduces the James Zadroga Act of 2006 to Congress. The bill is referred to a committee.
Senator Robert Menendez introduces the James Zadroga Act of 2007 to Congress. It is referred to a committee. The Zadroga Act timeline begins.
On February 4, 2009, Representative Maloney introduces the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 to Congress. The Bill is passed in the House on September 29, 2009.
On December 9, 2009, Senate Republicans vote against the Bill, citing funding and mismanagement of existing 9/11 programs.
On July 29, 2010, the House fails to get the two-thirds vote necessary for a Suspension of Rules passage.
On August 4, 2010, Jon Stewart opens his show with a segment on the Bill, highlighting speeches from its opponents.
Jon Stewart opens his December 13, 2010 episode with another segment, highlighting the Senators who voted against it. He devotes his entire December 16, 2010 episode to the issue, featuring first responders.
On December 22, 2010, the Senate vote to pass the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010. Title I amends the Public Health Service Act, establishing the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) for eligible firefighters and related personnel, law enforcement officers, and rescue, recovery, and cleanup workers, as well as eligible who worked, resided, or attended school, childcare, or adult daycare in the New York City Disaster Area. The House agrees to changes made in the Senate, passing Bill 206-60.
On January 2, 2011, President Obama signs the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 into law. The Act creates two programs: the WTC Health Program (WTCHP) provides medical care for to first responders and survivors; the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) provides compensation for physical injury, medical care reimbursement and wrongful death claims to victims and victims’ families.
On July 1, 2011, the Act formally takes effect. The Zadroga Act timeline continues, with deadlines.
On April 14th 2015, Bills to renew the programs are announced in Congress. The New York City Council, led by Margaret Chin, calls on Congress to take action.
On December 18, 2015, Congress approves the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act, extending existing benefits for first responders to 2090. President Obama signs the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, which includes the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act. The new Bill extends the Victim Compensation Fund for another five years, to 2020. It also caps some damages and prioritizes claims.
In August 2018, VCF projections analysis suggested the possibility that available funding of $7.375 billion might run out prior to the program’s designated end on December 18, 2020.
In October 2018, the VCF filed a Notice of Inquiry, concluding that the Fund could not pay all current and projected claims at the current levels within the budget. As a result, the Fund would be required to cut pending claims of injured responders and survivors by 50% and future claims by 70%.
On February 15, 2019, The Special Master released the Seventh Annual Status Report and the Third Annual Reassessment of Policies and Procedures. In a Message from the Special Master, Rupa Bhattacharyya notes the dramatic increase in claims filed.
Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Gardner and Charles E. Schumer, and U.S. Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney, Jerrold Nadler and Peter T. King introduced the Never Forget the Heroes: Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act, HR.1327/S.546.
On July 19, 2019, President Trump signs the Zadroga Reauthorization Act, extending the claim filing deadline to 2090. The Zadroga Act timeline extends into the future.
On September 27, 2019, President Trump signs the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2020 and Health Extenders Act of 2019, raising the number of responders and survivors eligible for enrollment in the WTC Health Program.
On July 28, 2021, Representatives Maloney, Nadler and Garbarino propose the 9/11 Responder and Survivor Health Funding Correction Act, to address the program’s funding shortfall.
On September 27, 2021, Representatives Maloney, Nadler and Pallone add their Bill which would fund the WTC Health Program to President Biden’s Build Back Better Bill. The Bill passes the House but not the Senate.
Contact Parker Waichman LLP Today to Begin the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Claims Process
At Parker Waichman LLP, our September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Attorneys are experienced in various types of September 11th Victim claims. To schedule your free and completely confidential consultation with our skilled attorneys, call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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