Decision to suspend payments from the Zadroga Act 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund means Zadroga Act claimants who have already submitted applications for compensation will have to wait longer award.
Parker Waichman LLP, a national law firm representing many ill 9/11 first responders, is reporting today that Sheila Birnbaum, the Special Master of the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund, has temporarily suspended the payment of Zadroga Act compensation awards from the Fund. According to a report from the Web site, downtownexpress.com, distribution of compensation awards from the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund has been put on hold while the National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOSH) finalizes a rule to add more than 50 types of cancer to the list of covered illnesses. As such, 9/11 first responders and others who submitted applications for respiratory and digestive conditions already covered by the Fund will have to wait longer for any award. It was expected that the Fund would begin paying out claims this summer.
The Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.
The Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which became law in December 2010, was named after deceased New York Police Department detective James Zadroga, who had worked at Ground Zero. Many of the individuals who participated in the rescue and recovery efforts following the 9/11 terrorist attacks have since been diagnosed with various illnesses because of their exposure to toxic dust. The Zadroga Act reopened the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund for five years to provide payment for job and economic losses for first responders, those trapped in the buildings, and local residents, who suffered illness or injuries related to the toxic dust.
According to Parker Waichman LLP, NIOSH had initially not included any cancers on the list of Zadroga Act illnesses. In March, however, the World Trade Center Health Program Scientific/Technical Advisory Committee recommended that dozens of cancers be added to the list of covered illnesses covered under the Zadroga Act. In June, NIOSH director, Dr. John Howard, accepted those recommendations and is now reviewing public comments on the proposed rule. The cancer rule may take effect 30 days after it is finalized.
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