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9/11 Zadroga Act Attorneys Assisting World Trade Center Health Program Applicants
Parker Waichman LLP, a New York plaintiffs’ law firm with a national practice, has helped numerous applicants obtain the benefits they deserve.
Many heroes emerged on September 11, 2001. Most, but certainly not all, of them, were first responders. Police, fire, emergency medical service, port authority, and members of the military raced into danger, the likes of which we had not endured as a nation before. We lost about 3,000 heroes that tragic day in New York City, at the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania at the hands of 19 cowardly terrorists. We mourned the victims’ loss together as a nation. We marveled at their selflessness and bravery. We bonded together as one and emerged stronger than ever before.
Thousands of people came forward to lend a hand where help was so desperately needed on 9/11 and in the days, weeks, and months that followed. Off-duty fire and police from New York and surrounding areas rushed to the pile of rubble where two magnificent buildings, two symbols of the American way of life, stood just hours before. Two beacons of freedom, liberty, and prosperity were reduced to their component parts of concrete, steel, glass, fiberglass, and wood. Little did anyone know that there were tons of asbestos and other toxins released into the air when the Towers fell. No one could imagine that all of the first responders who frantically worked to try to locate survivors or recover the deceased might fall victim to the terrorist attacks years later.
To combat the onslaught on illnesses from which people who worked at Ground Zero or who lived in the area covered by the dust cloud fell ill, the Congress of the United States passed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. The Zadroga Act, named after New York City Police Detective James Zadroga who died in 2006 after developing a respiratory disease doctors attributed to his work at Ground Zero. The Act allotted funds for the World Trade Center Health Program and the 9/11 Victims’ Compensation Fund. The programs permitted applicants to request health care coverage for diseases physicians connected to exposure to the toxins and carcinogens which were some of the particles contained in the dust the covered lower Manhattan, and Brooklyn spewed from the collapsed Twin Towers.
The original version of the Zadroga Act had an expiration date. The Act was set to expire in 2015. If Congress allowed the Act to expire, thousands of people would have been without healthcare or compensation. Fortunately, Congress resolved their differences and passed a $1.1 trillion Omnibus spending package that included over $8 billion in funding for the World Trade Center Healthcare Program and the 9/11 Victims’ Compensation Fund as established by the Zadroga Reauthorization Act. President Barack H. Obama signed the bill into law in December of 2015.
Parker Waichman LLP is a New York law firm with a national practice. Their 9/11 attorneys are accepting new clients who have a claim under the World Trade Center Health Program. Now that the Zadroga Reauthorization Act was signed into law, that will pave the way for anyone who needs assistance for healthcare services related to a disease or illness doctors, and researchers have connected to exposure to contaminants from Ground Zero and the Tower collapse. Parker Waichman LLP’s team promises to provide you and your family with the representation you need and will use all of their experience, knowledge, and skill to advocate for you and your family vigorously. Contact our World Trade Center Health Program attorneys today to learn how we can help you get the benefits you deserve for your 9/11-related illness.
The Need for Continued Funding for the World Trade Center Health Program
Researchers, physicians, and scientists linked 90 chronic or terminal illnesses to the toxins emitted from the World Trade Center collapse, recovery, and cleanup. Sixty of these diseases is cancer. The others are debilitating illnesses like asbestosis that affect victims’ respiratory systems and even their digestive systems.
The harsh reality of the terror attacks is that people continue to succumb to the fallout even though they were now almost 17 years ago. Numerous first responders who survived the collapse or worked at Ground Zero, people who worked in the Towers and escaped as well as those folks who worked or lived in the area have died from 9/11 designated diseases. Experts have expressed concerns that ultimately more people will die from disease and illness contributed to 9/11than did during the violent attacks and resultant structure failures. As a result of the need to assist victims, the Zadroga Reauthorization Act dedicated $3.5 billion for the care and observation of approximately 73,000 first responders, workers, and scene survivors. The funding will last until 2090.
Scientists continue to learn more about the side effects of exposure to the World Trade disaster will have on the people who lived through it. Researchers, scientists, physicians, and psychologists are examining every possible adverse health outcome for people who were exposed to the dust. Researchers concern themselves with how kidney problems, pregnancy complications, and are looking into expanding the number of diseases connected to 9/11.
The World Trade Center Health Program administrators enlist researchers to continue to investigate diseases. The program administrators recognize that the need for identifying additional conditions is necessary. Accordingly, the program’s researchers have an agenda that will examine:
- Biomarkers of exposure and health outcome,
- The relationship, if any, between those who responded to the disaster sites (including the Pentagon and Shanksville, PA) and exposure,
- How to improve diagnosis and treatments,
- The relationship between age, gender, and other identifiers and the pattern of risk, if any,
- Methods of identifying risk factors associated with contracting a World Trade Center disease, and
- How to determine emerging conditions.
A Description of the World Trade Center Health Program
The World Trade Center Health Program (WTC) is a comprehensive healthcare platform that provides care to those who need it because of the 9/11 terror attacks. The program accepts applicants who were affected by the tragedy in New York, at the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, PA.
It is essential to distinguish the WTC Health program from the 9/11 Victims’ Compensation Fund. You must be eligible for both programs if you wish to avail yourself of the benefits. In other words, enrollment in one program does not ensure enrollment in the other. The WTC Health program, as will be further explained, is based on making sure that everyone who needs healthcare for a WTC-related illness receives the treatment he or she needs. By contrast, the 9/11 Victims’ Compensation Fund awards 9/11 victims compensation for their illness or injuries they suffered as a consequence of the fallout from 9/11.
The WTC program recognizes four categories of applicants. They are Fire Department of New York responders, general responders, NYC survivors and Pentagon/Shanksville, PA responders. Of course, each group has their own unique experiences, trauma, and illness with which they must cope. Eligibility for the program is dependent upon whether you or your loved one can satisfy the program requirements of belonging to one category or another. Therefore, further explanation of each class is necessary.
- FDNY Responder is defined as a member of the New York City Fire Department or Emergency Services, whether active or now retired, who spent at least one day working on the rescue and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center or Ground Zero. Recovery work also includes working at the Staten Island landfill site and the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office. Additionally, loved ones of members of FDNY who were killed on 9/11 are eligible to receive mental health counseling and treatment provided that they received treatment for that condition before September 1, 2008.
- General Responder is a person who, whether paid or through volunteer services, assisted at Ground Zero in rescue and recovery efforts, demolition, debris removal, or any position that provided support for those tasks. A General Responder is not a member of the FDNY. This category includes federal employees who participated in the recovery and cleanup of lower Manhattan (south of Canal Street), Staten Island landfill and the piers at which debris was loaded on barges. Additionally, members of NYPD and Port Authority are considered general responders under the program. This group also includes members of the office of the Chief Medical Examiner and any employee who performed maintenance on vehicles that transported contaminated materials.
- NYC Survivor is an individual who found themselves in the World Trade Center or the in the vicinity of the aftermath because of their job, residence, school, day care for children, or daycare for adults. All persons who were in the area of the on 9/11 Twin Towers are covered. The program has time constraints for eligibility as to when the affected person lived or worked in the disaster area. The vicinity of the aftermath, also known as the “disaster area,” encompasses lower Manhattan and from Hudson Street south and then southeasterly, stretching almost into downtown Brooklyn. That is the area covered by the dust cloud after the towers fell on 9/11. NYC survivor encompasses all of those people employed to clean the streets and remove debris.
- Pentagon/Shanksville, PA category belongs to those heroes who participated in the rescue and recovery mission as a component of emergency services and response, volunteer, cleanup, or another person who responded to the crash site at the Pentagon building and the site of Flight 93 in the field at Shanksville.
The WTC Health Program distinguishes each category from the other because each group has particular needs. The program can better meet those needs when the program applicants are grouped by the function they performed or the circumstances in which they found themselves.
Although the program does not cover every illness that might be traced to 9/11, the program covers almost 100 diseases and illnesses connected to 9/11. Those adverse health conditions also include psychological diagnosis and mental illness such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression caused by the events of 9/11. A more thorough explanation of the diseases the program covers and the requirements for qualifying for the program will be discussed.
The program performs four significant functions for victims and loved ones of 9/11 victims. The program provides health services and monitoring for all who qualify. One of the program’s features is to deliver educational information about the program and to promote the program so that people who are eligible can avail themselves of the opportunity to participate. Additionally, the World Trade Center Health program is to study and research the health problems people have developed as a result of contact with the toxins scattered on 9/11 and in the days that followed.
The World Trade Center Health program revolves around the lives of the people it serves. Program participants are not limited to a few health care providers in a limited geographical area. On the contrary, the program participants who reside in either New York or New Jersey may attend of the Clinical Centers of Excellence located in the New York metropolitan area. A program participant may consult the WTC Health Program’s Nationwide Provider Network to find a qualifying physician in your area.
The program recently received renewed funding and, by law, will be in existence until 2090. As a result of the renewed funding, the plan’s participants receive health care free of charge for those illnesses, diseases, conditions, and psychological disorders that meet the program’s requirements. That means you have no obligation for co-pays, deductibles, or any out-of-pocket expenses like you would for coverage until the ordinary commercial health insurance line.
The World Trade Center Health program is not health insurance. The program will only pay for treatment of adverse health conditions and monitoring for 9/11 related health problems. You must be certified as eligible for the program before you can participate. The program will pay for your treatment and maintenance as long as:
- Use affiliated physicians, healthcare providers, and pharmacists who are associated with the program;
- Seek care for a health condition from which you suffer that was previously certified as being related to 9/11; and
- Make sure that the treatment you receive was authorized or approved by the program before the treatment was administered to you.
Medical Conditions Covered by the WTC Health Program
Doctors, scientists, and researchers have worked tirelessly to identify the disease from which people just like you have suffered because of some interaction with the chemicals and carcinogens deposited in the air after the Towers fell. There are similar concerns with the scenes at the Pentagon and Shanksville too. As a direct result of the efforts of numerous healthcare professionals, the World Trade Center Health program’s administrators were able to identify approximately 100 medical conditions caused by exposure to contaminants on 9/11 and in the months after that.
The Program recognizes five distinct groupings of 9/11-related health complications. Included in these classes are the conditions that progress from or are a complication of the underlying health condition. They are acute trauma, musculoskeletal, cancer, mental illness, and aerodigestive. The list is not exhaustive. In fact, the program reserves the right to expand this list as they have done previously and will continue to do while the program’s healthcare professionals learn more about the terrible effects exposure to the contaminants from 9/11 have on the human body.
Acute Traumatic Injury
Most acute traumatic injuries that qualifying applicants suffered on 9/11 are most likely healed by now. But, there could be complications from these injuries which could qualify under the program, especially burns, eye injuries, brain injuries, and other traumatic injuries.
The category of aerodigestive disorders combines illnesses relating to breathing or the digestive system. Problems relating breathing functions are asthma, laryngitis, chronic cough (World Trade Center Cough), rhinosinusitis, interstitial lung disease, “WTC-exacerbated chronic pulmonary obstructive disorder,” asbestosis, and other respiratory disorders. Digestive disorders include GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disorder and digestive problems caused by cancer, and obstructions of the intestinal tract caused by unknowingly swallowing contaminants that subsequently lodged in the digestive system.
The WTC Health Program recognizes approximately 60 individual forms of cancer. The cancers that doctors have connected to exposure to 9/11 affect every system of the body. The program covers every form of childhood cancer caused by 9/11. Additionally, the program approved health care coverage for various kinds of cancers in the blood and lymph tissue (such as leukemia and lymphoma), digestive, eye, female breast and reproductive system, head and neck, respiratory, skin, soft tissue, thyroid, and urinary systems. Furthermore, the program covers treatment for mesothelioma, which is cancer caused by significant exposure to asbestos, and other rare forms of cancer.
Mental Health Disorders
Many of the mental illnesses covered by the program are based on anxiety and depression, as might be anticipated. Also, post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is also included in this list of 9/11-related medical conditions. Other psychological conditions include acute stress disorder, adjustment disorder, major depressive disorder, major anxiety disorder, Dysthymia, panic attacks, and substance misuse or abuse disorder.
This category of approved conditions is the most restricted. The program rules and regulations will permit treatment for musculoskeletal problems only if you received medical care for the injury within two years of 9/11 and your work on the site caused the problem. The program restricts coverage under this category to people who responded to the World Trade Center, whether as a member of the FDNY or another general responder.
A Parker Waichman LLP 9/11 Compensation Lawyer Can Help You With Your Claim
The World Trade Center Health Program allows applicants to have an attorney who possesses the necessary experience in representing 9/11 victims represent them throughout the application process. Parker Waichman’s World Trade Center Health Program attorneys have the requisite experience, along with the skill, knowledge, determination, and resources to help you receive the benefits to which you might be entitled because of your 9/11-related illness. If you believe you should be covered but the Program denied your application, then you have a right to appeal that decision. We can help you with the WTC Health program appeals process as well.
Our singular focus is on you and your family. As fellow New Yorkers with a national practice, we have represented many people who have suffered adverse health conditions from the 9/11 terrorist attacks. We promise to represent you and your family zealously so that you can focus on getting well and fighting the health problems you must now endure unjustly.
Why Choose Parker Waichman LLP?
Our lawyers are dedicated to providing superior advocacy, and we are proud to have received honors from the legal community and beyond, including:
- 9.8 (out of a perfect 10) Rating by AVVO.
- “Preeminent Lawyers” AV Peer review rating by Martindale-Hubbell®.
- The highest ranking of “5 Dragons” by Lawdragon.
- A listing in Best Lawyers Publication.
Time Limitations on Applications for Zadroga Act Benefits
The fund continues to receive applicants on a rolling basis. However, you should not delay in applying for health care services. If your doctor diagnosed you with an illness listed as one that is caused by exposure to the toxins on 9/11 or during the subsequent rescue and cleanup, then you must consider applying for services. You would have a limited time to appeal the decision of the Program if you were denied benefits. The WTC Health Program lawyers with Parker Waichman LLP will make certain that all of your rights under the law will be protected.
Call Today for Assistance With Your WTC Health Program Application and Appeal
The application process can be overwhelming. We can help. Call Parker Waichman LLP today at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) or go online and fill out our client contact form so we can make an appointment to talk with you about your 9/11 health problems and take the first steps necessary toward obtaining the WTC Health Program benefits you need so that you can concentrate on fighting to regain your health.