NEW YORK, Sept. 6, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- With new cases of September 11th-related illnesses diagnosed daily, the window is closing for members of the survivor community to request eligibility for the federally funded Victim Compensation Fund. Barasch & McGarry, a New York City law firm and themselves members of the survivor community, are working to educate the more than 425 thousand people who lived and worked in the exposure zone in the eight months that followed the attacks.
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund made $7.3 billion dollars available to individuals and the families of those who were physically injured, developed a physical illness, or passed away from their exposure to the 9/11 toxic dust. It also covers those involved in the debris removal efforts in the months after. Through the fund, more than $4 billion has been awarded to 22,000 people impacted by the toxic dust caused by the terrorist attacks. Over 10,000 people have been diagnosed with WTC-linked cancers and more than 2,000 of those people have died (including 184 NYC firefighters). However, hundreds of thousands don't realize that cancers and other illnesses diagnosed, even recently, qualify them for the program, which will close in December of 2020.
"Compensation through the VCF is available to residents and office workers, teachers and students – not just first responders and volunteers. Folks who helped in the cleanup and since moved or returned to other states are eligible for the same benefits," said Michael Barasch, Partner at Barasch and McGarry. "This is not a personal injury claim, where once you settle, it's over. With a VCF claim, you can make amendments to receive additional benefits if your condition worsens or if a family member passes away. The VCF provides unlimited opportunities to amend your claim, but people need to act immediately."
After 9/11, the EPA assured the community that "the air is safe," urging hundreds of thousands of residents and workers to return prematurely. As the toll of responder illness and death climbed, Congress passed the first James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act in 2010. When it became apparent that the health crisis had not abated, Congress reauthorized the Zadroga Act in 2015, ensuring victims could receive health screenings medical benefits for 70 years, and compensation through 2020. The Victim Compensation Fund will close on December 18, 2020.
For those that weren't caught in the toxic dust cloud that day, but returned to the area during the following eight months, they might overlook the connection between their illness and 9/11. Downtown residents, workers, teachers, and students should be aware of the most common illnesses linked to the WTC toxic dust.
Dr. Michael Crane, director of the World Trade Center Health Program Clinical Center of Excellence at Mount Sinai says he's now signing off on more than 20 cancer diagnoses related to 9/11 each week. Cancers with particularly long latency periods, such as mesothelioma, are just starting to emerge.
The most common certified WTC cancers are:
- Skin Cancers (basal cell, squamous cell & Melanoma)
- Prostate Cancer
- Breast Cancer
- Thyroid Cancer
- Lung Cancer
- Rare Cancers , i.e. Male Breast Cancer
- Esophageal Cancer
- Kidney Cancer
- Blood Cancers (Lymphoma, Leukemia and Multiple Myeloma)
The most common non-cancerous illnesses are:
- Asthma/reactive airway disease
- Barrett's esophagus
- Sleep apnea
If you suspect your illness might be related to WTC toxic dust, contact Barasch and McGarry at www.911victimfund.com or 212-385-8000.
Barasch & McGarry represents thousands of sick first responders and local residents/office workers who are survivors of the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks. The firm represented NYPD Det. James Zadroga who died in 2006b as a result of his 9/11 related pulmonary disease. His was the first to be officially linked to the 9/11 toxins.
The firm represents hundreds of other families whose spouses, parents or children have passed away due to their 9/11 related illnesses. More than a decade after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 shocked the world, many rescue and recovery personnel and lower Manhattan workers and residents are still living a nightmare. Every day, Barasch & McGarry observes how cancer, respiratory illnesses, and other disabling and deadly diseases linked to the WTC toxins continue to devastate families.
Barasch & McGarry takes the WTC health crisis personally. At the time of the attacks, the firm had 14 attorneys and staff members. Today, seven of them either have cancer or have succumbed to cancer.
Barasch & McGarry has enrolled thousands of people in the 9/11 community into the Health Program and recovered over $2 Billion for its clients.
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