The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 affected all of us, but survivors and the brave first responders, many of whom risked everything to provide emergency aid, have suffered incomparable health problems and financial loss in the years following this tragedy.
Recognizing that many of the victims of 9/11 continued to suffer in the aftermath of the attacks, I and a number of my colleagues in the New York congressional delegation authored the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. The Zadroga Act provides health care and economic compensation to first responders and survivors.
But time is running out to apply for economic benefits under the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. If you are a 9/11 survivor or first responder and discovered as of Oct. 3, 2011, that you have an injury or became sick as a result of the 9/11 attacks, you must register for economic compensation by Oct. 3, 2013. If you lost a loved one, compensation may also be available to the family members of first responders and survivors. You can find out more about the VCF and apply by visiting vcf.gov.
Research has shown that first responders and survivors who were exposed to dangerous toxins that entered the air at Ground Zero have significantly higher cancer risks, respiratory problems and other medical concerns.
While the World Trade Center Health Program portion of the Zadroga Act provides coverage for eligible first responders and survivors — and recently coverage was extended to additional types of cancer that have been linked to toxins from Ground Zero — there are likely many out there who are eligible for economic compensation as a result of lost productivity, pain and suffering. That is where VCF comes in.
I and my congressional colleagues worked hard to pass the Zadroga Act and will continue to fight for strong funding. I encourage anyone who became sick or injured as a result of the 9/11 attacks and suffered economic losses to apply for compensation.