What Happens When the 9/11 Cancer Fund Expires?
9/11 Cancer Fund Lawyers and Advocates Concerned About Extension of Zadroga Act
Many advocates and 9/11 Cancer Fund lawyers for 9/11 responders and survivors are concerned about the expiration of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act in 2015. The Zadroga Act established the World Trade Center Health Program and also the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, sometimes called the 911 Cancer Fund. The health program diagnoses and treats hundreds of individuals who were exposed to the toxic dust and smoke in the aftermath of who now have 9/11 related cancers and conditions – such as bladder cancer and thyroid cancer. The 9/11 Cancer Fund compensates individuals who have been suffered from these conditions and have experienced pain and suffering and economic loss.
Recently, lawmakers introduced the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act, which would continue the World Trade Center Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, through 2041. This would ensure that thousands of individuals who were exposed to a multitude of toxins on 9/11 and the weeks and months that followed can be treated in the future for their illnesses and can make a claim for money awards.
What happens if the Zadroga Act (911 Cancer Fund) is not extended?
- In October 2015, hundreds of individuals will lose medical care and treatment.
Currently, the World Trade Center Health Program provides medical care for hundreds of responders and survivors with 9/11 related conditions and cancers. If the Zadroga Act is not reauthorized, thousands of individuals battling serious health conditions will lose this care and newly diagnosed individuals will never receive the care or treatment they so desperately need.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that almost 3,000 responders and survivors suffer from 9/11-related cancers—including prostate cancer, thyroid cancer, and bladder cancer, among others. Many of those registered with the 9/11 Cancer Fund are also being treated by the World Trade Center Health Program this program and need their treatment to continue as the risk of recurrence continues even after treatments are finished.
- In October 2016, the 9/11 Cancer Fund will close, and individuals diagnosed with cancers and other conditions after that time will not be eligible for money awards.
Simply put, if you or a loved one were exposed to toxic dust and debris and are diagnosed with a 9/11 related condition or cancer–such as thyroid or breast cancer– after October 2016, you cannot register to receive financial compensation for your losses if the Act is not reauthorized.
A big concern for 9/11 Cancer Fund lawyers and advocates are that those individuals who are diagnosed with a 9/11 related cancer that has a lengthy “latency period” – the cancer takes years to develop and exhibit symptoms—will not be diagnosed until after October 2016 and will be ineligible. For instance, mesothelioma, the aggressive asbestos-related cancer, has an eleven year latency period, meaning that individuals are just now being diagnosed with it or won’t be diagnosed for some time.
The number of individuals who were exposed to the smoking debris and the dust from the 9/11 explosion who are now being diagnosed with cancer continues to grow. But if the Zadroga Act is not extended those individuals will not be eligible for compensation or treatment.
What if I have already registered with the 9/11 Cancer Fund, does this affect me?
Those who have registered, been found eligible, and have been partially compensated may not receive their entire award if the Act is not reauthorized and the 9/11 Cancer Fund extended. If you’re unsure if you’re registered or eligible, you should contact a 911 Cancer Fund lawyer immediately to determine what your registration deadline is and get advice on how to move forward with your claim.
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