The heinous incident of 9/11 took many lives. But, at the same time, it showed us the kindness and bravery of the people who rescued the victims. Many of these first responders later suffered from various respiratory or other diseases. The Zadroga Act was created for helping them. In this article, I will discuss about this act.
The Zadroga Act
President Obama signed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 on January 2, 2011. It is named for an NYPD Detective, James Zadroga. He died in 2006 from respiratory failure linked to Ground Zero exposure. The Zadroga Act established and provided funding for two separate but related federal benefit programs. They are: The World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF).
The act was due to expire in October of 2016. But, due to the relentless effort of union coalitions, activists, and others it was extended. The extension is titled the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act. It was signed into law by President Obama on December 18, 2015.
Eligibility for 9/11 Benefits
Anyone who was present in the following places between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002 and contracted a covered illness for free healthcare and/or financial compensation.
- Downtown Manhattan below Canal Street.
- The Fresh Kills landfill.
- Barges/trucks that moved debris.
- The NYC Morgue.
- Garages where emergency vehicles were cleaned.
- Responded to the Pentagon or Shanksville.
- PA crash sites.Eligibility depends on whether all eligibility criteria is fulfilled and all applicable deadlines are met.
The Two Programs created by Zadroga Act
The Zadroga Act created two programs with different budgets and eligibility criteria.
The World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP)
- It provides free medical monitoring, treatment, and medication.
- It covers both psychological and physical illnesses.
- It requires less restrictive eligibility.
- The program has larger exposure zone.
- It is fully funded until 2090.
Victim Compensation Fund (VCF)
- It provides compensation for specific types of loss.
- It covers physical illness only. PTSD is not included here.
- The program has more restrictive eligibility criteria.
- The filing deadline is December 18, 2020.
- The total available funding is over $7 billion. It will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Health Condition Covered by WTC Health Program
Here is a general list of health condition covered by WTC Health Program.
Acute Traumatic Injury:
- Complex sprain.
- Eye injury.
- Head trauma and others.
- Chronic cough syndrome.
- Chronic laryngitis.
- Chronic respiratory disorder.
- Chronic nasopharyngitis.
- Interstitial lung diseases etc.
Different types of cancers are mentioned in the program.
Mental Health Condition:
- Acute stress disorder.
- Adjustment disorder.
- Anxiety disorder.
- Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Substance abuse.Therefore, Zadroga Act is an excellent way to get proper treatment for those first responders.