Parker Waichman LLP, a national law firm that has spent years fighting to ensure that the heroes of the 9/11 terrorist attacks are never forgotten, comments that, following approval of the $8.1 billion measure to renew the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, the Victims Compensation Fund (VCF) Special Master issued a report on December 30, 2015 on how the VCF will expedite payments. On December 18, 2015, President Obama signed the bill into law, which reauthorized the Act, which includes the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program and the VCF. The WTC Health Program provides medical treatment and monitoring and is extended for another 75 years to 2090 with $3.5 billion in funding to monitor and care for 73,000 responders and survivors. The VCF was set to expire October 1, 2016 and is extended for another five years to 2021 with $4.6 billion in funding.
The VCF Special Master indicates that the new law “directs the VCF to issue ‘full compensation’ to claimants with ‘Group A Claims’ … as soon as practicable.” Group A Claims are those for which a loss determination was made on or before December 17, 2015. The Special Master noted that the VCF’s top priority is to make full payments on 10,000 Group A claims. This phase is expected to take three-to-six months. The Special Master also noted that funding to pay Group B claims will occur once Group A claimants “have received the full compensation due” or October 2016, whichever occurs first.
“We are happy to see the VCF working to expedite payments to those who already received their award letter and applaud the VCF for looking for ways to make the process even more efficient to benefit the remaining claimants,” said Mathew McCauley, Senior Litigation counsel at Parker Waichman.
Parker Waichman actively worked toward the 2010 passage of the Act, including taking part in lobbying efforts and trips to the nation’s capital, often with the firm’s clients—other responders and survivors. The firm’s support and commitment for permanent extension of the Act never stopped. Mr. McCauley, who is also a former New York Police Department (NYPD) first responder continually attended nearly weekly lobbying events and delegations—many in the nation’s capital—to ensure the Act was extended and “that every hero and survivor receives the benefits and compensation they deserve, today and in the future.” In fact, Mr. McCauley was part of a powerful group of advocates, including many lawmakers; John Feal of the FealGood Foundation, a 9/11 advocacy group; Ray Pfeifer, former Fire Department of New York (FDNY) firefighter; Benjamin Chevat, Executive Director of Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act, Inc.; Richard Alles of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, Deputy Chief of the FDNY and Board Member of Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act; and Jon Stewart, Zadroga Act advocate and former host of “The Daily Show.”
Parker Waichman notes that responders and survivors were exposed to many hazardous substances—asbestos, pulverized cement, and other toxins and chemicals—which have been tied to serious, life-altering conditions, including asthma, obstructive pulmonary disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and over 50 types of cancer. At least 4,166 cancer diagnoses have been linked to exposure to the toxic cloud that hovered over Manhattan’s attack site and that number is expected to increase. “These individuals selflessly answered the call for help during and following the attacks and survivors may not know they have a developed condition as a result of the attacks,” says Mr. McCauley. “These individuals now know that these benefits will remain open for them and their families.”
Parker Waichman vows to continue its efforts to safeguard these heroes and ensure that they receive their deserved Zadroga Act compensation. Please visit Parker Waichman’s website or call 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636) for additional information and assistance.
Release ID: 100814