In the wake of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, hundreds of emergency medical technicians, first responders and volunteers converged on the site, assisting victims and helping with the cleanup. Over the course of the next few years, many of those first responders and volunteers developed illnesses tied to toxins and dust on the site. As early as 2006, Congress considered legislation to provide benefits to anyone who had contracted an illness tied to their work at Ground Zero. In 2010, Congress enacted the Zadroga Act, named for James Zadroga, a New York City police officer who died because of exposure to toxic materials at the World Trade Center site. The statute was reauthorized in 2015, extending coverage through 2090.

The Zadroga Act provides health monitoring, health treatment and financial aid to responders, volunteers and survivors who have or may experience health issues arising out of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It allows anyone who worked on the site, whether in a paid position or as a volunteer, to reopen a prior claim, and to extend benefits for a claim tied to the attacks. The law also allows a person to obtain monetary compensation for loss of income or reduction of income due to health complications tied to the September 11 attacks.

It’s important to understand that you may be eligible for benefits under the Zadroga Act even if you weren’t in “the pit” at Ground Zero. The law provides benefits to anyone in the vicinity of the World Trade Centers who was exposed to dust, debris or toxic substances, including people working on offices nearby.

The Zadroga Act—Protecting First Responders and Volunteers at the 9/11 Site

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