Funding for 9/11 Victims Added in the Build Back Better Bill

December 22, 2021
HomeBlogFunding for 9/11 Victims Added in the Build Back Better Bill

The House of Representatives recently passed the Build Back Better bill, which is intended to get the United States back on track on many levels, including, among others, infrastructure, medical care, and social services. As identified in a statement from Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act, the Build Back Better bill includes funding for the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP), which will extend much-need benefits to 9/11 survivors and first responders.

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, passed by President Obama in January of 2011 (and reauthorized in 2015), created the WTCHP as well as the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). The WTCHP and VCF provide a way for victims and first responders of the 9/11 attacks to seek free medical treatment and compensation for suffering from cancer and other illnesses stemming from exposure to 9/11 toxins. 

However, funding does not last forever, and Congress must take action whenever funding is insufficient or close to running out. Because 9/11 survivors and first responders are diagnosed with cancer and other debilitating conditions year after year, funding will be needed for decades to come as the younger generation of victims begins to age.

The 9/11 Attorneys of Pitta & Baione LLP Continue to Fight for Victims

The 9/11 attorneys of Pitta & Baione LLP, are well known for their dedication to 9/11 survivors and first responders. Our firm has been alongside victims, doctors, lawmakers, and other interested parties in the fight to help every 9/11 survivor and first responder receive necessary benefits. If you believe you are entitled to 9/11 benefits, reach out to Pitta & Baione LLP today for a free consultation.

The Lawmakers Behind the Addition of WTCHP Funding in the Build Back Better Bill

The Build Back Better bill, which has been in the works for months, finally reached a milestone, and has been passed by the House of Representatives, and is now in the hands of the Senate. Certain lawmakers came together to ensure the Build Back Better bill includes additional funding for the WTCHP. Funding identified in the bill for the WTCHP would extend benefits for an additional ten years.

Along with the inclusion of funding for medical benefits, the Build Back Better bill authorizes the WTCHP to establish a cohort to study the effects of exposure to 9/11 toxins at Ground Zero on survivors and first responders. Survivors who were young at the time of exposure are of particular interest. 

Research is lacking in this area, and additional funding will provide a means of determining what the health consequences are for the younger population of 9/11 survivors and first responders. The specific lawmakers who pushed for the inclusion of 9/11 funding in the Build Back Better bill include the following:

  • Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney;
  • Congressman Jerry Nadler;
  • Congressman Frank Pallone;
  • Senator Chuck Schumer; and
  • Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

While funding is usually never enough, ensuring 9/11 victims have access to funding for medical treatment through the Build Back Better bill is a step closer to reaching a broader population of 9/11 victims. As younger victims get older, they may develop health conditions, including cancer, that may be linked to 9/11 toxins emitted from Ground Zero. 

Having the ability to study a group of young survivors over a period of years or decades can help to have a better understanding of whether future benefits will be needed for these survivors. Studies provide data, and data is necessary to expand access to health care for 9/11 survivors and first responders who may not currently qualify to receive 9/11 benefits. Victims can learn more by speaking with a 9/11 attorney.

What Conditions Qualify to Receive Benefits?

The Build Back Better bill’s inclusion of funding for future 9/11 claims will help individuals who may be diagnosed with cancer or another illness in the coming years. More good news concerning the WTCHP is that the Administrator of the WTCHP has recommended that uterine cancer (and endometrial cancer) be included on the list of WTCHP-related health conditions. 

The recommendation is in the early stages, and the process must go through formal rulemaking. As such, qualifying claimants may have to wait a few months before they can apply for benefits. Now that uterine cancer is slated to be on the list of WTC-related health conditions, all cancer types will be included. 

Conditions Covered Under WTCHP

The WTCHP provides the public with a list of all medical conditions that currently qualify under the WTCHP. The categories of injuries and conditions identified by the WTCHP include the following:

  • Acute and Traumatic Injuries;
  • Airway and Digestive Disorders;
  • Cancers;
  • Mental Health Conditions; and 
  • Musculoskeletal Disorders.

A large number of 9/11 claims filed two decades after the 9/11 attacks pertain to cancer. Exposure to toxins does not lead to an immediate cancer diagnosis. Rather, there is a latency period between the time of last exposure and the development of cancer. Some victims developed cancer a few years after the attacks, while many others are just now being diagnosed today, with future claims anticipated.

Can I File a 9/11 Benefits Claim on My Own?

Individuals who qualify to receive 9/11 benefits and compensation can file claims on their own. However, doing so without the guidance of a 9/11 attorney can be tricky. First, you may not know whether your condition qualifies, and in some cases, even if your condition is not on the list of WTC-related illnesses, the condition still may be considered on a case-by-case basis. 

Attorneys who have been assisting clients since the creation of the WTCHP and VCF have the skill, experience, and devotion to 9/11 victims, survivors, and first responders not shared by many other attorneys and law firms. With the help of a 9/11 attorney, you may have an opportunity to receive a greater amount of compensation than you would on your own. An attorney understands what information is necessary to support a claim for medical benefits and compensation. You have nothing to lose by seeking the advice of a 9/11 lawyer.

Contact the 9/11 Lawyers of Pitta & Baione LLP Today

As a 9/11 first responder or survivor with cancer or another medical condition you developed because of exposure to 9/11 toxins, you may have an opportunity to seek free medical benefits and compensation through the WTCHP and VCF. However, to determine whether you are eligible, you may need to speak with an experienced 9/11 attorney.

At Pitta & Baione LLP, we are standing by to provide you with a free consultation and to answer any questions you may have about 9/11 benefits. Contact our office today by calling (844) 901-1237.