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The World Trade Center Health Program Needs $3 Billion

December, 2022

New York Senator Chuck Schumer Pledges Help; FDNY Demands Immediate Action

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) marked the 21st anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks by promising to push Congress to fully fund the healthcare program dedicated to serving all who suffer from a 9/11-related illness. Without proper funding, the World Trade Center Heath Program (WTCHP) faces a $3 billion funding shortfall. Budgetary shortfalls will have devastating results for everyone who inhaled toxic fumes and dust on 9/11 and in the subsequent months.

Senator Schumer, a New York Democrat, is the Senate majority leader. At a solemn remembrance ceremony, he told all in attendance that he would seek to acquire sufficient funding for the WTCHP. Senator Schumer knows all too well the toll that 9/11 took on first responders, volunteers, and all who lived or worked in lower Manhattan from September 11, 2001, to May 30, 2002. Recognizing the urgency of the situation, Senator Schumer reiterated his willingness to fight on behalf of 9/11 survivors and said that Congress must act as soon as possible, further stating that he would push to get funding this year.

How many people were killed during 9/11?

Although 21 years have passed, that fateful day continues to exact a toll on the lives of first responders and survivors. To date, over 3,300 people have died from illnesses caused by exposure to the toxic 9/11 dust. Comparatively, the total number of people killed on September 11, 2001, was 2,966. 

The number of dead will continue to climb. Officials from FDNY spoke at a separate news conference two days before the 9/11 anniversary ceremonies and announced the dire need to fund the WTCHP fully. They also called out politicians who only talked about the issue on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks. Fire officials stated that politicians who talk about funding the WTCHP during anniversary ceremonies must be ready to vote in favor of this funding when the vote finally gets to the floor.

Why does the WTCHP need funding?

Without adequate funding, the WTCHP must begin refusing treatment to new applicants who suffer from 9/11-related illnesses and also cut services for those currently enrolled by 2025. Currently, everyone enrolled in the WTCHP has access to free healthcare and screening. To qualify, an applicant must have a 9/11-related illness and prove that he or she was within the area of the World Trade Center. The program is open to everyone and not exclusively to first responders.  

In addition to free, comprehensive healthcare coverage, enrollment in the WTCHP allows victims who were exposed to toxic fumes to apply for financial compensation from the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). A monetary award is available to 9/11 survivors, even if they have since passed away. The VCF is not limited to first responders. Anyone who proves that they were within the New York City Exposure Zone and had a 9/11-related illness could receive a settlement.

Do I qualify for VCF benefits?

If you think you may qualify for benefits, talk to the 9/11 victim compensation lawyers from Pitta & Baione right away if you have eligibility questions. Pitta & Baione’s dedicated 9/11 compensation lawyers are available 24/7 to help you. Our dedicated lawyers have won over $250 million for their clients. Contact us online or call 844-596-1441 today to get the help you deserve. 

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