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July 31, 2019

Bill providing permanent funding for 9/11 first responders and survivors becomes law

A years-long battle to secure permanent funding for 9/11 first responders and survivors who tragically developed cancer and other life-threatening diseases after being exposed to toxic dust at Ground Zero has come to an end. Signed into law July 29, the Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act extends funding for victims until October 2090, ensuring compensation for the duration of their lives.

Previously set to expire in December 2020, and while facing dwindling resources, the VCF announced in February that awards would be cut by at least 50 percent to help cover a recent surge in claims. Championed by numerous first responders-turned activists as well as actor and comedian Jon Stewart, the new law removes a monetary cap for the fund, promising to provide awards as needed until the fund expires.

“We promised on September 11 that we’d never forget the sacrifices made by the victims. Even now, 18 years later, the tragedy continues to claim new lives as many diseases caused by asbestos and other toxic exposures from dust at Ground Zero can take decades to develop. The heart-breaking reality is that the number of people who need help will continue to increase for years to come,” said Jodi Westbrook Flowers, attorney for more than 6,600 9/11 families and survivors. “This new piece of legislation is the very least we can do to offer assistance to the first responders who gave their all that day without hesitation.”

The U.S. Senate voted 97-2 to pass the legislation on July 23 after hearing impassioned testimony from impacted first responders and their supporters. The bill cleared the House with a vote of 402-12 weeks prior.

For more information on the Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act or to file a claim, visit https://www.vcf.gov/.

Motley Rice lawyers have helped people file claims with the Victims Compensation Fund as the process can include a maze of paperwork, documents and evidence. Learn more information about the 9/11 VCF.