Special Master To Be Appointed to 9/11 Health Fund

The New York Times has reported that in the next few weeks a special master will be appointed to oversee the James Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Fund, a multibillion-dollar fund created to provide financial compensation to those who became sick from the toxic fumes, dust, and smoke following the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. The special master will decide how to distribute at least $2.8 billion in compensation to rescue workers and other people who say they have developed illnesses after being exposed to the toxic debris. According to the article, the special master will be responsible for creation of the rules and procedures of the program, as well as approving the size of individual compensation packages. In the article, Carolyn B. Maloney, a Democrat from New York, is quoted as saying, “This is a vitally important position. We need someone who will run a compassionate and efficient program for those who were injured by the toxins at ground zero.” There are significant guidelines for the fund. Anyone who files a claim with the fund must waive their right to sue any entities that ran the rescue, recovery, and cleanup at ground zero, including private contractors and the City of New York. Also, claimants cannot appeal the fund’s decisions. The program will also provide $1.4 billion over a five year period to monitor and treat injuries from exposure to toxic dust and debris at ground zero. Although right now there is little evidence linking cancer to the dust and smoke that engulfted the ground zero area, if medical data emerges to show a link during this period of monitoring, people with those cancers will be eligible for coverage. The bill was named after James Zadroga, a New York detective who participated in the rescue efforts at ground zero and later developed breathing problems. He died in 2006.

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