About the Law
The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act was originally passed by Congress at the end of 2010 and signed into law by President Obama after years of advocacy by 9/11 responders and survivors.
It was sponsored in the House of Representatives led by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and Peter King (R-NY) with 112 other members of the House. In the Senate, it was led by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) along with 9 other sponsors.
The law provided for medical treatment and financial compensation for the thousands of responders and survivors who are sick from exposure to toxins at Ground Zero, as well as those sick from exposures at the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania sites. As passed in 2010, it provided $4.152 billion dollars in total Federal funds, for a total cost of $4.3 billion, when New York City’s shares of expenses were included. The Federal funds were provided by new fees and taxes created in the legislation so that both programs paid for.
There were two key parts of the law: 1) The creation of the World Trade Center Health Program and 2) the reopening of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.
The World Trade Center Health Program was funded in 2010 with $1.506 billion dollars for five years, with an additional 10% or 150 million dollars provided by the City of New York, until September 30, 2015, the end of federal Fiscal Year 2015. It was allowed by its statute to continue to operate with any funds that were not spent from prior years, for all or part of the federal Fiscal Year 2016 but would have to shut down for good on September 30, 2016.
The September 11th Victim Compensation Program was reopened after being shut down in 2003 and was funded at the time by $ 2.775 billion dollars to pay compensation claims from injured and ill 9/11 responders, survivors and the families of those responders and survivors who died from 9/11 injuries until October 3rd, 2016 when it would cease taking new claims.
On April 14th 2015, legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 1786 and in the United States Senate, S. 928 , and the “James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act of 2015”, to renew and make permanent the Health and Compensation programs that were helping thousands of injured and ill 9/11 Responders and Survivors. The legislation was introduced in by Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and Peter King (R-NY) along with 49 other original bi-partisan and in the Senate by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Chuck Schumer (D-NY) Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mark Kirk (R-IL), and 9 other Senators.
With and lot of work by a lot of responders, survivors and their supporters, the legislation HR 1786 / S. 928, eventually gained overwhelming support with 272 cosponsors in the house, 80 Republicans and all 192 Democrats, and 69 cosponsors in the Senate with 23 Republicans and all 46 Democratic Senators.
Because of the overwhelming bipartisan support by so many Representatives, the Congress passed legislation in December 2015 that President Obama signed into law that made the World Trade Center Health Program permanent so that injured responders and survivors can get the health care that they need and extends the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund until December 2020.
There will have to be an effort in Congress to make the VCF permanent so that 9/11 responders and survivors will not have to keep going to Washington to seek the help they need and deserve.
Below is information on the new law:
Summary of the Final James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization that was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama
World Trade Center Health Program Section (score $3.5 billion):
Extends the Health Program to 2090 with only minor revisions:
- Adds a requirement that the Administrator provide for an independent peer review of the scientific and technical evidence prior to adding a condition to the List of WTC-Related Health Conditions.
- Changes the deadline for the Administrator to act on petitions to add health conditions to within 90 days.
- Sets yearly caps for funding for the health program for the first 10 years and then ties future increases to the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers.
Allows any unexpended funding in each year to be available for use in future years.
Requires a GAO report every 5 years to ensure program integrity.
- Other technical changes
Victim Compensation Fund Section (score $4.6 billion)
Extends the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund for an additional 5 years and adds an additional $4.6 billion to pay claims.
- All applicants that received an award determination letter before the day of enactment will receive the full amount of their award.
- The following caps and limits will apply to any applicant that has not received an award letter by the day of enactment:
- Codification of the legal definition for the exposure area – the area will be the same as that used by the current VCF program but would take an act of Congress to expand the area in the future.
- Non-economic loss awards for cancer claims capped at $250,000.
- Non-economic loss awards for non-cancer claims capped at $90,000.
- The yearly salary maximum for the calculation of economic awards capped at $200,000/year.
- Minimum payments will no longer be provided.
- The Special Master is required to re-evaluate the policies once a year to ensure that spending and award determinations prioritize those suffering from the most debilitating conditions.
- Other technical changes.
Here is a description of both programs.
World Trade Center Health Program
Provides health care ‐- medical monitoring and treatment -‐ to responders and survivors (area workers, residents, students) who were exposed to the toxins at Ground Zero and now are sick due to their exposures. The World Trade Center Health Program, is run by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and directed by Dr. John Howard, Director of NIOSH and the official Administrator of the WTC Health Program. The program provides medical monitoring and treatment for WTC‐related conditions to responders and survivors, delivered locally in the New York City area through Medical Centers of Excellence and nationally through a network of medical care providers (the National Program). In the 2015 reauthorization the program was essentially made permanent since it is authorized until 2090. There is no time limit for joining the program.
World Trade Center Health Program
Get answers to frequently asked questions about the Health Program
Frequently asked questions on the new coverage for some cancers under the World Trade Center Health Program
September 11th Victim Compensation Fund
The 2015 reauthorization the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act allows the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), to continue providing compensation to injured and ill 9/11 responders and survivors as well as surviving families for another five years. The reauthorization also provided an additional 4.6 billion dollars to ensure that responders and survivors will receive the full compensation that they deserve.to provide compensation for economic losses and harm. The VCF allows individuals who became ill or have passed away since the original VCF deadline at the end of 2003 to be compensated for economic damages and losses stemming from their physical injuries. The VCF is run by the U.S. Department of Justice under the direction of Special Master, Sheila Birnbaum.
James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act Reauthorization 2015
Summary of 2015 Reauthorization Provisions
CRS side by Side Comparison of Revised Statue to Prior Law & Section by Section 2/19/2016
Health Program Regulations
World Trade Center Health Program; Addition of Certain Types of Cancer to the List of WTC-Related Health Conditions, Corrections
October 12, 2012
World Trade Center Health Program; Addition of Certain Types of Cancer to the List of WTC-Related Health Conditions, Final Rule, Federal Register
September 12, 2012
Victims Compensation Fund Program Regulations
Revised on 11/29/2018