Monday, January 3, 2011

Obama signs bill to benefit 9/11 survivors and first responders; but beware of other settlements

President Obama has signed a bill that will provide benefits for survivors of the September 11th, 2001 terror attacks, including Ground Zero first responders.

In August 2009, the Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine published an article entitled,  Multiple Myeloma in World Trade Center Responders: A Case Series.  The study concluded by noting, "[we observed] an unusual number of [Multiple Myleoma] cases in WTC responders under 45 years. This finding underscores the importance of maintaining surveillance for cancer and other emerging diseases in this highly exposed population."

"I believe this is a critical step for those who continue to bear the physical scars of [the 9/11 attacks]" said Obama.  The Act – The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act – is named after a New York police officer who passed away as a result of a disease he contracted from Ground Zero.

Congress passed the Act after some expected bargaining on cost. The final version of the Act will come with a $4.2 to $4.3 billion price tag.  FOX reported that this money will be raised by a fee charged to foreign companies that receive certain contracts from the U.S. government.   

The Bill took a long time…some workers have waited nine years for this assistance.  But there is a small catch to this measure.  The New York Post reports that thousands could potentially lose the benefits from the Act if they choose to become involved in a settlement between the Port Authority and private businesses that were involved with cleanup.  This choice stems from one of the requirements to receive benefits under the Act; recipients can’t accept payments from other sources.

Image: thephotoholic /

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