In 2010 Congress grudgingly passed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, setting up a Victims Compensation Fund for responders, but not until billions of dollars were slashed from the fund in order to overcome a Republican filibuster.
October 3 is the deadline for registering with the Victims Compensation Fund. People who were at Ground Zero, whether they were first responders or civilian volunteers, are being urged to register with the program, even if they are not currently sick. Anyone who develops a 9/11-related illness on Oct. 4 who is not registered, will be entitled to nothing.
Of the 19,000 people registered with the Victim’s Compensation Fund, 12,000 are not from the tri-state area. There are 435 congressional districts in the United States, and 430 of them have at least one registered 9/11 responder. This is a national problem, and one that is not going to go away no matter how much politicians wish to ignore it. Americans are still dying as a direct result of the 9/11 attacks, and more are likely to become sick as the years go by. It’s not something we can afford to put in the rear view mirror and hope it goes away.
Accusations and conspiracy theories aside, the air at Ground Zero was obviously not safe to breathe. The city of New York, the state of New York or the federal government should have had the courage to admit that. They didn’t, and the death toll continues to rise.
Anyone who responded to Ground Zero and is not currently registered should go to vcf.gov to register. Time is running out.