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As the nation commemorates the 17th anniversary of 9/11 this week, Americans will pay tribute to the memory of the brave individuals who lost their lives, risked their lives for others, came together in unity, and volunteered their help amid disaster and following an unspeakable tragedy that stands as one of the most horrifying acts of large-scale violence in the modern day.  Along with the nearly 3,000 individuals and first responders who died that day, 9/11 stands as the single deadliest incident for firefighters and law enforcement officers in U.S. history, with 343 and 72 killed, respectively.

But sadly, 9/11 didn’t end on 9/11.

For many of the estimated 500,000 people who were exposed to 9/11 toxins on and after the terrorist attacks (according to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health), life remains a daily struggle and experts confirm that far more people will ultimately die from 9/11-related illnesses than the 2,996 who perished that day at the attack sites in Lower Manhattan, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

In light of the fact that many of the health conditions triggered by 9/11 take time to surface (for example, some 10,000 known cases of 9/11-related cancer have been diagnosed in just the last five years) and with a growing number of exposed individuals coming forward with 9/11-related health issues over the years, the federal government established the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act in 2010 to provide and fund medical monitoring and treatment for responders and survivors who suffered or will experience health complications related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  The Act led to the creation of the World Trade Health Center Program (WTCHP), which provides medical testing and treatment, and reactivated the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), which has provided for over $7 billion in compensation and has already paid out over $4 billion in 9/11 victim compensation to eligible first responders and survivors since 2011.

Since passage of the act, roughly 29,000 claims have been submitted and more than 14,000 victims and families of victims have received compensation from the VCF, with the average dollar value of all awards amounting to more than $200,000; the largest award to-date totaled over $4.6million. Pitta & Baione LLP successfully obtained a 9/11 VCF award totaling over $3.1 million for a cancer victim they represented who was exposed to 9/11 toxins while working in an office building in Lower Manhattan during the months following the tragedy.

While this overall level of registration and claim activity may appear robust, it actually only represents a fraction of the population of affected individuals — specifically, the roughly 89,000 registrants to the World Trade Center Health Program and 29,000 claims submitted to the VCF to-date represent just 18 percent and six percent of the 500,000 people exposed, respectively.  For the vast majority of exposed individuals who haven’t registered with the WTC Health Program or are unaware of the opportunities available to them to receive free medical monitoring and possible financial compensation for health issues they’ve endured or may suffer in the future, time is running out, as the current deadline to submit claims to the VCF is Dec. 18, 2020.

Time is of the essence and you may be eligible for free medical monitoring and/or tax-free compensation for a variety of health conditions you may have experienced or will suffer — from a broad range of cancers and respiratory illnesses to sleep apnea, GERD (persistent heartburn), and more.  In addition, families of those who suffered from a 9/11-related condition during their lifetime and have since passed may also be eligible for compensation.

While the 17th anniversary of 9/11 remains an enduring symbol of American patriotism and a stoic reminder of the fragility of life, it also stands as an important reminder to individuals in the exposure zone to register with the World Trade Center Health Program, have their health monitored, and investigate their eligibility for VCF benefits that may be owed to them before the Dec. 18, 2020 deadline — and to join in the national movement to reauthorize and extend the deadline on the Victims Compensation Fund.

Contact the 9/11 Attorneys at Pitta & Baione LLP at (844) WTC-COMP (982-2667) or email them at info@pittabaione.com for more information regarding health and compensation benefits for 9/11-related illnesses.

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