After years of underrepresentation in terms of their registration and claims submitted to the federal 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund for health issues they’ve endured or will experience since the attack on the World Trade Center, FBI agents and other federal officials who were located in the exposure zone between Sept. 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002 are encouraged to register with the World Trade Center Health Program and investigate their eligibility for financial benefits — before it’s too late.
Named after James Zadroga, an NYPD officer whose death was linked to exposure from the World Trade Center disaster, the federal James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act was established 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, which provides medical testing and treatment, and reactivated the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), which has provided for more than $7 billion in compensation, has already paid out more than $3.3 billion in medical claims to eligible first responders and survivors since 2011, and is currently authorized to accept claims through Dec. 18, 2020.
However, and possibly driven by false rumors that federal government officials were ineligible for 9/11 benefits, FBI agents and other federal officials have been tragically underrepresented in terms of both registrations with the World Trade Health Center Program and claims to the VCF even though many were present in the exposure zone during and following the attacks.
Ground Zero in lower Manhattan was home to several Secret Service, FEMA, and FBI agent office locations and was also the site of their professional services, as these officials attended to the disaster area and investigated the terror attack as an official crime scene, yet Victim Compensation Fund Special Master Rupa Bhattacharyya confirmed that the VCF has received less than 1,000 claims from federal employees since 2011 — a rate that she admitted “seems low, considering how many (federal employees) we know must have been there.” At this rate, federal employee claims account for just 3 percent of the roughly 29,000 total claims submitted to the VCF since that time and just .2 % of the estimated 500,000 responders, survivors, workers, residents, and students estimated to have been exposed to toxic dust and debris in the lower Manhattan area.
The FBI had offices in at least two known locations in the exposure area — 26 Federal Plaza and 290 Broadway (which is ironically also the headquarters for the 9/11 VCF) — and 15 FBI agents have died of 9/11-related illnesses since the terror attacks. To address any unfounded rumors that may have been circulating, the FBI will reportedly be sending an official letter to its affected employees confirming their exposure during the nearly nine-month period in question.
While FBI Agents and other federal officials may have been unclear on their eligibility for health services and financial benefits until recently, all are encouraged to register with the World Trade Center Health Program, investigate their eligibility for support, and submit any claims before the Dec. 18, 2020 deadline. Time is of the essence and they may be eligible for free medical monitoring and/or tax-free compensation for a variety of health conditions they’ve experienced or will suffer — from a variety 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.
Pitta & Baione LLP is proud to represent countless FBI agents and federal employees before the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (9/11 VCF). If you’re an FBI agent or other federal employee, don’t miss or delay an opportunity for medical treatment or compensation based on a false workplace rumor. Contact the 9/11 Attorneys at Pitta & Baione LLP at (844) WTC-COMP (982-2667) or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information regarding health and compensation benefits for 9/11-related illnesses.