Congressional Support for the Addition of Uterine Cancer as a Qualifying 9/11-Related Illness
For nearly ten years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, survivors and first responders waited for Congress to act. In addition to the immense loss of life on September 11, 2001, tens of thousands of individuals who were exposed to toxins emitted on 9/11 have developed serious medical conditions, including cancer.
Finally, in January 2011, President Obama signed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 into law. While the Zadroga Act helped many 9/11 victims, others were left out. Many people who are suffering from cancer were diagnosed recently, long after the Zadroga Act was signed into law. To account for additional qualifying victims, President Obama signed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act of 2015, which extended the scope of benefits.
Is Uterine Cancer Covered Under 9/11 Benefits?
The current list of illnesses that are eligible for 9/11 benefits does not include uterine or endometrial cancer. As such, female survivors and first responders are not eligible to receive benefits as part of the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP), which was established by the Zadroga Act.
Because many illnesses and diseases do not appear until much later after exposure to toxins, some illnesses have been left off the list of qualifying WTC-related conditions. The Zadroga Act also created the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) to provide necessary compensation to victims.
The WTCHP provides a framework for the submission of petitions to add a new condition to the list of qualifying 9/11-related illnesses. A recent push to add uterine and endometrial cancer (the most common subtype of uterine cancer, making up approximately 90 percent of all cases) has been fueled by certain lawmakers who demonstrate dedication to helping victims receive the compensation and benefits they deserve.
How Can Pitta & Baione Help Uterine Cancer Claims?
At Pitta & Baione LLP, we fight for the rights and interests of 9/11 survivors and first responders who were injured or sustained illnesses, such as cancer, as a result of being exposed to toxic substances emanating from Ground Zero. Our 9/11 benefits attorneys represent many clients who suffer from uterine cancer, including endometrial cancer.
In anticipation of a decision to add uterine cancer to the list of qualifying 9/11-related conditions, we are assisting clients in the process of submitting claims once the WTCHP is ready to process registrants. If you have been diagnosed with uterine cancer, you may be entitled to 9/11 benefits. To learn how Pitta & Baione LLP can help, contact our office today to schedule your free consultation.
Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Send Letter to Administrator of the WTCHP
Few matters are bipartisan in today’s political climate. However, when it comes to compensation and benefits for 9/11 victims, one group of bipartisan lawmakers are the exception to the rule. On August 2, 2021, Congresswoman Mickie Sherrill, who represents the 11th district of New Jersey, wrote a letter to Dr. John Howard, M.D., the Administrator of the WTCHP, requesting a swift decision to include uterine cancer as a covered condition.
The push for a quick decision follows the strong evidence provided in the September 2020 petition (which was a request to reconsider the first petition filed in 2019) linking exposure to 9/11 toxins and the development of uterine cancer. More specifically, data from the 2020 petition revealed that endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) – many of which were present in the WTC dust – have been referenced in recent years to be a contributing factor to the cause of uterine cancer.
Which Lawmakers Supported the Letter to the WTCHP Administrator?
Sometimes a push from lawmakers is needed to help resolve an issue that is paramount to the health and well-being of 9/11 survivors and first responders suffering from uterine cancer.
The following lawmakers signed on to the letter to the WTCHP’s Administrator:
- Jerrold Nadler
- Hakeem Jeffries
- Gregory Meeks
- Donald M. Payne, Jr.
- Carolyn B. Maloney
- Ritchie Torres
- Andrew Garbarino
- Jahana Hayes
- Jeff Van Drew
- Nydia M. Valàquez
- Mikie Sherrill
- Yvette D Clarke
- Grace Meng
- Rosa L. DeLauro
- Josh Gottheimer
- Bonnie Watson Coleman
- Thomas R. Suozzi
- Bill Pascall, Jr.
- Christopher H. Smith
- Adriano Malliotakis
Many lawmakers who have long supported efforts to ensure 9/11 victims will have benefits for decades are from New York and surrounding areas. However, a significant number of lawmakers from throughout the country are in agreement that uterine cancer should be considered a WTC-related health condition worthy of benefits.
Action Taken Following the August 2, 2021 Letter From Lawmakers
Because of such strong evidence, lawmakers wanted the Administrator to push the recent petition along. Less than twenty days following the letter from lawmakers, on August 20, 2021, the WTCHP provided its initial assessment to its Scientific/Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) regarding the addition of uterine cancer to the list of eligible conditions. The STAC reviewed the preliminary assessment, which was presented at a September 28-29, 2021 STAC meeting.
The STAC was tasked with determining whether a reasonable basis exists to add uterine cancer to the list of WTC-related health conditions. Upon review of the WTCHP’s preliminary assessment and presentation at the September 28-29, 2021 STAC meeting, the STAC determined that a reasonable basis does exist to recommend the addition of uterine cancer to the list of eligible conditions. The STAC’s recommendation was presented at a November 18, 2021 STAC meeting. The next step is to formalize the addition of uterine cancer to this list.
Did the Letter from Lawmakers Help?
The timing of the August 2, 2021 letter from lawmakers, and the August 20, 2021 action taken by the WTCHP demonstrates that a push from Congress can certainly help. While the WTCHP was likely heading in the direction of adding uterine cancer to the list of eligible conditions, congressional support, a group of lawmakers helped force the issue, and action has been taken.
Female 9/11 survivors and first responders with uterine cancer may now have an opportunity to benefit from WTCHP benefits and compensation from the VCF.
Contact Pitta & Baione LLP Today to Discuss Your Potential 9/11 Claim
If you are a 9/11 survivor or first responder who has been diagnosed with uterine or endometrial cancer, you may have options for seeking 9/11 benefits. The 9/11 attorneys of Pitta & Baione LLP have extensive experience representing 9/11 victims and have helped clients recover substantial compensation. To discuss your situation with one of our 9/11 benefits lawyers, contact our office today by calling (844) 901-1237 to schedule your free consultation.