Menendez Introduces Bill To Reopen 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund

Menendez Introduces Bill To Reopen 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund

Clinton, Lautenberg, Schumer join in offering the James Zadroga Act of 2006, to amend eligibility rules for Ground Zero-related illness and death

Washington - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today introduced The James Zadroga Act of 2006 to amend the eligibility rules of the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund, extending the filing deadline beyond the original December 2003 limit so that victims and first responders who became ill in addition to their respective family members can still be compensated. The bill, co-sponsored by Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), will also allow for adjustment of previous awards and allow eligibility to responders and families of responders who arrived to Ground Zero after the first 96 hours.

As our nation continues to heal from the wounds inflicted by the 9/11 terror attacks, there are many first responders whose wounds have yet to heal from the aftermath of that day, Senator Menendez said. We as a nation must care for those who cared for America in its time of need. We cannot let bureaucratic red tape stand between those who helped America pick up the pieces and the compensation they deserve.

We owe it to those who bravely and selflessly responded in the aftermath of 9/11 to stand by them and their families. It is our duty to make sure they get the help they need and deserve, said Senator Clinton.

Every man and woman who rushed to ground zero, who risked their lives to save the lives of others, deserves the best possible care our government can provide, said Senator Lautenberg.

While we cant ever properly repay the courageous sacrifices James Zadroga and others made for America, its our responsibility to make sure the families of those heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice at Ground Zero-related get the compensation they deserve, said Senator Schumer.

The bill is named after James Zadroga, an NYPD detective and New Jersey resident, who was the first 9/11 responder to have his death directly attributed to exposure to the toxins of Ground Zero. He became ill just weeks after working at Ground Zero, but because he retired in 2004, the New York Police Department had originally determined that his four-year old daughter Tylerann could only receive a disability pension, instead of the full death benefit to which she should be entitled. In April, the four senators called on New York officials to provide full benefits to Tylerann and other beneficiaries like her, and recently New York enacted legislation to grant these full benefits.

A similar bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan and Queens) and Vito Fossella (R-Staten Island).

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