9/11 First Responders Deserve Healthcare Funds Now!

  • By: Susan V
  • Target: Sheila Birnbaum, US Victim Compensation Fund

Two years ago President Obama signed the $2.7 billion James Zadroga act to assist first responders harmed by the 9/11 cleanup initative. But not one of them has yet seen a cent of that money.

An attorney representing some of Staten Island’s first responders told the SI Advance that even very seriously ill responders are being made to jump through all kinds of hoops and provide more and more documentation. Yet the government is still withholding assistance.

Based on what fund administrator Sheila Birnbaum told the press, she apparently expects these suffering heroes, who didn’t hesitate to help others on 9/11, to dot every “i” and cross every “t” and still wait on the help they desperately need.

One local firefighter told the paper he’s having to pay thousands out of pocket for a prescription he needs for leukemia and lung problems he developed. He says it’s a disgrace, and he’s absolutely right. 

Tell Birnbaum to get those funds out to first responders now!

We, the undersigned, are outraged to hear of VCF’s withholding of healthcare funds from 9/11 first responders.

We agree with attorney Lloyd Thompson that money earmarked to help workers with 9/11-related illnesses “should be distributed as soon as possible” and any red tape “should be kept at a minimum.”

Birnbaum’s statement reported in the press that “most” applications arrived incomplete and “missing key details” sounds like an absurd lie or excuse for withholding funds and very much like similar tactics used on many seeking government assistance on other issues like preventing home foreclosure or getting veterans benefits for Agent Orange-related illnesses. Just a quick view of the fund’s website shows there’s likely as much money being spent on red tape and administration salaries as it would take to care for all the victims.

According to Staten Island Advance, this Zadroga fund was set up to “dole out $875 million» for 9/11 first responders “in the first five years, and the rest in 2016.” And there’s no excuse for two years to pass with nothing paid out at all.

We join U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer in insisting that fund managers start getting the money out to these first responders by Christmas. 

Thank you for your time.

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