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Updates on the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Extension Legislation

House of Representatives Votes in Favor of VCF Extension

On Friday, July 12th, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives voted by a large margin to reauthorize the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund until the year 2090. The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) provides compensation to those whose health has been impacted by 9/11 and the families of those individuals. The bill does not allocate a specific sum of money toward compensation, but rather says that there will be an allocation of, “such sums as may be necessary for fiscal year 2019 and each fiscal year thereafter through fiscal year 2090.”  

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Promises Vote in Senate

The U.S. Senate must now vote on the legislation. After meeting with several 9/11 advocates, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell committed to holding a vote before the end of 2019. There is a concern among advocates that, if the Senate does not act quickly, the passage of the legislation will come too late for many who are facing serious illnesses due to toxic exposure from the rescue and recovery efforts during and after 9/11. 

VCF Extension Legislation is Renamed After Death of Major VCF Advocate

The legislation, formerly named the “Never Forget the Heroes: Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act,” has been recently renamed after the death of a major VCF advocate, Luis Alvarez. Mr. Alvarez, who was 53, died due to cancer he developed from toxic exposure at Ground Zero. Mr. Alvarez passionately advocated for the extension of the VCF in front of the House Judiciary Committee just before his death. 

The legislation has now been renamed to “Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund Act.” Ray Pfeifer, a former SPBMC client and FDNY firefighter who served at Ground Zero, inspired countless people with his battle to overcome cancer and his heroic activism on behalf of all those who are ill and in need of services and compensation. He passed away in 2017 from 9/11-related cancer at age 59. James Zadroga was the first NYPD officer whose death was attributed to toxic exposure from his time spent at Ground Zero assisting in the rescue and recovery efforts. 

 Speak to an SPBMC 9/11 Litigation Attorney to Learn More About the VCF and Your Rights

The attorneys at SPBMC, including Counsel Wendell Tong and Partner Nicholas Papain, both of whom have been intimately involved with VCF cases, are excited to see the VCF extension receive the support it deserves and hope to see a swift passage of the act. The firm was deeply involved in legislative advocacy related to the VCF in 2010 and 2015, and we continue to serve as strong advocates in 2019. It is our hope that each and every firefighter, first responder, survivor, victim and their families will be honored and duly compensated for the sacrifices made on that momentous day in United States’ history. If you or a loved one has developed an illness related to toxic exposure from time spent at or near Ground Zero, know that you are not alone. The attorneys at Sullivan Papain Block McGrath & Cannavo P.C. are dedicated to pursuing justice and compensation for those whose health has been negatively impacted by 9/11. To learn more about how we can help, please contact SPBMC today.