According to the 9/11 First Responder’s Victims Compensation Fund (VCF), they have paid an estimated $234 million to claimants seeking compensation. Their latest update on March 1st was made by Sheila Birnbaum, the Special Master and main point person for the fund. The $234 million went to pay 1,000 claims and Birnbaum has pledged to continue to focus on expediting the payment of claims. This is big news which comes on the heels of the extension of the James Zadroga Act in 2015. That fight which went on for months required the assistance of Jon Stewart and others to shame and prod Congressional members to vote to extend the act.
Birnbaum also said the priority for the VCF will be the Group A claims. Group A claims are ones that have been received and computed due to the regulations before August 2011. The extension also makes these claims a priority to be paid. A timeline produced by the VCF shows that all Group A claims should be paid by June 2016. Group B funding and payments should begin in September 2016.
The extension of the James Zadroga Act has provided permanent funding to the VCF and has extended the window of when claimants can receive medical care. The Zadroga Act expired around October 2015. Until December 2015 when the extension was passed, it was a fight everyday to get meetings with members of Congress to hear the pleas from the 9/11 First Responder community. Activists like John Feal, 9/11 Health Watch, the entire New York Congressional Delegation, celebrities like Jon Stewart all worked together to get the bill passed.