- Associated Press - Friday, September 7, 2012

Some key information about the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which went into effect a year ago to aid ground zero responders and others who became ill after being exposed to dust and ash at the World Trade Center site:

_ The law is composed of two parts: the World Trade Center Health Program, which provides monitoring and treatment for ailing responders and others, and the victim’s compensation fund, which covers wage and economic losses pertaining to ground zero-related illnesses.

_ After much partisan wrangling, Congress approved the Zadroga Act on Dec. 22, 2010, in a last-minute compromise during the final hours of the legislative session. The bill’s advocates originally sought $6.2 billion but ultimately agreed to $4.2 billion.

_ New York attorney Sheila Birnbaum was appointed special master of the fund by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in May 2011. She is tasked with doling out $875 million in the first five years of the fund, with nearly $2 billion more to be released around 2016.

_ The fund has only received eligibility forms from about 300 claimants, but Birnbaum ultimately expects to receive thousands of additional applications.

_ About 40,000 Sept. 11 responders and survivors receive monitoring and 20,000 get treatment for their illnesses as part of the Zadroga Act’s health program.

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