9/11 victim fund covers cancer for first time

By Susan Edelman New York Post

The federal 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund has for the first time paid out cash awards for cancer.

Two claimants — one with bladder cancer, one with urinary-tract cancer — will receive “substantial amounts,” with one award exceeding $1 million, VCF special master Sheila Birnbaum told The Post.

“They are only the first. There are going to be many more,” Birnbaum said.

At least 1,000 cancer claims are in the pipeline, she added.

Claimants receive only 10 percent immediately, with the rest expected to be paid out in 2016.

After the controversial passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, the VCF reopened in October 2011 with $2.7 billion for economic compensation and $1.5 billion for treatment.

Ground Zero responders, downtown residents and workers, and others exposed to dust and smoke from the 9/11 terror attacks may qualify for aid.

In June 2012, more than 50 types of cancer were added to the list of sicknesses covered.

Ex-NYPD Detective John Walcott, a 9/11 responder stricken with leukemia in 2003, is awaiting word on his VCF claim, completed several months ago.

“I guess I have a little hope. I look in the mailbox every day,” he said.

As of September 15, the VCF had awarded 78 claimants a total $13.7 million, it says. Another 2,000 deemed eligible were under review for payouts.

“We’re working very hard to get awards out as quickly as we can,” Birnbaum said.

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