News & Politics

9/11 Responders Must Show They’re Not Terrorists Before Receiving Benefits


The new 9/11 health bill requires “tens of thousands of cops, firefighters, construction workers and others who survived the worst terrorist assault in U.S. history and risked their lives in its wake” to prove to the government that they’re not terrorists before they can receive medical care, the Huffington Post reports. The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Law includes a provision that any responders or people in the area on that fateful day that are now seeking medical assistance must first be scanned against the FBI’s terrorism watchlist; one former NYPD officer calls the rule “silly…stupid…asinine.” He forgot offensive. “It’s comical at best, and I think it’s an insult to everyone who worked on The Pile and is sick and suffering from 9/11,” added a former construction worker who lost half a foot. This could — and should — get ugly.

HuffPo reports that if the suffering are seeking health care, they will be required to provide their “names, places of birth, addresses, government ID numbers and other personal data” to the F.B.I. But they’ll get a friendly letter telling them why!

“Although neither we nor [the Centers for Disease Control]/NIOSH anticipate the name of any individual in the current Programs will be on the list, CDC/NIOSH is expressly required by law to implement this particular requirement of the Act,” it says.

“Thank you for your understanding. We look forward to working with you and ensuring that you continue to receive uninterrupted services under the new WTC Health Program,” it concludes.

“Is the idea that a terrorist stayed to help clean up? And then stayed all these years to try and get benefits?” one critic asks. If you’ve got nothing to hide…some say, but this is just absurd and insensitive any way you slice it.


This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 22, 2011

Archive Highlights