Sick 9/11 workers fight for medical care funding

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Sick Ground Zero workers from Westchester and Hudson Valley returned home after a congressional hearing on the financial toll their illnesses are taking.

White Plains lawyer David Worby filed a lawsuit on behalf of about 10,000 workers who have become ill from their work at the World Trade Center site after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. Worby represents former NYPD officer Richard Volpe of Mount Kisco. Volpe says in the six years since the litigation began, he and many of his friends keep getting sicker, without seeing any compensation or help with mounting medical bills.

Congress established a billion-dollar insurance fund for the workers. However, to date, the city has spent millions on administrative costs, but only paid out five claims. There have been many federal inquires into the ongoing health crisis for 9/11 workers. The congressional hearing in Washington, D.C. was the first ever held to specifically address the financial impact to sickened workers.

After hearing from one worker whose mounting medical bills caused him to lose his home, Congressman Jerry Nadler (D-NYC) said, ?The suffering of the living victims of 9/11 is real and cannot be ignored. I think it is clear, we as a nation, must do more.?

Lawyers for the city have said in the past they feel the city is legally immune to workers? lawsuits. However, last week a federal appeals court decided lawsuits can proceed on behalf of thousands of workers who claim they were not properly protected during cleanup of the World Trade Center after the attacks.Courtallows Sept. 11 workers' lawsuits to proceed

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