Free Legal Clinics for Sick 9/11 Responders and Residents

By Julie Shapiro on March 12, 2012 12:55pm 

Firefighters work at Ground Zero on 9/11 amid the toxic dust cloud. Those who are sick can now receive free legal advice.
Firefighters work at Ground Zero on 9/11 amid the toxic dust cloud. Those who are sick can now receive free legal advice.
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AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

LOWER MANHATTAN — Free legal help is on the way for first responders and Downtown residents who became ill after 9/11.

Local lawyers and law students will start holding clinics this week to help 9/11 survivors and recovery workers apply for the federal government's $2.8 billion Victim Compensation Fund.

Under the Zadroga Act, the fund covers medical costs, lost wages and pain and suffering for those who contracted illnesses connected to Ground Zero toxins, including respiratory and digestive problems. The fund does not yet cover cancer, though an expert medical panel voted last month that at least some cancers should be included.

The federal government is expected to make a decision later this year.

Columbia University Law School and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law will hold a total of six free clinics staffed by law students this spring.

The Columbia clinics will be held Mar. 13, 14 and 15, from 3 to 5 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at Jerome Greene Hall, 435 West 116th St. The Benjamin N. Cardozo clinics will be held Apr. 9, 10 and 11 from 3 to 5 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at 55 Fifth Ave.

The New York City Bar Justice Center will also hold two clinics, March 12 and May 7, from 2 to 4 p.m. at 42 W. 44th St.

All of the clinics require an advance appointment. To register or to get more information, call 1-855-885-1555.

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