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April 14, 2011

In coming weeks, a special master is expected to be named by the Justice Department to oversee the multi-billion fund established to provide compensation and health monitoring to rescue workers and NY residents harmed by toxic dust and smoke from the 9/11 attacks. The special master’s appointment is a key step to implementing the new law.

The special master will develop program rules and procedures within the guidelines outlined in the legislation and will decide how to distribute the $2.8 billion to people who say that they have developed illnesses from exposure to harmful debris and dust at ground zero, according to The New York Times.

The law, passed by Congress in December, also provides $1.4 billion over five years for ongoing monitoring and treatment of illnesses stemming from exposure to toxic dust and debris at ground zero. Over time, the monitoring program may help define what exactly qualifies as a 9/11-related illness. Several groups are currently conducting studies of cancer deaths among 9/11 workers. If research shows a cancer connection, then workers with those cancers would be eligible for compensation.

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