Who is Covered by the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund?
If you lived, worked, went to school, were a first responder or volunteered in Lower Manhattan on between 9/11 and May 30, 2002 (almost nine full months), you may be eligible for substantial tax-free compensation, as well as free lifetime health care and medical benefits.
Who is covered? The Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) and the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) cover anyone present in the Exposure Zone on or after 9/11 — first responders, workers, residents, students, and others. This includes workers who helped haul the debris away or worked on the barges that transported rubble. You do not have to be a volunteer or a rescue worker to get compensation and medical benefits. You simply had to be there.
Importantly, the NYC downtown area workers, residents, and students—who breathed the same toxic dust and fumes as the first responders—are eligible for the same level of compensation and healthcare as first responders. Because the 9/11 VCF is now 100% fully funded with over $10 billion by the federal government, awards and payments to residents, workers, and students do not reduce the 9/11 awards or funding for first responders.
If you spent time in Lower Manhattan on 9/11 or anytime for almost nine months after (until May 30, 2002), you may be eligible for compensation, as well as a lifetime of free healthcare. Why? Because every 9/11 survivor — construction workers, utility workers, downtown professionals, office workers, cleaners, NYC workers, residents students, and others — helped NYC get back on her feet - and deserves compensation just like the first responders.
No matter where you currently live in the United States, however, what matters most is where you were on 9/11 and during the months that followed. If you lived, worked, or went to school in the exposure zone between September 11, 2001, and May 30, 2002, you can qualify for compensation. Many 9/11 victims are surprised to learn that they still qualify, even if they moved away from New York after 9/11.
If you are uncertain of your eligibility, discuss your case with an experienced 9/11 attorney at Hansen & Rosasco, LLP. Call us Today at 212-697-3701. We can help you see if you qualify. Our attorneys and team will need to pursue WTC Health Program membership and certification of your 9/11-related illness before pursuing VCF compensation. This is a time-consuming process. Even if you do not believe you qualify, you should speak to a 9/11 VCF lawyer at our law firm to check to be sure and review your legal options. You may deserve lifetime medical benefits and substantial tax-free compensation.
WHO QUALIFIES FOR THE VCF?
Those who qualify for compensation through the VCF include:
- Those who were present in the New York City exposure zone (all of lower Manhattan south of Canal Street) between 9/11 and May 30, 2002 (or first responders at the Pentagon or Shanksville, Pennsylvania) or at the debris removal route from Ground Zero (including the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island) during the times of high exposure risk.
- Those who can show that they have a 9/11-related physical condition through the WTCHP’s certification of covered conditions or the program’s private physician process
- Those who have the legal authority to seek compensation for the wrongful death of a loved one as a result of a 9/11-related conditionThose who meet the registration deadline:
- Registering is not the same as filing a claim. It simply reserves the right to file a claim at any time in the future. The deadline for registering with the VCF is two years from when the prospective claimant received a certification of a 9/11-related medical condition from the other federal 9/11 benefits program, the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP). The WTCHP provides medical treatment and monitoring services for 9/11 responders and survivors. For deceased claimants, registration must occur within two years of the death from a 9/11-related medical condition or the date when it was discovered that a 9/11-related condition caused the death.
Here are some of the groups affected by the toxic dust plume.
Survivors – Downtown Workers, Residents, & Students
Approximately 360,000 people occupied buildings in the exposure zone. Many 9/11 survivor community members have only recently learned about the federal benefits the WTCHP and VCF provide. Some survivors who can file a VCF claim include:
- Downtown Manhattan workers
- Wall Street workers
- Area construction workers
- Emergency medical technicians
- Teachers and students at schools in Downtown Manhattan
- Residents living in the exposure zone
FDNY was not the only emergency service agency to show up at Ground Zero before the towers collapsed or in the hours or days after. The New York Police Department and the Port Authority Police departments sustained losses in the attack.
Many of their responders have also become ill with diseases related to their toxic exposure at Ground Zero. Many other agencies, the employees of private companies, and local union members also spent time at Ground Zero and along the debris removal route assisting in the rescue, recovery, and clean-up efforts.
Family Members of Those Who Died as a Result of a 9/11-Related Physical Condition
Many physical illnesses caused by exposure to toxic World Trade Center dust are deadly, including many types of cancer and severe respiratory ailments such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Losing a family member means losing comfort, companionship, and society provided by the deceased and the loss of wages needed to keep the family financially afloat.
Those who lose a loved one to a 9/11-related illness can seek compensation through the VCF. An authorized representative of the deceased’s estate must show that the 9/11-related illness caused or contributed to their loved one’s death.
Workers at the Shanksville and Pentagon Terror Attack Sites
Those who spent at least four hours working at one of the 9/11 terror attack sites in Pennsylvania or Washington, DC, during high exposure periods are also eligible to seek compensation for 9/11-related illnesses.
New York Fire Department Responders
Around 8,600 FDNY firefighters were present at Ground Zero on 9/11 or in the rescue, recovery, and clean-up efforts in the following months, including many of the 148 probationary firefighters. They had just finished fire academy and were to begin work two days after the terror attack. Eighteen of the 343 FDNY firefighters who died on September 11th had been on the job for less than a year. Many firefighters at the site have succumbed to 9/11-related illnesses since the attack. Many more have been diagnosed with debilitating and life-threatening illnesses and need compensation.
HOW TO PROVE PRESENCE
To obtain compensation through a VCF claim, survivors (downtown workers, residents and students) must prove that they were at an affected site between 9/11 and May 30, 2002. At least two forms of documentation (or two affidavits) are required to satisfy this eligibility requirement. Some of the types of documentation that can prove presence at a 9/11 site include:
- Employer records, like a letter from the employer you worked for on 9/11, an official roster including your name, worker’s injury reports that show you were present and injured at a 9/11 site, or a pay stub showing the date and location of work, or work orders confirming your assignment to a job in Lower Manhattan
- Documents showing you lived at an address within the exposure zone, such as bank or medical records, old utility bills, or school or daycare records confirming that you were at an area school
- Sworn, notarized affidavits from individuals who witnessed you at one of the attack sites, such as coworkers or a neighbor