Financial Workers in Downtown Manhattan May be Eligible for Compensation
Many are unaware that all individuals who were in the NYC “Exposure Zone” after 9/11 may be eligible for payouts from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). This includes 9/11 victims who either worked, lived, or went to school in this area, and who now suffer from a 9/11-related illness or cancer.
When the terror attacks of 9/11 occurred, hundreds of thousands of people were in downtown Manhattan, including many workers of Downtown Manhattan’s financial district just a few blocks from Ground Zero. Those workers were not only subjected to the dust plume immediately after the towers collapsed, but many returned to work within weeks or months, when there was still a high risk of environmental exposure to the toxins found in the plume.
Were you a financial worker in Downtown Manhattan on September 11th, 2001? Did you work in the area in the months that followed? Did you work for the Bank of New York, Merrill Lynch, Fidelity Investments, Goldman Sachs, CIBC, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, OppenheimerFunds, Deutsche Bank, or any other commercial or investment bank in the exposure zone?
If you have an illness related to that toxic exposure, you may be eligible for compensation for the expenses associated with your illness through the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF).
Which Financial Workers Qualify for Compensation?
The VCF provides compensation to financial district workers present in the New York City exposure zone between September 11, 2001, and May 30, 2002, who were diagnosed with a 9/11-related condition. 9/11-related conditions refer to diseases that have either been certified through the World Trade Center Health Program or the program’s private physician process. The New York City exposure zone includes Downtown Manhattan, below Canal Street, west to the Hudson River, and east below Clinton Street to the East River.
The length of exposure time required for a Downtown Manhattan financial worker to file a VCF claim include:
- Presence in the dust or dust cloud that appeared on 9/11 due to the towers’ collapse.
- At least four days of at least 4 hours each working in the exposure zone from September 11, 2001, to January 10, 2002; or at least 30 days of at least 4 hours in the exposure zone between September 11, 2001, and July 31, 2002.
- Individuals who worked in the New York City exposure zone and were deemed eligible to receive a grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation WTC Small Firms Attraction and Retention Act.
Other eligibility requirements include:
- Registering with the VCF program website within two years of obtaining a diagnosis of a 9/11-related medical condition. This registration is not the same as filing a claim but is required to reserve your right to file a VCF claim between the point of registration and October of 2090.
- The claimant dismissed, withdrew, or settled any 9/11 lawsuits by the appropriate deadline.
Individuals who lost a loved one because of a 9/11-related illness who was a financial district worker who met the eligibility criteria can also seek compensation for the expenses and impacts of their loss by first registering with the VCF within two years of the date of the deceased’s death of a 9/11-related illness.
Is the VCF More Likely to Compensate Responders Than Survivors?
Many people know the VCF provides compensation to responders who were involved in the rescue, recovery, and cleanup operations at Ground Zero on 9/11 and in the months that followed. They don’t realize, however, that the program also compensates survivors who lived, worked, or attended school in Downtown Manhattan during the many months of high exposure.
When the VCF began operating again in 2011, the first several years featured far more claims from responders than survivors. This was likely due to less outreach about the program among that community. However, since 2018, the program has received more claims each year from survivors than responders.
How Much Compensation is Available for Downtown Manhattan Financial Workers?
Created and funded by Congress following the 9/11 terror attacks, the original VCF program ran until 2004. In 2011, then-President Barack Obama signed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which restarted the VCF and created the other federal 9/11 benefit program, the World Trade Center Health Program.
In 2015, President Obama reauthorized the Zadroga Act, providing funding for the VCF for another five years. In 2019, The Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Act permanently funded the program and allowed claimants to file claims until October 2090.
The 2015 reauthorization caps pain and suffering (non-economic) damages.
This cap is:
- $90,000 for non-cancerous 9/11-related conditions, including those impacting the respiratory or digestive system, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, or gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD).
- $250,000 for 9/11-related cancers, including lung cancer, cancer of the reproductive organs, urinary tract, blood, or skin.
These are the maximum awards for pain and suffering for each certified condition you have. In addition to obtaining a maximum of these amounts, claimants can also seek compensation for wage losses linked to their injury and other expenses.
How an Experienced Zadroga Act Attorney Can Assist You With Your Claim
Individuals who have experienced medical conditions due to the toxic exposure they incurred while working in the Lower Manhattan financial district are often overwhelmed by the process if they attempt to file a claim on their own.
Unfortunately, while the program provides much-needed compensation to responders and survivors, the rules governing the WTC Health Program, the VCF, and how the two programs operate together are extensive, as is the documentation needed to prove your claim.
An experienced 9/11 benefits attorney can provide several services to assist with your claim, including:
- Explaining the federal 9/11 benefits programs and helping you determine if you can participate. We offer this information to you for free through a case evaluation with a member of our legal team.
- Helping you apply for the WTC Health Program, to receive free health care monitoring and treatment of 9.11-related conditions. Even if you do not wish to participate in the program, the certification of 9/11-related health conditions can satisfy some of the eligibility requirements for filing a VCF claim.
- Helping you to register with the VCF by the registration deadline to reserve your right to file a claim.
- Submitting the medical records and other documentation the review board needs to decide your claim.
- Assisting you with appealing the award decision for your claim if you feel an error made and that you deserve more compensation than you received.
- Filing an addendum to your claim if you have a newly diagnosed condition and need additional compensation for it.
- Exploring other avenues of compensation with you, including local, state, or federal programs that you are eligible to apply for assistance through.
Financial Workers Can Get Help 9/11 to Obtain Compensation
Twenty years after the 9/11 attacks, and more than a decade after the Zadroga Act passed, many survivors and responders who were there when the dust plume enveloped Lower Manhattan still don’t know they can receive compensation. They may hesitate to seek compensation that they feel should go to more severely ill individuals. Sadly, doctors are just now diagnosing many with illnesses that resulted from 9/11 toxic exposure. They will diagnose many more in the coming years.
An experienced 9/11 lawyer can help qualified financial workers obtain the compensation they deserve for helping to reopen the nation’s economy after the terrorist attacks. By returning to work, you unknowingly risked your health and your life. Let a September 11 lawyer reward your sacrifice and get you the compensation you deserve.