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september 11 lawyers new york

100% Funeral Cost Reimbursement Available to Families of 9/11 Cancer Victims

By Richard Bernich

Some of the families you serve could be entitled to full reimbursement for a loved one’s funeral and burial costs up to $20,000 or more, according to Troy Rosasco, a partner at the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund law firm of Hansen & Rosasco.

If the decedent worked in downtown Manhattan any time between 9/11 and eight months afterward and has since died of any underlying cancer or breathing problem, the family should explore reimbursement of 100% of all funeral costs from the 9/11 Fund.

The 9/11 Victim Fund is not just for first responders at Ground Zero. It also includes any type of worker, resident or student exposed to toxins in the “9/11 Exposure Area” below Canal Street in lower Manhattan. Less than 5% of eligible families have filed for funeral reimbursement – mainly because they do not know about the program. Funeral Directors can inform potentially eligible families of this valuable benefit by simply asking the family one simple question:

Did your loved one ever work, reside, or go to school in lower Manhattan after 9/11?” 

Rosasco has had clients who have received more than $20,000 in funeral costs from the Fund. Others have received less than $5,000. “It all depends on the extent of the funeral arrangements that the family would like,” he says. “In my experience, the Victim Compensation Fund is very generous with the reimbursement process for the funerals.” Funeral homes are not paid from the fund directly. The family would pay the funeral costs up front and then apply to the Fund for full reimbursement.

9/11 Victim Fund attorneys don’t get paid unless they get the family money from the Fund, and their fees are set by law at 10% of the recovery.

Hansen & Rosasco September 11 World Trade Center Lawyers

Why So Few Get Funeral Reimbursed

The crux of the problem, according to Rosasco, is that not enough funeral directors know about all the types of eligible families. Their loved one did not have to be a fireman or police officer to be eligible. They could have been a secretary, a utility worker, a municipal employee, a financial professional or many other jobs, too numerous to name, that were in lower Manhattan on or after 9/11.

Rosasco has been representing 9/11 victims since October 2001 when he represented the mother of a victim who died on 9/11. He was able to obtain reimbursement for the mother for the funeral bill. Though more than 20 years have passed since 9/11, Rosasco has seen a large increase in cases since, due to people dying because of cancer and other problems related to exposure to 9/11 toxins after 9/11. Scientific studies have now conclusively linked exposure to 9/11 toxins in lower Manhattan to an increase in over 60 types of cancer.

What Funeral Homes Can Do

You never know if you’re dealing with a family who may be entitled to funeral reimbursement unless you ask at least one simple question

Did your loved one work or live in lower Manhattan on or for the eight months after Sept. 11, 2001?

“It may change their decision making on the type of funeral they want if they know they will eventually be reimbursed dollar for dollar,” Rosasco says. “I think that there are many funeral homes now who will tell the family about this Fund and the possibility of reimbursement for the first time,” Rosasco says. In addition to the professional and compassionate services always given by funeral directors, this educational information is a valuable added service.

The most important thing for funeral professionals to know is that this benefit is available – and they should try to relay that to families who may be affected, Rosasco says. “It may be something that funeral directors want to screen for when they are talking about arrangements,” he says. “It is just a one-question thing – it is truly about getting the funeral directors to be able to give this information out because there truly is a lack of knowledge on this issue in the public at large”.

Posted under: 9/11 Cancers, Survivors, World Trade Center Health Program

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