9/11 volunteers who are collecting benefits under the World Trade Center Volunteer Fund through the Workers’ Compensation Board are permitted to apply to the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) under the Zadroga Act. The World Trade Center Volunteer Fund was set up back in 2002 to provide workers’ compensation benefits to volunteers that incurred lost wages and suffered medical problems due to their volunteer time at Ground Zero.
Normally a volunteer in any capacity would not be able to collect workers’ compensation benefits, but a unique exception was made for volunteers who participated in rescue, recovery and clean up efforts during 9/11 and the aftermath. 9/11 volunteers may be collecting benefits under the World Trade Center Volunteer Fund for illnesses and injuries that are not covered under the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.
The criteria for these volunteers to be eligible to apply to the VCF are the same as any other applicant. Anyone who wishes to file a claim must be diagnosed by a doctor with at least one illness that is covered under the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. The following list shows some of the illnesses that the 9/11 Victim Compensaton Fund recognizes. The VCF website provides a more in depth view of other illnesses covered.
• Interstitial lung diseases
• Reactive Airways Dysfunction Syndrome (RADS)
• Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
• Chronic rhino sinusitis
• Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disorder (GERD)
• Sleep apnea exacerbated by or related to the above conditions.
• Certain types of cancer
If you suffer from any of the illnesses listed above and have not yet sought treatment, then you should apply to the World Trade Center Health program (WTCHP). The World Trade Center Health Program provides free health care and the doctors are experienced in 9/11 related illnesses. Being treated regularly by the WTCHP is be beneficial to anyone planning to file a 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Claim as the VCF highly values the expertise of the WTCHP doctors.
Please keep in mind that the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund registration deadline of October 3, 2013 is fast approaching. Whether or not you have been diagnosed with a 9/11 related illness, you should still register with the VCF. If you register with the VCF before the deadline, you will still be able to file a claim should you become ill in the future. Please note, if you have an attorney working with you on your 9/11 claim, you should already be registered. Contact your attorney verify your registration.
If you need more information about registering or filing a claim with the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, feel free to call, click the chat button or request to be contacted at the top of this page.
Angela Luongo, a Paralegal with Turley, Hansen & Partners contributed to the writing of this post.