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How do I prove that I was in the “NYC Exposure Zone” in Downtown Manhattan (south of Canal Street) to be eligible for the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF)?

By Hansen & Rosasco

Now, 19 years since September 11, 2001, the most difficult hurdle to overcome is to prove eligibility for the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). You must have proof to support the strict evidence requirements that you were in the “NYC Exposure Zone.” This strict evidence is officially known as “Proof of Presence.” Overcoming difficulties in obtaining sufficient evidence, as detailed below, is one of many reasons that claimants seek help from experienced 9/11 lawyers. Over 80% of all 9/11 claimants are represented by attorneys.

In general, the most common pieces of evidence used today (but often difficult to obtain) are written affidavits from witnesses, who swear or declare under penalty of perjury, that they “saw” you at the 9/11 crash site zone. You need to submit at least two witness statements.

Rupa Bhattacharyya, the Special Master who runs the 9/11 Victim’s Compensation Fund, has determined that affidavits will serve as acceptable proof only if the VCF determines that such affidavits meet the strict requirements of the Fund. After you submit your witness statements, the Department of Justice will independently verify the truth and accuracy of any witness statement submitted to the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.

The VCF also requires a level of painstaking detail in the two sworn witness affidavits, a process that many find challenging – especially with witnesses being required to explain details of what happened 19 years ago. This is why Hansen & Rosasco, LLP employs six full-time professionals whose sole duties are to contact “presence” witnesses, conduct interviews, and help the witnesses prepare detailed written affidavits. This legal work is to ensure that our client’s VCF claims are supported by the level of proof required for a successful award.

Witnesses are often called by the 9/11 Victim’s Compensation Fund when they need to understand an inconsistency, clarify statements, or to simply verify information contained in the affidavit. The failure to provide two detailed witness affidavits will often result in the VCF sending a “Missing Information” letter to a 9/11 claimant. This can lead to the VCF claim being denied if a proper and timely written response is not submitted to the VCF to resolve any issues. One important legal service that is provided by the attorneys at Hansen & Rosasco, LLP is to first prevent the VCF from sending a “Missing Information” letter and then, if that is unavoidable (such as if the VCF can’t reach a witness), to resolve any issues with the VCF to ensure that a claim is not denied.

The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund is on heightened guard for potential fraud in the claim process. This is why any statements are taken under the penalty of perjury. This is also why the 9/11 lawyers and staff at Hansen & Rosasco, LLP takes the preparation of accurate witness statements so seriously. It protects both the witness and our client.


Call Hansen & Rosasco, LLP today at 1-212-697-3701 to learn your rights to compensation from the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. A member of our highly qualified staff is ready to give you help and guidance in filing claims with the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and the World Trade Center Health Program.

Posted under: 9/11 Lawyer Representation, 9/11 Victim Compensation, 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Appeals, 9/11 WTC Compensation Fund Lawyer, Proof of Presence, The Victims' Compensation Fund, Victim Compensation Fund Claim Procedures, Who is eligible for compensation and health benefits?, Zadroga 9/11 Eligibility, Zadroga Act Compensation
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