The Difficulty in Securing Proof of Presence for WTC VCF Claims

By Hansen & Rosasco

As experienced 9/11 WTC lawyers, Hansen & Rosasco, LLP has helped thousands of families with the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) claims process. We know all the requirements of each step. One of the difficulties many of our clients have when preparing their VCF claims is gathering “Proof of Presence” documents, properly prepared and detailed witness affidavits, and any other necessary proof. Why do we highly recommend that you register with the 9/11 Fund now? Because registration is the first step before gathering and submitting the required Proof of Presence documentation.

Proof of Presence documents are specific records (e.g., work records, photos, leases, utility bills, and most importantly, properly prepared witness affidavits) which are necessary to show that a 9/11 claimant was present in the NYC crash site “Disaster Area” or “Exposure Zone” between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002.

Are you a survivor suffering from a 9/11-related illness? If you are thinking of filing a claim, be aware that Proof of Presence documents and affidavits will be required in order to have your claim even considered, and in the end, a must for getting compensation for your 9/11 cancer or other related conditions. With the passage of close to two decades since the attacks, many 9/11 claimants are now finding that it’s hard to obtain proper Proof of Presence documentation. This difficulty of getting proper proof is because many employers, property owners/managing agents, and other record keepers do not keep records for more than seven years, and the proof of employment or other presence records have probably since been destroyed. Additionally, first responders and Downtown NYC workers were, on average, 38-years-old at the time of the attacks. Many of these witnesses (now in their late 50s) have retired or moved out of the NYC metro area. Without proper documentation and other Proof of Presence, your 9/11 claim will not be approved. This is why we encourage all 9/11 first responders and survivors to contact our lawyers to register with the Victim Compensation Fund now – even if they are not sick with cancer or otherwise ill.

The Victim Compensation Fund Claim Form Document Checklist states that survivors must submit at least two forms of written Proof of Presence. Proof of Presence documents show that you (or a family member) were present in the NYC crash site “Exposure Zone” between the dates of September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002 – during the time when 9/11 dust and other toxic chemicals surrounded the area and impacted the health and safety of all individuals who were exposed.

You can submit the following types of documents for Proof of Presence:

Employer Records

Letters from your employer at the time which confirms work performed at the site between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002, an official personnel roster with site credentials, workers’ injury reports documenting injury on site, or a pay stub showing dates of work and location at the site can all be used as forms of Proof of Presence documentation.

Proof of Residence

If you were living in the NYC crash site “Exposure Zone” during this time period, documentation such as rent or mortgage receipts, utility bills, proof you were physically present at the site, or a sworn statement from a witness who can attest to your presence at your residence are all accepted forms of Proof of Presence.

Contemporaneous Documents

You can also submit documents which show the locations you were stationed at near the site. These can include work orders, instructions, confirmation of tasks performed, medical records that show treatment as a result of injury that occurred at the site, or school or day care records that confirm enrollment or attendance during the relevant time period.

Sworn and Notarized Affidavits

You can also submit properly prepared and signed affidavits regarding your Proof of Presence from at least two people who can attest that you or a loved one were present at the 9/11 crash site “Exposure Zone,” or a sworn statement complying with 28 U.S.C. 1746.

You do not need to submit Proof of Presence documents with your 9/11 Fund registration if:

  1. You were an active firefighter working for the FDNY on September 11, 2001.
    (The VCF will obtain verification of presence directly from the FDNY.)
  2. You received an award through the original September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (2001-2004).

In most cases, you will need to submit detailed affidavits in addition to the documentation options listed above. We are the experienced WTC lawyers who work exclusively with 9/11 survivors. We have the experience and knowledge to help you through every step of the VCF claims process, and this includes collecting proper Proof of Presence documents; even in the most difficult cases when it seems impossible to gather the required proof of presence.

Even if you have not become ill, our WTC lawyers highly recommend that you contact our 9/11 lawyers to help you properly register with the 9/11 Fund as soon as possible. With the passage of so many years since 9/11, we have seen far too many clients struggle to get the Proof of Presence documents required for a successful VCF claim. Contact us to register today – and protect your rights as a 9/11 first responder or survivor.

Posted under: 9/11 VCF New Claim Form
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