VCF Eligibility for Downtown Manhattan Students
VCF Compensation Available for 9/11 StudentsThere are at least 22 schools located in the 9/11 Disaster Area. Many students exposed to the 9/11 toxic dust are now suffering from the same severe illnesses as first responders resulting from that exposure. Students in lower Manhattan during the 2001-2002 school year are eligible for the same compensation as the 9/11 first responders through the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). Most importantly, since the 9/11 VCF was fully funded in 2019, compensation paid to the downtown students (and downtown residents and area workers) does NOT take away or reduce compensation to the first responders.
An experienced 9/11 benefits attorney can explain this program to you and even provide services to assist you with your claim.
What Was Done for Area Students in the Years Following 9/11?
An estimated 25,000 children lived or attended school in Lower Manhattan on 9/11. The 9/11 Health Registry reported that the New York City Board of Education met within hours of the disaster to begin determining how to meet the needs of a traumatized student population.
In the first days after the terrorist attack, the Board garnered a $4 million federal grant to provide expanded mental health services for students and staff at area schools. Additional funding was provided over several years, allowing more students and teachers to access these services.
Unfortunately, the initial trauma did not end that day with many students having gotten sick in the years since then due to the toxic exposure they experienced, including breathing and digestive illnesses, and even many premature cancers.
How Many Schools in the Lower Manhattan Exposure Zone?
On 9/11 , within this densely packed area of lower Manhattan Area, there were at least 22 schools and universities, including:
- PS1 Alfred E. Smith
- PS 89 Liberty
- PS 126 Jacob August Ruis
- PS 150 TriBeCa Learning Center
- PS 234 Independence School
- PS/IS 276 Battery Park City School
- PS 397 Spruce Street School
- IS 289 Hudson River Middle School
- Borough of Manhattan Community College
- Church Street School for Music and Art
- German School Manhattan
- High School of Economics & Finance
- Leadership & Public Service High School
- Leman Manhattan Preparatory School
- Montessori School Manhattan
- New York Law School
- PACE High School
- Pace University
- School for Young Performers
- Stuyvesant High School
- TriBeCa Community School
Individuals who attended any of these schools on 9/11 or between September 11, 2001, and May 30, 2002, who were diagnosed with a covered 9/11-related medical condition can seek compensation for wage loss and pain and suffering associated with their illness.
As More Survivors Become Ill, VCF Claims Increase
After the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act reauthorized the VCF, fewer than two dozen claims were filed in the first two years by students, teachers, area residents, and others living, working, or visiting the area on the day of the attack.
Much of this was because many survivors—while aware that there was compensation available for first responders—did not know that there was also funding available for them. Additionally, everal people did not yet have a diagnosis that had resulted in a claim for pain and suffering and potential economic losses such as out-of-pocket medical expenses or even lost earnings.
In 2013, more than 500 survivors (defined as anyone who was not a first responder – the downtown area students, residents, and area workers) filed VCF claims. As awareness has grown, the numbers have continued to increase every year since then, except in 2020. Since 2018, survivors have filed more claims than responders, and as of the end of 2021, more than 30,000 survivors sought compensation through the program.
What types of Illnesses Compensated by the VCF?
To obtain funding from the VCF, student claimants must prove that they were in the area on or shortly after 9/11 and also suffering from a 9/11-related illness. The illnesses covered by the program are those listed by the WTC Health Program, another federal program that provides medical monitoring and treatment of certified 9/11 conditions. The VCF uses the WTC Health Program’s certification of conditions to satisfy the medical requirement for receiving compensation.
The WTC Health Program’s list of covered conditions includes more than 60 types of cancer, with many of the cancers impacting sufferers’ respiratory, digestive, urinary, or reproductive systems. Several other non-cancerous conditions can be certified as 9/11-related and compensated by the VCF, including the lungs and airways.
Nearly half of the VCF claimants have cancer as one of their eligible conditions. To date, the VCF has received claims from every state in the nation and Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and 31 foreign countries. Since the beginning of the program, the VCF has provided nearly $9 billion in compensation for over 40,000 people. An estimated 400,000 survivors were living, working, or attending school in the exposure zone—meaning that fewer than 10 percent of the individuals exposed to the toxic dust plume have applied for and received compensation.
How a Lawyer Can Help With Your VCF Claim?
If you were a student in Lower Manhattan during the 2001-2002 school year, an experienced legal team can provide services to assist you with obtaining compensation through the VCF, such as:
- Applying for the WTC Health Program. While this program is distinctly different from the VCF, the certification of 9/11-related conditions is necessary to be eligible to file a VCF claim. Additionally, many of our clients benefit significantly from the services provided by the WTC Health Program. We have a team of paralegals who spend their work time moving these applications along, mainly when they involve individuals suffering from terminal illnesses.
- Registering you with the VCF within two years of the date on which your 9/11-related medical condition was certified. Registration is not the same as filing a claim. However, it is required to reserve your right to file a claim before October 2090.
- Gathering the documents you need to clear the VCF’s administrative review and provide all of the information necessary for your claim’s substantive review. When VCF administrators find that required information is missing from a claim during the administrative review, they will place your claim in inactive status until those documents are received. We ensure that our client’s claims are not missing information that will delay the process.
- Documentation required for your claim includes information proving your exposure, wage loss, out-of-pocket expenses incurred due to your injury, death certificates, funeral expense records for VCF wrongful death claims, etc.
- Expediting your claim if you face extreme financial hardship or your condition is terminal.
- Assisting you in appealing your claim if you are not satisfied with the decision
- Exploring other avenues for assistance, such as state, local, and federal programs. We help our clients to determine if they qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits and if so, we apply for those benefits for them.
Compensation for 9/11 Students
If you were a student on or after 9/11, or have a family member who was, and have become ill due to exposure to asbestos and other dust and toxins that was in the air, please call our 9/11 lawyers at 855-201-7087 or fill out a contact form here to get your FREE claim evaluation.
We will make sure you receive the VCF cancer payouts and other awards that you deserve.
225 Broadway, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10007
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“I would like to say thank you for the superior customer service that I received from the minute I sat down for my consultation regarding my 911 Victim Compensation Fund case I initially met with the Mr. Hansen who is awesome. I was also lucky to met Mr. Rosasco. They treated me like family and placed me in the good hands of Ms. Sidrah Syed,Esq. Ms. Syed is extremely dedicated , knowledgeable and kept me updated through each step of the process. I am extremely please on how my case handled and very lucky to have her working on my behalf. God Bless you and your law firm for all that you have done for 911 Survivors.” -Jeff F.
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