VCF Eligibility for Downtown Manhattan Teachers
VCF Compensation for Those Who Were Teaching on 9/11
The teachers working at schools within the New York City exposure zone—a 1.5-mile radius around Ground Zero—were breathing in the toxic dust from the towers’ collapse. In the months that followed, teachers returned to the classroom and attempted to pull their students’ thoughts back to learning. Many remember this difficult task in light of the severe impacts suffered in the community.
Many students and even teachers did not have phone service for months. Businesses were closing as the area’s economy also fell victim to the attacks. There was a layer of pale dust covering everything. In the years since, many teachers have become sick with cancer and other severe conditions.
If you were a teacher near Ground Zero diagnosed with an illness that you suspect is related to 9/11 toxic exposure while in Lower Manhattan any time during the 2001-2002 school year, you can seek compensation for pain and suffering and any economic losses (medical expenses, lost income) from the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) for Teacher.
Our Zadroga Act lawyers at Hansen & Rosasco, LLP have represented many teachers who did not even know that they had 9/11 Fund eligibility for VCF cancer payouts or 9/11 compensation of any kind.
The Illnesses That 9/11 Teachers Have Experienced Since 9/11
More than 500,000 people were in the New York City exposure zone when the towers collapsed on September 11, 2001, including teachers, students, residents, and others. This collective group of individuals in the area but not involved in the rescue and recovery operations are called survivors. They have not fared any better from toxic exposure than the responders have. Instead, many have been diagnosed with 9/11-related illnesses, and over 67,000 have died in the 20 years since that exposure.
One of the most common complaints in the early days after the attack from those exposed to the toxic dust was a chronic cough. As years progressed, those coughs turned into life-altering respiratory diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Others suffered impacts to their upper airways, including chronic rhinosinusitis.
As the years passed, cancers began to appear, including those involving the blood and lymphoid tissues and mesothelioma, which is a particularly deadly type of cancer that affects the lining of most of the internal organs.
To date, researchers have discovered at least 68 types of cancer and a couple dozen other severe health conditions that have been linked to toxic dust exposure in Lower Manhattan.
The Federal Government Addresses the Need for Long-Term Assistance Among Survivors
In the days following the terror attack, Congress approved the funding of the original VCF, which was intended to provide compensation for those most impacted by the 9/11 terror attacks. Many of these early claimants were family members of those who died on the planes or in the towers. The original VCF closed in 2004.
In early 2011, President Barack Obama signed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act into law. This law reauthorized the VCF created the World Trade Center Health Program, which provides health care monitoring and medical treatment of 9/11-related illnesses.
The WTC Health Program also provides a certification of these illnesses, used for many VCF claimants to show eligibility for obtaining compensation for their disease. In 2019, the VCF was permanently authorized through The Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund Act. Because of this permanent authorization, survivors and responders have until October 2090 to file a VCF claim.
Are All New York City Teachers Eligible to Seek
Compensation Through the Fund?
No. To seek compensation through the VCF, you must be able to show:
- You were present in the Lower Manhattan exposure zone on September 11, 2001 or any time between 9/11 and May 30, 2002. The exposure zone includes Lower Manhattan, south of Canal Street from the Hudson River to the intersection of Canal Street and East Broadway; north on East Broadway to Clinton Street and east on Clinton Street to the East River.
- You suffered an illness that related to breathing, digestion, or a cancer
- You are not a participant in an active lawsuit seeking compensation for your 9/11-related illness, and you agree not to participate in such a lawsuit, unless it is against sponsors of terrorism, as covered by the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), or it regards compensation owed to you by a collateral source, such your pension or worker’s compensation program
How Much Compensation is Available for VCF-Eligible 9/11 Teachers?
Teachers exposed to the toxic 9/11 dust near Ground Zero can seek compensation for wage loss that resulted from their injury, including lost earning capacity if their illness prevents them from working. Additionally, they can seek compensation for the pain and suffering they experienced due to their condition.
Pain and suffering damages are capped so that the maximum amount of pain and suffering compensation that a claimant with cancer can receive is $250,000. A claimant can receive the total amount with a non-cancerous condition is $90,000. However, claimants can seek compensation for more than one covered condition. Lost earnings are capped at $200,000 per year.
Do Teachers Need an Attorney to File a Claim?
An attorney is not required to file a VCF claim. However, having the experience of an attorney can make the process a lot easier to endure, as the attorney can provide assistance that includes:
- Helping you gather the documents necessary to prove you were present in the exposure zone during the eligible time frame (including contacting witnesses and preparing affidavits, requesting and obtaining important other “proof of presence” documents and records) and help prove that you are suffering a 9/11-related medical condition.
- Helping you appeal an unfavorable decision by the VCF. You can file an appeal within 30 days of receiving your notice of the VCF’s decision on your claim. Your attorney will help you gather the documents and information necessary for the VCF to reconsider its decision and can represent your claim at an administrative hearing. Claims that only involve pain and suffering damages do not permit appeals.
- Filing an addendum to your claim to reflect a newly diagnosed condition or change in circumstances that could impact the amount of your award.
- You can explore other benefit programs from which you can seek assistance, including the WTC Health Program and state, local, or federal programs. One common source of compensation that we assist our clients in seeking is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
Compensation for Those Who Were Teaching on
If you were a teacher or professor 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 Zadroga Act lawyers at 855-201-3630 or fill out a contact form here to get your FREE claim review.
We will file your VCF claim and make sure you receive maximum 9/11 compensation for the effects that the attacks have had on your health and life.
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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