In the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a toxic dust cloud covered lower Manhattan for months. Due to inhaling the carcinogens and chemicals in the air at Ground Zero and the surrounding area, thousands of 9/11 responders and survivors continue to develop various respiratory illnesses, lung diseases, cancers, and other chronic health conditions.
To be eligible for compensation from the VCF for a 9/11-related health condition, responders and survivors must be able to prove that they were in the NYC Exposure Zone or at another 9/11 crash site. The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has helped thousands of responders and survivors demonstrate their presence in the VCF Exposure Zone and recover the compensation they deserve.
Where is the VCF Exposure Zone?
The VCF defines the NYC Exposure Zone as any location in Manhattan, south of Canal Street or “along the routes of debris removal,” including barges, bus depots, and the Fresh Kills landfill in Staten Island.
It’s important to understand that the VCF Exposure Zone is not the same as the area the WTC Health Program defines as the “NYC Disaster Area.” To qualify for medical monitoring and treatment for a 9/11-related health condition by the WTC Health Program, a responder or survivor must have been present in any area of Manhattan South of Houston Street or any part of Brooklyn within 1.5 miles of Ground Zero.
VCF Exposure Zone Time Frame
A responder or survivor must have been present in the NYC Exposure Zone in the “immediate aftermath” of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to be eligible for VCF compensation — the immediate aftermath is defined under the Zadroga Act as September 11, 2001 through May 30, 2002. There is no requirement concerning the minimum amount of time that an individual must have been spent in the NYC Exposure Zone to submit a claim.
Proving Presence in the NYC Exposure Zone
The VCF requires that eligible responders and survivors prove presence in the NYC Exposure Zone when submitting a claim. Presence may be demonstrated by providing the VCF with certain documents such as:
● Verification from an employer
● Sworn affidavits
● School records
● A rental agreement or mortgage receipts
● Utility bills
● Personnel roster
● Medical documentation
● A detailed personal statement
The VCF may also consider other documents on a case-specific basis. Importantly, any documents submitted to prove presence in the VCF Exposure Zone will only be considered if they include a specific date and location. If records have been lost or are no longer available, the VCF allows presence to be established through sworn affidavits — a minimum of two must be submitted, signed by individuals who can attest that the responder or survivor was there.
Some employers work directly with the VCF to provide information to prove presence, including the FDNY, NYC Department of Sanitation, New York State National Guard, New York State Police, FBI, District Council 37, Lucent Technologies, Verizon, American Red Cross, BlueCross BlueShield, and Communications Workers of America.
The NYPD does not provide the VCF with direct access to records. However, the VCF accepts a wide range of documentation from members of the NYPD who were in the NYC Exposure Zone, such as memo books, overtime reports, detail roster assignment sheets, a WTC Notice of Participation, and an NYPD Rescue Detail badge.
Contact a New York City 9/11 VCF Attorney
If you’re a responder or survivor who has been diagnosed with an eligible 9/11-related health condition, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your injury or illness from the VCF. An experienced 9/11 VCF attorney can assist you with navigating the VCF regulations and help ensure that you provide sufficient proof of presence in the VCF Exposure Zone to avoid your claim being delayed or denied. The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has represented 9/11 responders, survivors, and their families in their 9/11 VCF claims for over a decade. Contact us for a consultation.