The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund was established under the Zadroga Act to ensure 9/11 responders and survivors receive the monetary recovery they deserve for their 9/11-related illnesses and injuries. However, it’s important to understand that specific criteria must be met to receive the compensation to which you may be entitled. The VCF’s rules and regulations can be confusing, however, so you might be wondering whether you’re eligible to receive an award.
You may qualify for VCF compensation if you meet the following criteria:
You Were a 9/11 Responder or Survivor
First responders who have suffered a 9/11-related illness or cancer are not the only individuals who are eligible to file claims with the VCF. Responders who arrived at Ground Zero or in the surrounding area days or weeks later to aid in the recovery, debris removal, and cleanup efforts may also be entitled to compensation from the VCF if they developed an eligible health condition. In addition, the VCF issues compensation to survivors who lived, worked, and went to school in the area and were diagnosed with illnesses caused by the toxic dust cloud.
You Were in the NYC Exposure Zone
To receive compensation from the VCF, you must be able to establish that you were in the geographical area defined as the NYC Exposure Zone. This is defined under the Zadroga Act as the area in Lower Manhattan south of Canal Street/East Broadway/ Clinton Street. It also encompasses the debris removal routes and the Fresh Kills landfill in Staten Island. Notably, this area is not the same as the WTC Health Program’s NYC Disaster Area — these two geographical areas have their own distinct boundaries.
You Were Present in the NYC Exposure Zone in the Immediate Aftermath of 9/11
In addition to the requirement of being present in the NYC Exposure Zone, the Zadroga Act sets forth a specific time frame in which you must have been present in the area. A responder or survivor must have been at Ground Zero or the surrounding area in the “immediate aftermath” of the terrorist attacks. This time period is defined by statute as any time between September 11, 2001, and May 30, 2002. There is no minimum amount of time a responder or survivor must have spent in the NYC Exposure Zone to file a VCF claim.
You Have a 9/11 Health Condition Certified by the WTC Health Program
Eligibility for compensation from the VCF requires you to establish you have a 9/11-related illness or injury certified by the WTC Health Program. The Program certifies a wide variety of 9/11 health conditions, including all forms of cancer, various respiratory conditions, and aerodigestive disorders. While the Program has different eligibility criteria from the VCF, the two entities work together for the purpose of ensuring responders and survivors obtain the monetary awards to which they are entitled.
You Registered with the VCF
Before you can file a claim with the VCF, you must first register with the VCF. Filing a claim with the VCF is a separate process from registering to file a claim. While the claim filing deadline is the same for everyone — October 1, 2090 — the registration deadline is based on the individual circumstances of a responder or survivor. Significantly, responders and survivors diagnosed with a 9/11-related illness, cancer, or disease after July 29, 2019, have two years to register with the VCF from the latest date of certification by the WTC Health Program.
Contact an Experienced New York City 9/11 Victim Compensation Attorney
If you’re a responder or survivor with an eligible 9/11-related health condition, you may be eligible to obtain an award from the VCF. However, the VCF’s claim filing procedures can be confusing to navigate, so it’s essential to have a knowledgeable 9/11 VCF attorney on your side to ensure you obtain the compensation to which you’re entitled.
The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund attorneys at The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. have represented claimants and their families in 9/11 VCF claims for more than a decade. For a free consultation, contact us today.