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Are 9/11 Corrections Officers Eligible for VCF Compensation?

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In the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks, more than 1,000 New York City Correction Department uniformed officers and civilian staffers aided in the rescue, recovery, and cleanup efforts at Ground Zero and lower Manhattan. They built a makeshift morgue outside Bellevue Hospital, sifted through the debris at the Fresh Kills landfill, processed the remains of victims, and established an operational communications system. Many even volunteered after their jail shifts to help the Medical Examiner’s Officer identify victims.

Sadly, like countless other responders who inhaled the toxins in the NYC Exposure Zone, many corrections officers who spent time there developed serious illnesses, cancers, and diseases. The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund recognizes the impact a 9/11 health condition can have on a correction officer and ensures those who meet the eligibility criteria receive the monetary award they deserve.

VCF Eligibility Criteria for 9/11 Corrections Officers

In order to be entitled to compensation from the VCF, specific eligibility requirements must be met regarding location, presence, and health certification. 9/11 responders, including corrections officers, must have:

  • Obtained certification from the WTC Health Program for a 9/11-related health condition
  • Aided in the rescue, recovery, and cleanup efforts at Ground Zero or a location within the NYC Exposure Zone
  • Carried out their duties in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks, between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002

The area the VCF defines as the NYC Exposure Zone encompasses the area in lower Manhattan south of Canal Street, including Ground Zero, the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island, the barges, and along the debris route. Critically, the VCF’s location criteria are distinct from the WTC Health Program’s presence requirements to qualify for health monitoring and treatment.

VCF Compensation for 9/11 Corrections Officers

Exposure to the toxins in the 9/11 dust cloud caused 9/11 corrections officers to develop various illnesses, including many different types of cancer, digestive disorders, airway conditions, respiratory diseases, musculoskeletal conditions, and acute traumatic injuries. Depending on the diagnosis, a 9/11 health condition can be severe and significantly impact a responder’s daily life, livelihood, and family. In some cases, these conditions might even be physically debilitating.

The VCF awards compensation to Department of Correction uniformed officers and civilian staffers who meet the eligibility criteria and have suffered economic and non-economic losses as a result of an illness linked to the toxic dust cloud. Economic losses can include loss of earnings, loss of pension or retirement benefits, out-of-pocket medical costs, and any other financial damages in connection with a responder’s 9/11-related health condition.

Non-economic losses are meant to cover the pain and suffering experienced due to a 9/11 disease. Pursuant to the Zadroga Act, the maximum pain and suffering award for a non-cancer is $90,000, based on the severity of the condition. A cancer condition may be awarded up to $250,000.

Families who have lost loved ones to a 9/11 cancer or illness may also be entitled to monetary recovery for their economic and non-economic losses if the eligibility criteria are met.  

Contact an Experienced 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Attorney

If you were a New York Department of Correction uniformed officer or civilian staffer who worked at Ground Zero, at the Fresh Kills landfill, or along the debris route in the weeks and months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, you may be entitled to compensation from the VCF. However, the VCF’s regulations are often confusing, and filing a claim can be frustrating. It’s best to have a knowledgeable 9/11 VCF attorney by your side who can guide you through the process and ensure you obtain the maximum compensation available.  

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.

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