If you are a 9/11 responder or survivor who was present at Ground Zero or the surrounding area in the immediate aftermath of September 11, 2001, you may be entitled to file a claim with the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. However, it’s important to understand that you do not need to reside in New York to file a VCF claim or receive healthcare from the WTC Health Program. Responders and survivors who have moved out of state may also be entitled to an award from the VCF and medical monitoring and treatment from the Program.
Filing a VCF Claim as an Out-of-State Responder or Survivor
Many 9/11 survivors and responders, including police officers, firefighters, construction workers, EMTs, and other volunteers who aided in the recovery efforts, have moved out of state over the last two decades. Many of these responders have developed various health conditions linked to the toxic dust cloud, such as aerodigestive disorders, respiratory conditions, and many different types of cancer. Significantly, the VCF is not limited to responders who reside in New York — those who have relocated and meet the necessary criteria may also be eligible to obtain compensation for the economic and non-economic losses they suffered in connection with their 9/11-related illnesses.
To file a VCF claim, a responder or survivor must meet the following eligibility criteria:
- They must have been present in the NYC Exposure Zone
- They must have been present in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, between September 11, 2001, and May 30, 2002
- They must have 9/11-related health condition certified by the WTC Health Program
While establishing presence in the NYC Exposure Zone is a prerequisite to filing a VCF claim, obtaining proof of presence can often be challenging for out-of-state responders and survivors. Fortunately, out-of-state responders and survivors may submit a variety of documents to establish presence, depending upon the reason they were in the area. For instance, a survivor might submit rent or mortgage receipts, school records, or other contemporaneous documents showing their location. Responders may use employment records, time sheets, overtime reports, police memo books, or other documentation specific to their circumstances.
Can You Obtain Medical Treatment from the WTC Health Program If You Live Outside New York?
In addition to being entitled to VCF compensation, eligible out-of-state responders and survivors who have been diagnosed with a 9/11-related illness or health condition can also receive medical treatment and monitoring from the WTC Health Program. In fact, they must obtain certification from the Program for their health condition in order to be able to file a VCF claim. Although the two entities are separate, they work together for the purpose of ensuring responders and survivors obtain the compensation they deserve.
Those who live outside New York State can access the services provided by the WTC Health Program through the Nationwide Provider Network. Out-of-state responders and survivors can access pharmacy benefits provided through Express Scripts, a national pharmacy that works closely with the Network. There is also a mail-in program in place that allows those who have been diagnosed with 9/11 health conditions to have their prescriptions delivered directly to their homes.
Contact an Experienced New York City 9/11 Victim Compensation Attorney
If you’re an out-of-state responder or survivor with an eligible 9/11-related health condition, you may be eligible to obtain an award from the VCF and receive medical treatment from the WTC Health Program. However, the VCF’s rules and procedures can be confusing to navigate, and it’s essential to have an experienced 9/11 VCF attorney on your side to ensure you secure 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.