After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, countless responders rushed to Ground Zero to aid in the rescue and recovery efforts. In the weeks and months ahead, they would be exposed to the numerous carcinogens that permeated the air in lower Manhattan. While some would suffer adverse health effects immediately, others might not know they developed an illness linked to the dust cloud until years later. Unfortunately, thousands of responders would also suffer from debilitating musculoskeletal disorders due to lifting heavy materials during the cleanup — and become physically unable to work.
If you were a responder who could no longer work due to a 9/11-related illness or injury, Workers’ Compensation may have provided some monetary relief. But these benefits may not have been enough to cover the full extent of your losses. It’s vital to understand that even if you received Workers’ Compensation benefits, you might still be entitled to file a claim with the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.
Workers Compensation Benefits for 9/11 Responders
Generally, injured workers have two years to file for Workers’ Compensation benefits from the date of their accident. However, legislation was passed allowing those who participated in the rescue, recovery, and cleanup efforts the opportunity to register their service with the New York Workers’ Compensation Board up until September 11, 2022.
Registering your service with the Workers’ Compensation Board doesn’t require you to file a claim, but preserves your right to access benefits in the future. Those who were present at Ground Zero, the Fresh Kills landfill, the piers, or the morgues between September 11, 2001 and September 12, 2002 are eligible to file a registration of participation.
By filing for Workers’ Compensation benefits in connection with your 9/11-related illness or injuries, you may have recovered a portion of your lost wages, and some of your medical expenses may have been covered. Importantly, your recovery might not be solely limited to the benefits Workers’ Compensation provided. If you meet the eligibility criteria, you may also be entitled to receive an award from the VCF.
Are You Entitled to an Award from the VCF if You Filed for Workers’ Compensation?
Being diagnosed with a 9/11-related health condition can have a devastating effect on you and your family. Unfortunately, the benefits provided by Workers’ Compensation do not cover all of your economic losses — or any of your non-economic losses. If you have an eligible 9/11-related health condition, you may be able to receive an award from the VCF to compensate you for the following:
- Unreimbursed medical expenses
- Out-of-pocket medical expenses
- Lost earnings and benefits
- Replacement services loss
- Pain and suffering
Workers’ Compensation does not provide monetary recovery for the emotional anguish you’ve endured in connection with your 9/11 illness or cancer. Significantly, the VCF recognizes the pain and suffering you’ve experienced and awards non-economic loss up to $90,000 for non-cancer conditions and $250,000 for cancer conditions.
It’s critical to be aware that registering with the VCF, Workers’ Compensation, and the WTC Health Program are all completely separate processes. Each are entirely separate entities that have different criteria and deadlines associated with them. Enrollment in the WTC Health Program is not required to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits, but the program must certify your 9/11 health condition in order for you to submit a claim to the VCF.
Contact a New York City 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Attorney
If you filed a Workers’ Compensation claim in connection with your 9/11-related health condition, you may still be eligible to receive an award from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. However, the process of filing a claim with the VCF can be confusing and overwhelming. A knowledgeable VCF attorney can assist you with obtaining the maximum compensation you deserve.
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 over a decade. For a free consultation, contact us today.