If you are a 9/11 survivor or responder, you may be aware that the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund provides monetary awards to those who have been diagnosed with a 9/11-related health condition. However, you may not know the eligibility criteria or whether you are entitled to compensation. Notably, there are three primary criteria that must be met to qualify for a VCF award: timely registration, a 9/11-related health condition, and proof of presence in the NYC Exposure Zone in the applicable time frame.
You Register by the Applicable Deadline
Registering is one of the first things you must do to ensure you will qualify for the compensation you deserve from the VCF. While the earliest registration deadline was July 29, 2021, responders and survivors can still register within two years after being diagnosed with a 9/11-related health condition. It’s important not to confuse the process of registration with filing a claim — responders and survivors have until October 1, 2090, to submit a claim to the VCF.
You Have a 9/11-Related Health Condition
The second criterion that you must satisfy to obtain VCF compensation is demonstrating that you have a 9/11-related health condition. However, your condition must first be certified by the WTC Health Program in order to receive an award. While the WTC Health Program and the VCF are separate entities, they work together for the purpose of ensuring responders and survivors obtain the recovery to which they are entitled.
The WTC Health Program recognizes a wide variety of health conditions linked to the toxic dust cloud that covered lower Manhattan following September 11, 2001 — and the physical work carried out in connection with the rescue, recovery, and cleanup efforts. For instance, the Program recognizes all types of cancer, musculoskeletal disorders, acute traumatic injuries, and airway and digestive disorders. The VCF compensates certified non-cancer conditions anywhere from $10,000 to $90,000. Cancer conditions can be compensated in an amount of up to $250,000.
You Satisfy the Criteria for Presence
A 9/11 responder or survivor must establish that they were present in the area designated the NYC Exposure Zone in the “immediate aftermath” of September 11, 2001, to receive a VCF award. This is defined under the Zadroga Act as the geographical area encompassing Ground Zero and any part of Manhattan south of Canal Street. It also includes the routes of debris removal, the barges, and the Fresh Kills landfill.
The “immediate aftermath” of the 9/11 terrorist attacks is specified by the statute as the time frame between September 11, 2001, and May 30, 2002. In other words, a responder would need to establish through documentation that they performed tasks related to the rescue, recovery, or debris cleanup within that time frame in that specific area. Similarly, a survivor would be required to submit documentation proving that they lived, went to school, or worked in the area during that time period.
Contact an Experienced 9/11 VCF Attorney
If you are a responder or survivor, you may be entitled to a monetary award from the VCF for your 9/11-related illness or health condition. However, the process of filing a VCF claim can be complicated, so it’s essential to have an experienced VCF attorney who can help you secure the maximum compensation you deserve. The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund attorneys at The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. have represented VCF claimants and their families for over a decade. For a free consultation, contact us today.