If you’re a responder or survivor who developed a health condition linked to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, you may be entitled to receive a monetary award from The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. However, it’s important to understand that the VCF has strict eligibility criteria that must be met under the Zadroga Act. While it is not always difficult to prove VCF eligibility, specific documentation must be submitted. A knowledgeable 9/11 VCF attorney can help ensure you have the proof you need to obtain compensation for the economic and non-economic losses you suffered in connection with your 9/11-related illness.
These are the criteria that you must meet for VCF eligibility:
You Were Present in the NYC Exposure Zone
To receive monetary compensation from the VCF, you must establish that you were present in the geographical area defined by the Zadroga Act as the NYC Exposure Zone. This area encompasses lower Manhattan, south of Canal Street — as well as the debris removal routes and the Fresh Kills landfill in Staten Island.
Documentation that can prove presence in the NYC Exposure Zone can include the following:
- Employment records for responders who aided in the rescue, recovery, and cleanup efforts
- Employment records for survivors who worked in the area
- Confirmation of tasks performed by responders
- Rent or mortgage documentation for survivors who lived in the area
- Utility bills, lease agreements, tax returns for survivors who lived in the area
- School or daycare records for survivors who were students
Some employers work directly with the VCF to provide proof of presence. However, if documentation of your presence is no longer available, the VCF allows you to provide a Witness Presence Statement to support your claim. This can be attested to by a person with first-hand knowledge of your presence in the NYC Exposure Zone at some point in the time frame defined as the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks.
You Were in the NYC Exposure Zone in the Immediate Aftermath of 9/11
In addition to the requirement of being in the NYC Exposure Zone, you must have been there during a specific time frame. Under the Zadroga Act, a responder or survivor must have been physically present in the NYC Exposure Zone in the “immediate aftermath” of the terrorist attacks. The statute defines this time period as any date between September 11, 2001, and May 30, 2002. There is no minimum amount of time required by the VCF for a victim to be present.
You Were Diagnosed with an Eligible Health Condition
To obtain compensation from the VCF, you must have a 9/11-related health condition that has been certified by the World Trade Center Health Program. The two programs are separate entities but work together to ensure responders and survivors obtain the monetary awards they deserve for the economic impact their 9/11 illness had on their life — and for their pain and suffering. The Program certifies a wide variety of 9/11-related physical health conditions, including aerodigestive disorders, respiratory illnesses, musculoskeletal disorders, and all forms of cancer. Importantly, the VCF will not consider a claim unless a health condition has been certified.
Contact an Experienced 9/11 VCF Attorney
The process associated with filing a VCF claim can be overwhelming. A skillful VCF attorney can guide you through the process to help ensure you obtain the monetary award 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 over a decade. For a free consultation, contact us today.