Among the brave responders who aided in the rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero and in the NYC Exposure Zone in the aftermath of 9/11 were countless law enforcement officers. In addition to the NYPD, officers from other agencies across the state worked tirelessly in the months following the terrorist attacks to help rebuild New York City. Like thousands of other responders, they also continue to suffer from the adverse health effects of inhaling the chemicals in the toxic 9/11 dust cloud.
These law enforcement officers — many of whom are members of the NYS PBA — not only have sustained 9/11-related illnesses, but they may also have lost employment benefits and pensions as a result. The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund awards compensation for the economic and non-economic losses they and their families may have endured.
VCF Compensation for NYS PBA Members
Not to be confused with the NYPD PBA — which is the union representing New York City police officers — members of the Police Benevolent Association of New York State include the New York State Environmental Conservation Police, New York State Park Police, New York State Forest Rangers, and SUNY Police. Like other law enforcement officers, countless NYS PBA members who spent time in the NYC Exposure Zone suffered a wide range of severe health conditions linked to 9/11, including:
- Airway conditions
- Digestive disorders
- Respiratory illnesses
- Musculoskeletal conditions
- Acute traumatic injuries
Unfortunately, many of the conditions suffered by these officers caused them to be physically disabled. As a result, many retired early on disability, losing out on the pension benefits they otherwise would have received.
The VCF awards compensation for economic loss including loss of pension and retirement benefits to eligible NYS PBA members, as well as out-of-pocket medical expenses. Eligible officers may also be entitled to compensation for non-economic loss based on the severity of their illness. However, in order to submit a VCF claim, a responder — or a personal representative in a deceased claim — must first register with the VCF and meet specific eligibility criteria.
The VCF will also require NYS PBA members to provide employment information and specific documentation concerning the pension plan to calculate loss.
Eligibility Criteria for Filing a VCF Claim
In order to submit a claim to the VCF, NYS PBA members must provide proof that they were present in the NYC Exposure Zone in the “immediate aftermath” of the terrorist attacks. This time frame is defined by the Zadroga Act as any time between September 11, 2001 through May 30, 2002.
A responder must also have a 9/11-related health condition that is certified by the WTC Health Program. Although the two entities are separate, they work closely together. While each entity has different presence and eligibility criteria, it’s important to note that a claim for VCF compensation will not be considered unless the 9/11-related health condition has first been certified by the WTC Health Program.
Families who lost loved ones as a result of their 9/11-related health conditions may also be entitled to receive a VCF award in a wrongful death claim if the eligibility criteria are met.
Contact a New York City 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Attorney
If you’re an eligible New York State PBA member who worked in the NYC Exposure Zone in the days and weeks following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, you may be entitled to receive compensation from the VCF. However, it’s not always easy to understand the VCF regulations. It’s best to have a knowledgeable and experienced 9/11 VCF attorney on your side who can assist you with navigating the process and help you secure the maximum 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 over a decade. For a free consultation, contact us today or call 1-800-2-DEARIE.