One of the requirements of obtaining a monetary award from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund is proving presence in the NYC Exposure Zone. Responders and survivors must submit sufficient proof of presence documentation when they file a claim to be eligible for compensation. While it can sometimes be confusing to understand what type of documents you should provide, the VCF has recently released new guidance concerning what constitutes definitive proof of presence based on why you were in the NYC Exposure Zone.
What Is the Best Proof of Presence Documentation to Submit with Your Claim?
The presence documentation you should submit with your claim varies based on why you were there. Importantly, certain entities provide information directly to the VCF, and a responder would not need to submit anything. For example, if you were a member of the FDNY, Arlington County Fire Department, or City of Albany Fire Department, you do not need to submit presence documentation. In addition, if you were part of CWA Local 1101 or working for ConEd, you are not required to submit any documentation, as the VCF will obtain it from the entity.
However, those who were present in the area on the following bases should take note of the corresponding presence documentation:
- FBI — Must obtain a presence verification letter. This can be done by requesting a “proof of presence letter” from the FBI.
- New York State Police — A presence verification letter is required. Responders should contact the NYSP Medical Monitoring Unit to request a letter documenting the dates and locations of deployment.
- U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement — Must submit a presence verification letter. This can be requested by contacting the ICE 9/11 Program Benefits Office.
- Salvation Army — Proof of presence does not need to be submitted if you contact the VCF and request that your Salvation Army badge number be added to your claim.
- TWU Local 100 — Members of TWU Local 100 must submit union documents showing the location and date worked.
- Local 78 — A certified Local 78 member work history form must be submitted.
- CWA other than Local 1101 — A WTC recovery/cleanup effort exposure information form must be provided.
- JP Morgan Chase — You must contact JP Morgan Chase and request that they send a work location history letter directly to the VCF.
- Bank of America (including Merrill Lynch) — You should contact the BOA Service Center and request a “9/11 Work Location History Letter” to be sent to the VCF.
- Other employers — The VCF third-party verification form must be completed by an authorized employer representative and sent directly to the VCF.
- Resident of NYC public housing — Must provide salary declarations or affidavits of income for public housing dated between 9/11/2001 and 5/30/2002.
- High school or college student — Must submit an official transcript.
The VCF requires that any unofficial school or union records be certified or verified when the entity does not submit the document directly to the VCF. If you have the representation of an attorney, the VCF will accept a verification letter from the attorney attesting that 1) the presence document is a true and unaltered copy, and 2) that the attorney received it directly from the school or union. The attorney must also sign the letter.
VCF Compensation for Responders and Survivors
In addition to providing proof of presence documentation, responders and survivors must also have been diagnosed with a 9/11-related disease or illness to be eligible for VCF compensation. The condition must also have been certified by the WTC Health Program. The Program recognizes various diseases linked to the 9/11 dust cloud, including respiratory illnesses, aerodigestive disorders, and cancer.
If the eligibility criteria are met — and the victim registers with the VCF in a timely manner — the VCF may issue a non-economic award between $10,000 and $90,000 for a non-cancer condition and up to $250,000 for cancer. Economic losses are calculated separately, including monetary compensation for lost earnings and benefits, unreimbursed medical expenses, out-of-pocket costs, and replacement services loss.
Contact an Experienced 9/11 VCF Attorney
If you are a responder or survivor with a 9/11-related health condition, you may be able to secure a monetary award from the VCF. However, it’s vital to have a knowledgeable VCF attorney who can help you obtain 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.