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What is Definitive Proof of Presence?

Proof of Presence

Establishing presence in the NYC Exposure Zone is necessary to obtain compensation from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. Eligible responders and survivors must be prepared to submit proof of presence in the form of documentation when they file a claim in order to receive a monetary award from the VCF. Importantly, the VCF works with many unions, employers, and other entities to help ensure claimants are able to obtain the documents they need to show where they were and when.

What Evidence of Presence Do You Need to Submit with Your Claim?

The VCF recently updated its guidance concerning what it considers definitive proof of presence. The documentation you will need to submit with your VCF claim will depend upon why you were in the NYC Exposure Zone. However, depending on the reason you were there, you may not need to submit any documentation. The VCF obtains certain proof of presence directly from certain employers and entities, including the FDNY, Arlington County Fire Department, City of Albany Fire Department, Consolidated Edison, CWA Local 1101, the Salvation Army, and the New York City Department of Sanitation.

The other bases for presence and the evidence needed include the following:

  • FBI — Presence Verification Letter
  • New York State Police — Presence Verification Letter
  • US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) — Presence Verification Letter
  • TWI Local 100 — Union documents showing the location and dates worked
  • Local 78 — Certified Local 78 Member Work History Form
  • CWA other than Local 1101 — WTC Recovery/Cleanup Effort Exposure Information Form
  • Other Unions — Certified work history that shows the dates and locations worked
  • JP Morgan Chase — Work location history letter
  • Bank of America (including Merrill Lynch and other predecessors) — 9/11 work location history letter
  • New York State Department of Environmental Conservation — VCF Third Party Verification Form completed by an authorized employer representative
  • Other employers — a Third Party Verification Form completed by an authorized employer representative

Those who qualify as survivors must also submit specific presence documentation. Residents living in NYC public housing must submit salary declarations or affidavits of income for public housing between September 11, 2001, and May 30, 2002. High school and college students can submit an official transcript. Faculty and staff of an academic institution can submit a letter of employment.

Volunteers who signed in at Trinity Church should submit a written statement with their claims noting specifically that they were signed in at the church while volunteering. The statement should also list the specific dates signed in while volunteering, the name of the volunteer group, and a description of the type of work performed as a volunteer.

Understanding the Requirements for Certified and Verified Documents

The VCF requires that unofficial school transcripts, school records, and union records be verified or certified in the event they are not submitted directly to the VCF by the entity. The VCF will accept a verification letter from your attorney attesting that a document that has been uploaded is a true and unaltered copy of any document received directly by them from the school or union. In such cases, the verification letter must state that the document is a true, unaltered copy and that the law office received the document directly. It must also be signed by an attorney, not anyone else in the office, who attests that the statements are true. An attorney cannot verify a document provided to them by the claimant.

Contact an Experienced 9/11 VCF Attorney

If you were diagnosed with a 9/11-related health condition, you may be eligible to receive compensation from the VCF. An experienced VCF attorney can guide you through the VCF’s claim filing procedures and assist you with obtaining the 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.


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