If you’re a responder or survivor who developed an eligible 9/11-related health condition, cancer, illness, or injury, you may be entitled to receive compensation from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. However, there are a few other requirements that must be met before the VCF will issue an award.
Importantly, you’ll have to demonstrate that you were in the NYC Exposure Zone in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. One of the ways the VCF allows you to prove presence is by submitting a personal statement or an affidavit from someone who had first-hand knowledge that you were there.
Types of Affidavits
There are two types of affidavits a survivor or responder can submit to the VCF supporting their claim: a Victim Presence Statement or a Witness Presence Statement. Both must be sworn to and provide details as to the exact dates and times you were in the NYC Exposure Zone — as well as your precise location and activities. VCF claims that rely primarily on affidavits to prove presence may be denied if the information provided is not adequate.
Although Victim Presence Statements may be helpful to the VCF, they’re not required. If affidavits are the only evidence you can submit in support of proving your presence in the area, you must submit a minimum of two, with one being provided by a person who is not related to you.
While the VCF provides templates for a Witness Presence Affidavit and a Victim Presence Statement, it’s not necessary to use the forms as long as the affidavits contain the same detailed information that is included on the templates, and they are both signed and notarized.
Where is the NYC Exposure Zone?
Any affidavits or sworn statements that you submit with your VCF claim must specify the exact location where you were in the NYC Exposure Zone — including an address or cross street — and what you were doing there. The VCF defines the NYC Exposure Zone as the area south of Canal Street in Manhattan and any location “along the routes of debris removal,” including the Fresh Kills landfill, barges, and bus depots.
In addition to being present at a location in the NYC Exposure Zone, the VCF requires that eligible responders and survivors spent time there in the “immediate aftermath” of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The Zadroga Act specifies this time frame as any time between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002.
Who Can Provide an Affidavit?
Since many 9/11-related cancers and illnesses have long latency periods, countless responders and survivors continue to be diagnosed with VCF eligible conditions linked to the toxins in the dust cloud. The VCF recognizes that many documents that would be used to prove presence in the NYC Exposure Zone are no longer available — for instance, if you’re a survivor who went to school or worked in the area, the primary records to show the dates and your exact location may no longer exist.
While the VCF may be able to obtain information from certain employers to confirm presence, the records don’t always specify the actual location or time period in which the employee was in the Exposure Zone. The VCF recommends that responders submit additional evidence with their claims — such as affidavits — to verify presence, including:
- FDNY EMS members
- CWA members who worked for Lucent Technologies
- Verizon workers
- BlueCross BlueShield employees
- New York State National Guard members
- ConEd employees
Additionally, if you filed a Workers’ Compensation claim or enrolled with the WTC Health Program, the VCF may be able to obtain certain documentation, but still advises that you should file affidavits or other evidence with your claim.
Generally, affidavits proving presence must be submitted with your claim submission. However, they can also be “stored” with the VCF after you register to file a claim. If you choose to upload the documents once you’ve registered, it’s important to understand that they will not be reviewed until your claim form and all the documents necessary to support your claim are submitted.
Contact a New York City 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Attorney
If you’re a responder or survivor who has an eligible 9/11-related cancer, illness, or physical health condition, you may be entitled to receive monetary compensation from the VCF. Understanding how to prepare an affidavit attesting to your presence and submitting a VCF claim can be confusing, frustrating, and overwhelming — an experienced 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund attorney can guide you through the process and help ensure you receive the maximum 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.