If you suffered an injury as a first responder or as a survivor on 9/11 at the World Trade Center site in New York, as well as at the Pentagon or the Shanksville, Pennsylvania sites, you could be eligible to file a claim through the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). Filing a VCF claim can be complicated, however, and there are aspects of the VCF that can be extremely confusing. Since it is essential to file your claim properly in order to get the benefits you need, you will need to navigate the intricacies of the claims process. The following are five things you should know about filing a VCF claim.
- Responders and Survivors Can Be Eligible to File Claims
Emergency responders are not the only ones eligible to file claims. The VCF makes clear that the VCF was also designed to compensate anyone who was injured or killed as a result of the 9/11 attacks, or the debris-removal, or clean-up efforts afterward. Indeed, the VCF “compensates those who volunteered, lived, worked, went to school, or spent time in the affected areas between September 11, 2011, and May 30, 2002.” Any of these individuals may suffer from compensable health issues as a result, including “respiratory illnesses such as asthma and COPD, cancers, and traumatic injuries such as back, leg, and arm injuries.”
- New York Applicants Must Have Been Present Within the “New York City Exposure Zone” or Along Routes of Debris Removal
To be eligible for benefits as a responder or a survivor, you must have spent time within the “New York City Exposure Zone.” This is defined as “the area of lower Manhattan south of Canal Street/ East Broadway/ Clinton Street.” It is important for anyone planning to file a claim for benefits with the VCF to know that the exposure zone boundaries for the VCF are not the same as the exposure zone boundaries for the WTC Health Program.
- You Must Prove That You Have a 9/11-Related Physical Illness That is a “Covered Condition” According to the WTC Health Program
Eligibility for VCF compensation requires you to prove that you have a 9/11-related physical illness or injury that has been classified as a “covered condition” by the WTC Health Program. To be eligible to obtain benefits, you must schedule an appointment with the WTC Health Program to get a certification.
- Different Types of Documents Can Prove Your Presence at a 9/11 Site
Claimants can provide many different types of documents to prove that they were in the New York City Exposure Zone for purposes of VCF eligibility. Employers, unions, and a wide variety of additional organizations can provide this information.
- You Must Register with the VCF
In order to be eligible to receive compensation from the VCF by filing a claim, you will first need to register with the VCF. Registering with the VCF and filing a claim, to be clear, are two different things. The registration deadline—not the filing deadline—is July 29, 2021. As the VCF frequently asked questions page explains, as long as you have registered by July 29, 2021, “then your claim will be considered timely regardless of when it is filed.” It is also important to know that registering does not obligate you to file a claim, but it does preserve your right to file a claim in the future. The registration deadline (and the requirement of registration) is also applicable to Deceased claims.
Contact a New York 9/11 VCF Lawyer for Assistance
If you have questions about filing a VCF claim or about any of the necessary steps you must take in order to file a claim, one of the experienced New York 9/11 VCF attorneys at our firm can assist you. Contact The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. today for more information about how we can help.