Have You Been Diagnosed With a Medical Issue as a Result of Living or Working in NYC During 9/11 Attacks?

Monday, March 6, 2017 - 13:13

People who lived or worked in the World Trade Center area immediately after the 9/11 terrorist attacks should be aware of valuable monetary and medical benefits that they may be entitled to receive. Those diagnosed with cancer or respiratory illnesses who were present at the 9/11 crash site at the time of the crash or immediate aftermath, those in debris removal routes, or who live in areas sufficiently close to the site, may be eligible for compensation.  This includes those who lived or worked below Canal Street between 9/11/01-5/30/02.

This article gives a brief description of the benefits and the requirements that the law places on people who think they may have a claim.  It is important to note that this a general description, and anyone who thinks they may have a claim should immediately seek specific information. 

There are very strict time limitations which must be followed or people may lose their right to collect the appropriate benefits.  

In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, the federal government created the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF).  The purpose of the VCF (which originally closed in 2004) was to compensate those people who died or became disabled as a result of the terrorist attack as well as those who were involved in the debris removal immediately after the attacks.   The definition of “debris removal” covers those first responders who were involved in clean up, recovery, remediation and response during the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attack.  The “immediate aftermath” covers the period of 9/11/01-8/20/02.  

Since 2002 however, many first responders who were exposed to the debris after the attack died or become seriously ill.   

In the years following the 9/11 attacks, nearly 70 types of rare and aggressive cancers have been linked to dust and toxic substance exposure at Ground Zero. Experts estimate as many as 400,000 people are suffering from diseases linked to 9/11, including cancers and mental illnesses.  As of July, 2016 an additional 1,140 people (rescue workers and those who worked or lived near the site) have died. 

In an attempt to compensate people whose illness or deaths related to 9/11 attacks were diagnosed after the 2004 deadline, the Victim Compensation Fund was extended with the passage of the Zadroga Act - named after a NYC Police Officer who died due to respiratory disease as a result of his exposure to toxic chemicals.       

The Zadroga Act reopened and extended the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF)  until December 18, 2020.  

In addition to the VCF, the Act created the World Trade Center Health Program which provides free medical coverage to those who suffer from certain recognized illnesses 

The extension means that people now have until December 18, 2020 to submit claims. However, the date you must register with the VCF varies depending upon your individual circumstances.  Registering with the VCF is different than filing a claim with the VCF.  

The VCF is a federal fund separate from any NYS Workers’ Compensation benefits that a disabled worker may be entitled to receive.  

Generally, the VCF requires 9/11 victims to register with the VCF no later than two years after the effected individual is made aware that their illness(s) are a result of the 9/11 terror attack. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed within the last two years, it’s not too late to file a claim.  

Fine, Olin & Anderman, (FOA) the law firm endorsed by your union for to represent workers for injury-related matters, can help you file a claim. If you have any questions about the fund or your eligibility to file a claim, call FOA at 1-800-522-9001, or click here to fill out a contact form. 

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