The History of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF)
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) was established in 2001 in response to the terrorist attacks on September 11th, which killed nearly 3,000 people and caused significant economic and social disruption in New York City and across the United States. The VCF was initially created to provide financial assistance to individuals who suffered physical harm or lost loved ones as a result of the attacks and related events. The VCF was funded by the Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act, which appropriated $7.4 billion to provide compensation to eligible individuals and families. The initial version of the VCF faced several legal challenges, including lawsuits from insurance companies and other entities that argued that the fund was unconstitutional and violated the principle of tort law that individuals have the right to sue for damages in court. However, these challenges were ultimately unsuccessful, and the VCF began accepting claims in August 2002.
The VCF was initially designed to provide compensation for economic losses, including lost wages and benefits, medical expenses, and other expenses related to the attacks. The special master was responsible for evaluating claims and determining the amount of compensation that each claimant was eligible to receive based on a set of guidelines established by Congress.
Over the years, the VCF has undergone several revisions and updates to expand its scope and eligibility criteria.
The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act
In 2010, Congress passed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which reopened the VCF and provided additional funding for compensation and medical treatment for 9/11-related illnesses. The Zadroga Act expanded the eligibility criteria for the VCF to include individuals who were present in certain areas of Lower Manhattan in the months following the attacks and who may have been exposed to toxins and other harmful substances as a result. The act also established the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP), which provides medical treatment and monitoring for individuals with 9/11-related health conditions.
In 2015, Congress passed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act, which extended the VCF through 2020 and provided additional funding for compensation and medical treatment. The reauthorization also expanded the list of eligible conditions recognized by the VCF to include certain types of cancers and other illnesses that are linked to exposure to toxins and other harmful substances released during the attacks and their aftermath. In 2019, the VCF announced that it was running out of funding and would need to cut compensation payments to some claimants unless additional funding was provided. In July of that year, Congress passed the Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act, which extended the VCF through 2090 and provided additional funding to ensure that all eligible claimants could receive full compensation.
Special Masters and the VCF
The VCF is overseen by a Special Master, who is appointed by the Attorney General of the United States. The Special Master is responsible for administering the VCF, which includes receiving and processing claims, determining the eligibility of claimants, and awarding compensation to those who are eligible. The Special Master also has the authority to investigate claims and make decisions on appeals.
There have been four Special Masters of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) to date:
- Kenneth Feinberg (2001-2004): Feinberg was appointed as the first Special Master of the VCF in 2001, shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11th. He was responsible for designing and administering the original VCF, which received over 7,000 claims and awarded over $7 billion in compensation to victims and their families. Feinberg went on to serve as the Special Master of other compensation funds, including the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Fund and the Boston Marathon bombing victims fund.
- Sheila Birnbaum (2011-2016): Birnbaum was appointed as the Special Master of the VCF in 2011, after the fund was reopened by the passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. She was responsible for processing more than 16,000 claims and awarding over $2.8 billion in compensation to victims and their families. Birnbaum had previously served as an attorney in private practice and as a mediator in various high-profile cases.
- Rupa Bhattacharyya (2016-2022): Bhattacharyya was appointed as the Special Master of the VCF in 2016, after serving as the Deputy Special Master since 2012. She is responsible for administering the current iteration of the VCF, which has received over 70,000 claims and awarded over $9 billion in compensation to victims and their families as of September 2021. Bhattacharyya has previously served as an attorney in private practice and as a federal prosecutor.
- In February 2023, the United States Department of Justice announced the appointment of Allison Turkel as the new special master of the VCF. Turkel is a former assistant U.S. attorney with over 20 years of experience in civil litigation and government service. She most recently served as a partner at a law firm in Washington D.C., where she specialized in white-collar criminal defense and regulatory enforcement matters.
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) was created to provide financial assistance to individuals who suffered physical harm or lost loved ones as a result of the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001, and related events.
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Claims Process
The process of filing a claim with the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) involves several steps, and it is important to seek guidance from experienced attorneys, such as The Marcowitz Law Firm, PLLC,who concentrate in this area. The following is an overview of the process, including some key terms related to the VCF and 9/11-related illnesses such as cancer.
- Finding the Best 911 Lawyers: The first step is to find experienced lawyers, such as The Marcowitz Law Firm, PLLC,who have a deep understanding of the VCF and the complex legal issues surrounding 9/11-related illnesses.We are a 9/11 Law Firm that has a proven track record of success in representing victims and their families, and who have a strong reputation in this field.
- Determine Eligibility: The next step is to determine if you are eligible to file a claim with the VCF. Eligibility criteria include being present at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, or the Shanksville, PA crash site between September 11, 2001, and May 30, 2002, or being involved in the cleanup and recovery efforts. Additionally, victims must have suffered physical harm or illness as a result of the attacks.
- Filing a Claim: Once eligibility is established, victims or their representatives can file a claim with the VCF. The claim must include detailed information about the victim's illness, including medical records and documentation of any treatment or disability resulting from the illness. Victims may also need to provide information about their employment and financial losses as a result of their illness.
- VCF Review: After a claim is filed, the VCF will review the claim and supporting documentation. This process may involve additional requests for information or documentation, and it can take several months or longer to receive a decision.
- Determining Compensation: If the claim is approved, the VCF will determine the amount of compensation to be awarded. Compensation amounts vary depending on the severity of the illness and the financial losses suffered by the victim and their family. The VCF may also consider other factors, such as the victim's age and life expectancy.
- Appealing a Decision: If a claim is denied, victims have the right to appeal the decision. This may involve submitting additional evidence or documentation to support the claim, or filing a formal appeal with the VCF.
- World Trade Center Lawyers: Finally, victims and their families may benefit from working with lawyers such as The Marcowitz Law Firm, PLLC,who concentrate in representing clients in 9/11-related cases. These lawyers can provide guidance and support throughout the claims process, and can help victims and their families understand their legal rights and options.
To file a claim with the VCF, individuals must first determine their eligibility by meeting certain criteria. The eligibility criteria depend on the type of claim being filed and the nature of the harm suffered. Generally, the following types of individuals may be eligible to file a claim with the VCF:
- Individuals who were present at the World Trade Center, Pentagon, or Shanksville, Pennsylvania crash sites on 9/11
- First responders, including firefighters, police officers, and emergency medical technicians, who participated in the rescue and recovery efforts at the crash sites
- Individuals who lived, worked, or attended school in lower Manhattan south of Canal Street, including residents of the area, students, and people who worked in the area
- Individuals who participated in the debris removal efforts at the crash sites or the Fresh Kills landfill in Staten Island, New York
- Individuals who were present in the area of the Pentagon crash site between September 11th and October 11th, 2001
Once eligibility is determined, individuals can file a claim by completing an online registration form on the VCF website or by submitting a hard-copy registration form by mail. The registration form requires individuals to provide personal information, including their name, date of birth, Social Security number, and contact information.
After registering, claimants must complete a detailed claim form, which requires them to provide documentation to support their claim. This documentation may include medical records, employment records, tax returns, and other forms of proof of presence or harm. The VCF provides a detailed list of documentation requirements on its website, and claimants are encouraged to consult with an attorney or victim advocate for assistance with completing the form.
Presence at the 9/11 site
The Presence at Site requirement is a key eligibility criterion for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), which provides financial assistance to individuals who suffered physical harm or lost loved ones as a result of the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001, and related events.
To be eligible for compensation from the VCF, an individual must have been "present at a 9/11 crash site" at the time of, or in the immediate aftermath of, the attacks or during the debris removal efforts that followed. The "9/11 crash sites" include the World Trade Center (including the Twin Towers and surrounding buildings), the Pentagon, and the Shanksville, Pennsylvania crash site where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed
Presence at a 9/11 crash site may include individuals who were in the buildings or on the surrounding streets at the time of the attacks, as well as first responders who participated in the rescue and recovery efforts at the crash sites.
To demonstrate eligibility based on Presence at Site, claimants are required to provide documentation to support their claim. This documentation may include employment records, affidavits from witnesses, or other forms of proof of presence. Claimants are also encouraged to provide a detailed account of their presence at the crash site in their claim form.
What is the Exposure Zone Surrounding Ground Zero?
The Exposure Zone is a term used by the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) to describe the geographic area where individuals may have been exposed to toxins or other harmful substances as a result of the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001, and related events.
The Exposure Zone includes Lower Manhattan south of Canal Street. The VCF considers individuals who were present in the Exposure Zone during the period from September 11th, 2001, through May 30th, 2002, to be potentially eligible for compensation if they meet certain other eligibility criteria, such as demonstrating physical harm or the loss of a loved one as a result of the attacks or related events.
The toxins and harmful substances to which individuals in the Exposure Zone may have been exposed include, but are not limited to, asbestos, lead, benzene, and other volatile organic compounds. These substances were released into the air as a result of the collapse of the Twin Towers and the subsequent fires and cleanup efforts.
To demonstrate eligibility based on exposure to toxins, claimants are required to provide medical documentation showing that they suffered from a covered condition related to exposure to the toxins. The VCF has established a list of covered conditions, which includes certain types of cancer, respiratory conditions, and other illnesses.
Eligible Conditions and The World Trade Center Health Program Treatment and Certification
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) provides financial assistance to individuals who suffered physical harm or lost loved ones as a result of the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001, and related events. To be eligible for compensation from the VCF, individuals must demonstrate that they have one or more of the eligible conditions recognized by the VCF.
The VCF has established a list of eligible conditions, which includes certain types of cancer, respiratory conditions, and other illnesses that are linked to exposure to toxins and other harmful substances released during the attacks and their aftermath.
Eligible conditions recognized by the VCF include:
- Aerodigestive disorders, such as chronic cough syndrome, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Asbestos-related conditions, such as mesothelioma and lung cancer
- Certain types of cancer, including:
Blood and lymphoid tissue cancers
- Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
- Hodgkin lymphoma
- Multiple myeloma
Solid organ cancers
- Breast cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Lung cancer
- Melanoma and other skin cancers
- Gastrointestinal cancers (including cancers of the colon, rectum, liver, pancreas, stomach, and esophagus)
- Ovarian cancer
- Female reproductive organ cancers (including cervical, uterine, and vaginal cancers)
- Male reproductive organ cancers (including testicular and penile cancers)
- Head and neck cancers (including cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx, and larynx)
- Gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD)
- Interstitial lung disease (ILD)
The World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP)
The World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) was established in 2011 as part of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which provided medical treatment and compensation for individuals affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The idea for the WTCHP originated with the experiences of first responders and other workers who were exposed to the toxic dust and debris from the World Trade Center site in the aftermath of the attacks. Many of these individuals developed respiratory and other health problems as a result of their exposure, and there was a growing recognition that they needed specialized medical treatment and care.
The WTCHP was designed to provide comprehensive medical treatment and monitoring for individuals who were affected by the 9/11 attacks and related events. The program is administered by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The WTCHP provides medical monitoring, diagnostic testing, and treatment for a wide range of physical and mental health conditions that are associated with 9/11 exposure. These conditions include respiratory diseases, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), as well as other illnesses such as cancer, mental health conditions, and musculoskeletal disorders.
The program operates through a network of clinical centers of excellence located in the New York City metropolitan area and in other areas where large numbers of 9/11 responders and survivors reside. These centers are staffed by medical professionals who are trained to recognize and treat 9/11-related health conditions and who work closely with patients to develop personalized treatment plans.
In addition to providing medical treatment and care, the WTCHP also conducts research into the health effects of 9/11 exposure and collaborates with other organizations and stakeholders to raise awareness of the long-term health risks associated with the attacks.
The WTCHP has undergone several updates and revisions since its establishment in 2011. In 2015, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act expanded the program's eligibility criteria to include individuals who were present in certain areas of Lower Manhattan in the months following the attacks and who may have been exposed to toxins and other harmful substances as a result.
The WTCHP is an important component of the overall effort to support and care for individuals affected by the 9/11 attacks and related events. It plays a critical role in ensuring that responders, survivors, and other individuals who were exposed to the toxic dust and debris receive the medical treatment and care they need to manage their health and move forward with their lives.
Once a claim is submitted, it will be reviewed by VCF staff to determine whether the claimant is eligible and the extent of the harm suffered. The VCF will also conduct an independent investigation to verify the information provided in the claim. If the claim is approved, the claimant will receive a compensation award, which is based on a formula that takes into account the severity of the harm suffered and other factors.
It is important to note that the deadline for filing a claim with the VCF is October 1, 2090. However, claimants are encouraged to file their claims as soon as possible to ensure that they receive the maximum amount of compensation available and to avoid delays in processing.
The Claims Process
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) provides compensation to individuals who suffered physical harm or lost loved ones as a result of the 9/11 attacks and related events. The claims process for the VCF can be complex and challenging, and many claimants choose to work with experienced attorneys to navigate the process and maximize their potential compensation.
Our VCF Lawyers and VCF Law Firm concentrates in representing individuals in 9/11 claims, If you are looking for one of the best 9/11 lawyers you are in the right place.Our firm has extensive experience and knowledge of the VCF and the World Trade Center Health Program, and we can provide valuable guidance and support to individuals seeking compensation.
The amount of compensation that a 9/11 victim may receive from the VCF varies depending on several factors, including the severity of their injuries or their economic losses.
The average payout for a VCF claimant is difficult to estimate, as it depends on a variety of individual factors. However, the VCF has published data on the total payouts for various categories of claims, including those for individuals with 9/11-related illnesses and those for individuals who lost loved ones in the attacks.
Working with an experienced 9/11 victim compensation attorney can be especially important for individuals who are seeking compensation for illnesses or injuries that are not well-understood or that may be difficult to document. Attorneys who concentrate in 9/11 claims can help their clients navigate the complex medical and legal issues involved in these cases and can work to ensure that their clients receive the maximum possible compensation.
Why choose The Marcowitz Law Firm, PLLC?
The Marcowitz Law Firm is a law firm that concentrates in representing individuals who are seeking compensation from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF).
The Marcowitz Law Firm has extensive experience and knowledge of the VCF and the World Trade Center Health Program, and has represented numerous clients in claims related to the 9/11 attacks. Mr. Marcowitz has assisted in the recovery of Hundreds of Millions of Dollars from the VCF.The firm works closely with its clients to understand their individual needs and goals and to develop personalized strategies to help them achieve the best possible outcome.
In addition to its work with individual clients, the Marcowitz Law Firm has also been involved in advocacy efforts related to 9/11 compensation and support programs.Edward Marcowitz is the personal attorney to the family of James Zadroga from whom the legislation is named. The firm has worked with lawmakers and other stakeholders to raise awareness of the ongoing needs of 9/11 victims and their families and to advocate for policies and programs that provide meaningful support and assistance.
Overall, the Marcowitz Law Firm has played an important role in supporting individuals who were affected by the 9/11 attacks and in helping them secure the compensation and support they need to rebuild their lives.
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund has been an important source of support for victims and their families in the aftermath of the attacks. The Special Masters who have overseen the program have played a critical role in ensuring that the VCF is administered fairly and efficiently, and that compensation is awarded to those who are eligible.
The Late NYC Detective James Zadroga and The Marcowitz Law Firm, PLLC
The Marcowitz Law Firm, PLLC is proud and horored to serve as counsel to the Zadroga Family. Joseph Zadroga, also known as Joe Zadroga, was the father of James Zadroga, a New York City police officer who died in 2006 from respiratory disease that was linked to his work at the World Trade Center site in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. After James Zadroga's death, his father became a vocal advocate for 9/11 responders and other individuals who were affected by the attacks. Joe Zadroga was instrumental in pushing for legislation that would provide compensation and support for individuals who developed health problems as a result of their work at the World Trade Center site. Joe Zadroga was a frequent presence at rallies, public events, and meetings with lawmakers, where he spoke passionately about the need to support and care for those who risked their lives to respond to the 9/11 attacks. He also became an outspoken critic of the government's response to the health crisis faced by 9/11 responders, arguing that officials were not doing enough to provide medical treatment and compensation to those who were affected. In 2010, Congress passed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which established the World Trade Center Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund to provide medical treatment and financial support to individuals affected by the attacks. The act was named in honor of Joe Zadroga's son James, who was one of the first responders to die as a result of 9/11-related health problems.
Joe Zadroga continued to be active in advocacy efforts related to 9/11 responders and survivors until his death in 2017. He is remembered as a tireless and passionate advocate for those affected by the attacks and as a champion of their rights and interests.