WTC Victim Compensation Fund Lawyer Helps Clients Get Payments

Experienced New York Personal Injury Attorney Files Claims and Assists with Appeals

At The Marcowitz Law Firm, PLLC, Attorney Eddie Marcowitz has offices in Manhattan and Nyack to advocate for victims of 9/11 and their families. If you survived 9/11 but are injured or ill due to the effects of the attack, or have a family member who died because they were in the Ground Zero area, you may be eligible for benefits from the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund.

What Is the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund?

The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) first operated from 2001 to 2003. It required a Special Master — then Kenneth Feinberg — appointed by the Attorney General. The fund provided compensation for anyone who suffered a physical injury or was killed as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, or the resulting cleanup. It also provided compensation to personal representatives of the deceased.

In 2011, President Barack Obama reactivated the fund by signing the First Responders Bill, also known as the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010. James Zadroga was a New York City Police Department detective who died in 2006 at age 34 from a respiratory disease. He was the first NYPD officer whose death was attributed to exposure to toxic chemicals at Ground Zero, the site of the former World Trade Center.

The Zadroga Act expanded the pool of applicants who may be eligible for compensation for past and future earnings to include first responders and people who had developed health problems associated with the attacks or cleanup. These health problems include certain illnesses and physical injuries, such as:

  • Cancer (including prostate cancer, skin cancer, breast cancer, and reproductive cancer)
  • Asthma
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbated by World Trade Center exposure
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome (for first responders and volunteers handling debris)
  • Chronic cough syndrome
  • Chronic rhinosinusitis
  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD)
  • Reactive airways dysfunction syndrome (RADS)
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Sleep apnea

The act also established the World Trade Center Health Program, which provides medical care and treatment for 9/11-related conditions.

In 2015, President Obama signed a bill reauthorizing the Zadroga Act. This extends the deadline for filing VCF claims to December 31, 2020.

Since 2011, the VCF has received 28,609 eligibility forms, fund statistics show. Of the 21,448 eligibility claims that can be decided, the VCF has approved 16,942 and rendered more than $2.8 billion in compensation.

The mean dollar value of compensation rendered as of December 31, 2016, was about $174,000. The lowest amount of a compensation decision was about $86.

Why Choose The Marcowitz Law Firm for Your VCF Claim?

Attorney Eddie Marcowitz has helped recover over $300 million for 9/11 victims and their families, spearheading one of the largest pro bono efforts on behalf of New York City firefighters injured by toxic exposure. He also worked extensively with Special Master Kenneth Feinberg on development of the original fund and served as the personal attorney for the family of James Zadroga.

Who is Eligible for Compensation from the Fund?

First responders, cleanup workers and other people who were injured or have cancer, asthma and other illnesses (or their personal representatives) who were present at one of the crash sites or the New York City Exposure Zone during the crashes or anytime between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002, are eligible. The Exposure Zone is the area in Manhattan south of the line that runs along Canal Street from the Hudson River to the intersection of Canal Street and East Broadway, north on East Broadway to Clinton Street, and east on Clinton Street to the East River. It also includes areas related to or along debris removal routes.

What Does VCF Cover?

It covers medical expenses, lost wages and benefits, pain and suffering, physical impairment, funeral and burial expenses and other damages. The compensation you may be eligible to receive will depend upon your illness or injury and other factors.

How to File a VCF Claim

If you were a first responder or volunteer who helped with the rescue efforts or cleanup at any of the sites involved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks — the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, or the crash site of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pa. — you may be eligible for compensation for past and future lost wages.

In addition, if you lived, worked, visited downtown Manhattan, or attended school or any adult or child day-care facility in downtown Manhattan on or soon after the attacks, you also might be eligible for an award from the VCF. The VCF’s compensation

Applicants can file for a claim on behalf of themselves, as personal representatives of a deceased person, as a guardian of a non-minor, or as the parent or guardian of a minor.

The VCF first will need to verify where the victim was on September 11, 2001, through May 30, 2002.

If you were not a first responder or volunteer, you or your loved one could be eligible for compensation as a 9/11 survivor if you can establish the victim was present within the NYC Exposure Zone during this time period. The NYC Exposure Zone covers lower Manhattan south of Canal Street, as well as southwest of East Broadway and Clinton Street. Affected neighborhoods include:

  • Chinatown
  • Greenwich Village
  • Lower East Side
  • SoHo
  • Tribeca
  • Battery Park
  • Bowling Green

Click here for a detailed map. The NYC Exposure Zone also encompasses areas related to or along debris-removal routes, such as barges and Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island.

To file a claim, you’ll need to submit two forms of written proof establishing the victim’s location, such as:

  • Employer or volunteer records: A pay stub with the victim’s dates of work and location, union records, organization personnel roster, or site credentials
  • Residency records: A lease, rent or mortgage receipts, utility bill showing an address and pertinent dates, driver’s license
  • School or day care records: Any relevant records confirming enrollment or attendance at a school or day-care facility for children or adults
  • Records of tasks performed: Any orders, instructions, or confirmation of the tasks the victim performed within the exposure zone
  • Statements: Any sworn and notarized affidavits, or unsworn statements complying with federal law, from anyone who can attest to the victim’s presence as a first responder, volunteer, or survivor within the NYC Exposure Zone within the relevant dates
  • Medical records: Although the VCF is not a medical program, it also will accept medical records that document treatment as proof of an injury that occurred from responding to or volunteering at a 9/11 crash site, or within the NYC Exposure Zone

Please note: If you or your loved one received an award through the original September 11th Victim Compensation Fund active from 2001 to 2004, you do not need to submit proof of presence to reapply.

Also, if the victim was an active firefighter working for FDNY on September 11, 2001, you do not need to submit any documentation. VCF will obtain verification of that person’s presence directly from FDNY.

How Much Will I Get Paid?

The compensation amount depends upon all your economic and non-economic losses. The VCF uses this basic formula to determine awards: non-economic loss plus economic loss minus collateral offsets (compensation received from other sources). Generally, the VCF seeks to process claims within one year of submission, but processing may be expedited in cases of terminal illness or significant financial hardship.

What to Do if Your Claim is Denied

If your claim is denied, you may be able to appeal within 30 days if your denial letter includes an Appeal Request Form. Attorney Eddie Marcowitz can help you identify and gather the documentation you need to seek the reversal of an adverse VCF eligibility determination.  

Contact a New York Personal Injury Attorney for Help with Your VCF Claim

At The Marcowitz Law Firm, PLLC, with offices in Manhattan and Nyack, Attorney Eddie Marcowitz advocates for clients in WTC Victim Compensation Fund Claims. To schedule a free consultation, call our firm at 718-529-4040 or contact us online.

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