9/11 Victim Compensation Fund

September 11, 2001 was among the most horrific and tragic days in our nation’s history. But amidst the appalling events that we all watched on TV, thousands of brave and selfless American heroes responded to Lower Manhattan. They were police officers, firefighters, EMTs, National Guardsmen, volunteers, construction workers, electrical workers, iron workers, plumbers, doctors, and more. Their tireless work in the days, months and years after 9/11 helped a City and a Country re-build, stronger than before, after the most destructive attack on American soil in history.

But the noble work of responders came at a cost. Thousands of tons of toxic debris that was in the collapsed buildings and airplanes were pulverized, spreading dust, debris, fumes and carcinogens across Lower Manhattan. In the years since that day, thousands of responders have been diagnosed with injuries caused by their exposure at the World Trade Center site. Respiratory injuries like Asthma, COPD and Lung Disease, Digestive injuries, Nasal Cavity injuries, and over 50 types of cancer, have all been scientifically shown to be caused by exposure to the toxic environment in Lower Manhattan after 9/11.

The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. represents over 600 responders, volunteers, residents, and office workers, who have been diagnosed with 9/11-related injuries, in claims to the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (“VCF”).   We are experts at moving cases through the VCF claims processing system as quickly as possible, and recovering the highest possible awards for our clients.

If you or someone you know was exposed to the toxic environment of Lower Manhattan after 9/11, contact The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. now to discuss the merits of a VCF claim.

Reauthorization of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010

On December 18, 2015, President Obama signed into law a bill reauthorizing the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010. This includes the reauthorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (“VCF”).

Pursuant to the Reauthorized Bill, all claims that received award offers before December 18, 2015 are considered “Group A claims”.  All pending claims that did not receive an award offer as of December 18, 2015 are considered “Group B claims”.

The VCF has provided a Reauthorization Timeline through September 2016. Click here for PDF.

General

On January 2, 2011, President Obama signed into law the James Zadroga Health and Compensation Act of 2010 (the “Zadroga Act”). As part of that piece of legislation, the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (the “VCF”), which originally operated from December 2001 until June 2004, was re-opened. The VCF is designed to provide compensation for economic and non-economic losses to people who were physically injured as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

In order to be eligible for the VCF, individuals must: (1) have been present at the September 11th crash site at the time of the crashes or between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002; and (2) have suffered physical harm as a direct result of the crashes or debris removal.

Geography

The September 11th crash site includes the area in Manhattan south of Canal Street, the Fresh Kills Landfill in Staten Island, the barges that moved debris, the NYC Morgue, and any other area the VCF may identify as creating a clear risk of physical harm as a result of the crashes, fires, and building collapses.

Covered Conditions

The physical injuries, health conditions and diseases that are covered under the VCF (“Covered Conditions”) are:

  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Chronic Respiratory Disorder – Fumes / Vapors
  • Asthma
  • Reactive Airways Dysfunction Syndrome (RADS)
  • WTC-exacerbated Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Chronic cough syndrome
  • Upper airway hyper-reactivity
  • Chronic rhinosinusitis
  • Chronic nasopharyngitis
  • Chronic laryngitis
  • Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disorder (GERD)
  • Sleep apnea exacerbated by or related to other Covered Conditions
  • Low back pain
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
  • Certain other musculoskeletal disorders
  • Traumatic injuries

Cancers

The Zadroga Act did not initially include cancers on their list of Covered Conditions. However, on June 8, 2012, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) proposed a new rule to add certain types of cancer to the list of Covered Conditions. This new rule took effect on October 12, 2012.

The complete list of cancers added to the list of Covered Conditions is as follows:

Head and Neck

  • Malignant neoplasm of lip
  • Malignant neoplasm of base of tongue
  • Malignant neoplasm of other and unspecified parts of tongue
  • Malignant neoplasm of parotid gland
  • Malignant neoplasm of other and unspecified major salivary glands
  • Malignant neoplasm of floor of mouth
  • Malignant neoplasm of gum
  • Malignant neoplasm of palate
  • Malignant neoplasm of other and unspecified parts of mouth
  • Malignant neoplasm of tonsil
  • Malignant neoplasm of oropharynx
  • Malignant neoplasm of nasopharynx
  • Malignant neoplasm of piriform sinus
  • Malignant neoplasm of the hypopharynx
  • Malignant neoplasm of other and ill-defined conditions in the lip, oral cavity and pharynx
  • Malignant neoplasms of nasal cavity
  • Malignant neoplasm of accessory sinuses
  • Malignant neoplasm of the larynx

Childhood cancers

Rare cancers

Digestive System

  • Malignant neoplasm of the esophagus
  • Malignant neoplasm of the stomach
  • Malignant neoplasm of the colon
  • Malignant neoplasm of rectosigmoid junction
  • Malignant neoplasm of the rectum
  • Malignant neoplasm of other and ill-defined digestive organs
  • Malignant neoplasm of the liver and intrahepatic bile ducts
  • Malignant neoplasms of retroperitoneum and peritoneumRespiratory System
  • Malignant neoplasms of the trachea
  • Malignant neoplasm of bronchus and lung
  • Malignant neoplasm of heart, mediastinum and pleura
  • Malignant neoplasm of other and ill-defined sites in the respiratory system and intrathoracic organs

Female Reproductive Organs

  • Malignant neoplasm of ovary

Urinary System

  • Malignant neoplasm of bladder
  • Malignant neoplasm of the kidney except renal pelvis
  • Malignant neoplasm of renal pelvis
  • Malignant neoplasm of ureter
  • Malignant neoplasm of other and unspecified urinary organs

Eye & Orbit

  • Malignant neoplasms of eye and adnexa

Thyroid

  • Malignant neoplasm of thyroid gland

Blood & Lymphoid Tissue

  • Hodgkin's disease
  • Follicular (nodular) non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Diffuse non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Peripheral and cutaneous T-cell lymphomas
  • Other and unspecified types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Malignant immunoproliferative diseases
  • Multiple myeloma and malignant plasma cell neoplasms
  • Lymphoid leukemia
  • Myeloid leukemia
  • Monocytic leukemia
  • Other leukemias of specified cell type
  • Leukemia of unspecified cell type
  • Other and unspecified malignant neoplasms of lymphoid, hematopoietic and related tissue

Mesothelioma

Soft Tissue

  • Malignant neoplasm of peripheral nerves and autonomic nervous system
  • Malignant neoplasm of other connective and soft tissue

Skin (Non Melanoma)

  • Other malignant neoplasms of skin
  • Scrotum

Melanoma

  • Malignant melanoma of skin

Breast

  • Malignant neoplasm of breast

When Must I File?

The VCF began accepting registrations on October 3, 2011. If you knew or should have known of your physical injuries resulting from the September 11th attacks as of October 3, 2011, you must file by October 3, 2013. If you learn of your physical injury after October 3, 2011, you have two years to file from the date you learned of the injury, or should have learned of it.

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The claim submission process is split into two sections: Eligibility Form and Compensation Form. Both of these forms must be completed and submitted to the VCF before an offer is made. The Zadroga Act authorizes the VCF to receive claims for five years from the date it opened in 2011, meaning that final payments are scheduled to made in 2016-17.

Awards

Through the Zadroga Act, Congress appropriated $2.775 billion to the VCF to compensate claimants. In general, all awards will consist of three components, to be calculated as follows:

Economic Loss + Non-Economic Loss - Collateral Offsets

Economic Loss will consist of any prior loss of earnings or other benefits related to employment, medical expense loss, replacement services loss, and the loss of business or employment opportunities.

Non-Economic Loss is defined by the Zadroga Act as losses for physical and emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, mental anguish, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of society and companionship, loss of consortium, hedonic damages, injury to reputation, and all other non-pecuniary losses of any kind.

Collateral Source Payments consists of all payments related to the terrorist-related attacks of September 11th or subsequent debris removal. Examples of such payments include life insurance, pension funds, death benefit programs, settlement payments from any September 11th-related lawsuits, and payments by any government entities.

Since the amount of money that the VCF has to pay out is capped, awards may be further adjusted based on the number claimants and the aggregate amount of eligible awards.

To discuss any of the information contained in this page, or to speak to an attorney at The Dearie Law Firm, P.C., Contact Us or call 1-800-2-DEARIE.

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