Helping September 11 Victims File VCF Claims for Compensation

If you or someone you loved were in Lower Manhattan following the September 11th attacks and suffered harm due to breathing toxic dust and fumes, you may be entitled to compensation.

Research has linked the toxic fumes and dust found at 9/11 attack sites to a range of health conditions and over 70 different cancers. People who lived, worked, went to school, or assisted in clean-up efforts and developed these conditions may be eligible for tax-free payments and lifetime health care from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) and World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP).

How Levy Konigsberg Can Help

Levy Konigsberg is a nationally recognized trial practice that works with victims during the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund claim process. We have what it takes to help:

  • Complex Cases. Our firm is known for handling some of the country’s most complex cases, securing victories for our clients and communities affected by toxic exposure.
  • Proven Results. We have recovered over $3 billion in compensation for clients, record-setting recoveries, and precedent-setting results that have changed laws and lives.
  • Passionate Representation. Our award-winning trial lawyers are dedicated solely to fighting for the injured. We care about what we do and the people we help.

Based in NYC, our 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund attorneys proudly serve clients across the country. To request a FREE consultation, call (800) 315-3806 or contact us online.

What is The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund?

The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) provides compensation to individuals who have been diagnosed with a 9/11-related condition, as well as families/representatives of individuals who died due to toxic exposure near locations that were attacked on September 11th.

The VCF is available to anyone who was present at the World Trade Center and surrounding NYC Exposure Zone (which includes Lower Manhattan south of Canal Street), Pentagon crash site, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania crash site between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002. This includes victims present at the time of the attacks and individuals who lived, worked, attended school, or assisted in construction and clean-up efforts in the months following 9/11.

In July 2019, the VCF was given permanent authorization with the signing of the “Never Forget the Heroes, James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act.” The VCF is fully funded to pay all eligible claims filed before the deadline of October 1, 2090.

Who is Eligible for the Victim Compensation Fund?

The VCF is a fully funded federal program available to a wide range of victims. Examples of those who may qualify under the VCF:

  • Individuals who were injured in the 9/11 attacks.
  • Eligible family members / personal representatives of victims killed in the 9/11 attacks or who died because of conditions related to their exposure at affected sites.
  • Individuals who lived, worked, or attended school in the NYC Exposure Zone (Lower Manhattan south of Canal Street), Pentagon crash site, or Shanksville, PA crash site.
  • Individuals (workers and volunteers) who assisted in cleanup, construction, and debris removal from 9/11 attack sites.
  • First Responders.

The VCF exposure zone includes only the Lower Manhattan area that runs south of Canal Street / E. Broadway / Clinton Street:

What is the World Trade Center Health Program and How is It Related to the VCF?

The federal government created two important programs to help 9/11 victims:

  • World Trade Center Health Program. The WTC Health Program provides screening, medical monitoring, and treatment for individuals with conditions related to 9/11.
  • September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. The VCF provides financial compensation to those who suffered illnesses, injuries, or a loved one’s death as a result of the 9/11 attacks or subsequent exposure.

While related, the WTC Health Program and Victim Compensation Fund are separate programs with different purposes. Some key points about the overlap and differences in these programs:

  1. The WTC Health Program evaluates applications and issues certification letters to individuals with conditions deemed to be caused by 9/11. WTCHP certifications can be used as proof of an eligible condition when submitting a claim under the VCF.
  2. The WTC Health Program covers a range of physical and mental health conditions, but only physical conditions are eligible for compensation under the VCF.
  3. The WTC Health Program provides monitoring and treatment services at various Clinical Centers of Excellence in the New York and New Jersey metro area and through a National Provide Network of clinics across the country. The VCF provides only tax-free cash payments based on a person’s economic and non-economic losses.
  4. The WTC Health Program has a larger exposure zone that includes the Brooklyn Heights area and all of Lower Manhattan south of Houston Street. The VCF exposure zone includes only the Lower Manhattan area that runs south of Canal Street / E. Broadway / Clinton Street.

Our team at Levy Konigsberg helps clients navigate the claim process to obtain financial compensation through the Victim Compensation Fund and assists with condition certifications and applications for the WTC Health Program. Give us a call to learn more about your needs and how we can help.

What Conditions are Covered by the WTCHP and VCF?

Before you can receive an award from the Victim Compensation Fund, you or your loved one must have a qualifying illness recognized by the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP).

The WTCHP provides free medical monitoring, treatment, and benefits to all 9/11 survivors, cleanup workers and volunteers, and first responders with qualifying conditions. The program also covers medically associated conditions which result from the progression or treatment of a certified condition.

There are currently hundreds of conditions and more than 70 cancers recognized as Covered Conditions by the WTCHP. This includes all types of uterine cancer and endometrial cancer, which were added to the List of WTC-Related Health Conditions in January 2023.

Examples of WTCHP qualifying conditions:

  • Acute Traumatic Injuries, including burns, eye injuries, and head trauma.
  • Airway and Digestive Disorders, including asthma, chronic cough syndrome, chronic laryngitis, chronic nasopharyngitis, chronic respiratory disorder- fumes and vapors, chronic rhinosinusitis, gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD), interstitial lung disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), reactive airway dysfunction syndrome (RADS), sleep apnea (medically associated to another airway or digestive disorder), and upper airways hyperreactivity.
  • Cancers, including Blood and lymphoid tissue (including lymphoma, myeloma, and leukemia), breast, childhood cancers, digestive system (including colon and rectum), eye and orbit, ovary, head and neck (oropharynx and tonsil), prostate, mesothelioma, respiratory system (including lung and bronchus), skin (melanoma, non-melanoma and carcinoma in situ), soft and connective tissue, thyroid, urinary system (including kidney and bladder), uterine cancer, and more.
  • Mental Health Conditions (for WTCHP medical benefits only), including acute stress disorder, adjustment disorder, anxiety disorders, depression, dysthymic disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance use disorder, and more.
  • Musculoskeletal Disorders (for WTC First Responders only), including low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and more.

Some conditions have additional requirements. Certification for some respiratory and digestive conditions, for example, requires the onset of your symptoms to occur within a maximum time interval from the date of your last exposure. To be certified for cancer, requirements related to minimum latency (the amount of time that has passed from your initial exposure and date of diagnosis) must be met.

Our attorneys can help evaluate whether you have a qualifying condition recognized by the WTCHP and how we can assist in gathering the documentation needed for certification.

What Do I Need to Prove to Obtain a VCF Award?

To obtain an award from the Victim Compensation Fund, you must prove two primary elements.

  1. You have a qualifying 9/11-related condition that has been certified by the WTC Health Program.
  2. You were physically present at an attack site between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002.

It is not a requirement that you reside near or at an affected site when submitting a VCF claim – survivors, first responders, and others who assisted in cleanup efforts are still eligible no matter where they live in the United States. However, it is necessary to prove that you were present at an affected site during the covered time period.

The physical presence requirement can be satisfied by submitting at least two forms of documentation. Some examples include:

  • Records from an employer showing that you worked in an affected area or assisted with cleanup efforts.
  • Documents that show you resided or attended school within an exposure zone (i.e. utility bills, school records, bank records, etc.)
  • Sworn and notarized affidavits from individuals who witnesses your presence at an affected site.

Our Victim Compensation Fund lawyers provide comprehensive support to help clients gather and submit all necessary documentation and evidence when filing a VCF claim.

How Much Money is My 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Worth?

Victim Compensation Fund awards are calculated on a case-by-case basis. A general formula is as follows:

  • Economic losses, which include past and future lost income; plus
  • Non-economic losses, which compensate for pain, suffering, and loss of quality of life caused by a 9/11-related condition; minus
  • Collateral source payments, which include offsets received from life insurance, pensions, death benefits, 9/11-related lawsuit settlements, and payouts from related government programs.

VCF awards are highly case-specific and depend on factors such as a person’s income prior to their injury or illness, their age at disability, the nature of their illness or injury, and whether they have obtained other related benefits or payments.

Additionally, it is possible for individuals to receive multiple VCF awards if they suffer from new conditions or losses any time before the fund expires in 2090. Because death benefits are also available when a person’s death was caused by a 9/11-related condition, families may receive additional compensation for the death of a loved one who had already received a VCF award.

Our attorneys can evaluate the potential value of your claim and gather the necessary documentation to help you pursue the full amount of compensation to which you are entitled.

How Can a 9/11 Victim Attorney Help?

The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund and WTC Health Program are incredibly valuable programs, but they pose many hurdles for survivors looking to apply. Part of this is due to the careful vetting that’s required to ensure funds and benefits are awarded to people who need and deserve them, and another part is due to the bureaucratic red-tape of government administration.

At Levy Konigsberg, we support survivors by taking care of the complex and time-consuming aspects of the application and approval process. This includes support with certifying a 9/11-related condition, proving that you were present at an affected site, and submitting all evidence and documentation with your claim. We provide step-by-step guidance through the entire process, take the time to answer questions and concerns, and leverage our experience to position clients to recover the maximum compensation possible.

Call For a FREE Consultation: (800) 315-3806

Levy Konigsberg has earned a reputation for championing the rights of victims and families across the country, and is proud to serve all 9/11 survivors, first responders, workers, and volunteers.

If you have questions about the Victim Compensation Fund, World Trade Center Health Program, and your eligibility, we want to help. Our firm charges no up-front fees and offers FREE consultations. Contact us to speak with a lawyer.


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