Year in Review
The Victim Compensation Fund is Permanently Extended
Here’s what you have to do now
This year, the 9/11 community achieved a historic victory, the permanent extension of the Victim Compensation Fund. Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of activists and advocates, the 9/11 community will have access to health care and compensation for 9/11 illnesses for the rest of their lives.
What To Do Now
Get medical monitoring and treatment: All active and retired FDNY members who responded on 9/11 should make sure to go to their WTC medicals. Do not blow this off. As responders, you were in the epicenter of the disaster, and had the most severe exposure. You must be diligent about monitoring your health. Early detection can save your life.
Get a skin cancer check yearly: Everyone who was exposed should go for annual skin checks. 68 different cancers have been linked to exposure to the toxic dust, and skin cancers are the most common.
Find out whether you have been certified: Once an illness has been certified as WTC-related, you are entitled to health care and compensation for that condition. Therefore, it’s extremely important that you know which conditions you have been certified for. You can find out whether you have been certified when you go for your WTC medical exam, or you can call the WTC Health Program Help Line at 888-982-4748.
If you believe that you have a condition that should be certified, make sure you bring this up at your WTC medical exam.
File a claim with the Victim Compensation Fund: You have two years from the date of certification to file a claim with the Victim Compensation Fund. Wrongful death claims must be filed within two years of death. Filing a claim does not waive your rights for illnesses or economic losses that you suffer in the future. Speak to us about how we can help.
Get your Proof of Presence Affidavits NOW: All applicants to the VCF must submit proof of presence along with their claim. For FDNY firefighters who were active on 9/11, the FDNY Pension Unit has a Notice of Participation on file for you. For those of you who were already retired on 9/11, sworn affidavits from witnesses who saw you in the exposure zone are the best proof. Finding witnesses gets harder every year as people move, grow apart, businesses close, and life changes. If you know that you can serve as a witness for someone, reach out to them and let them know. And if you were exposed and don’t have your proof of presence, find your witnesses now, and have them fill out a form affidavit. These affidavits do not need to be notarized and are available at our website (.
Spread the word: Many people are under the impression that the WTC Health Program and the VCF are only for first responders. That’s absolutely incorrect. People living, working, or going to school in lower Manhattan on 9/11 or during the 8 months that followed qualify. It is so important that victims know their rights. There were more than 400,000 people in Lower Manhattan. Responders came from all over the country, office workers returned to work, students and teachers and staff went back to school, and residents and workers resumed life in their homes and neighborhoods. Hundreds of thousands of people are unaware of the free health care and compensation they are entitled to. If you know someone who might qualify, please let them know. We would be happy to talk to them about their rights.
As always, please call us at 212-385-8000 if you have any questions.