If you have been diagnosed with a 9/11-related cancer or illness you may be eligible to receive compensation.

9/11 Victim Compensation Fund eligibility guidelines

You did not have to be present on 9/11 to qualify for compensation. Contact us today to learn more.

The terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and the airlines the morning of September 11, 2001, left thousands of victims. While nearly 3,000 died instantly on that horrible day, thousands more will never be the same because they developed a serious health issue due to toxic dust exposure at the WTC and other locations in the exposure zone.

Some continue to live with a serious illness such as cancer while others have passed away as a direct result of their 9/11-related injury or illness.

Fortunately, it didn't take the United States long to recognize their sacrifice. In December 2001, just three months after the terrorist attack, President George W. Bush signed the first funding authorization for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF).

First responders such as those from the New York Police Department (NYPD) and Fire Department New York (FDNY) with a qualifying health condition are eligible for VCF compensation as are several other people who lived, worked, or attended school or daycare in the Ground Zero clean-up area. Could you be eligible for a payment?

How our knowledgeable New York City VCF lawyers can help

We assist people with WTC VCF covered illnesses to apply for and claim their rightful compensation from the United States. Gregory Cannata & Associates will support you through each step of the process, including:

  • Determining eligibility based on your illness and other factors such as time spent in the Ground Zero exposure area.
  • Registering for the World Trade Center Health Program for certification of your covered illness and medical monitoring.
  • Registering for the Victim Compensation Fund and receiving your payment.

This might sound like a simple process because it only has three steps. However, our law firm can assure you that isn't the case. You must answer hundreds of questions and provide significant documentation proving where you were and that your presence at the location directly caused your health condition.

Unfortunately, completing the registration forms wrong and failing to provide the required documentation could mean a denied application or several frustrating delays.

We encourage you to take the most efficient approach from the start by working with our law firm. Gregory Cannata & Associates offers a free consultation to all new clients and operates on a contingency basis for the remainder of your case.

That means you have no out of pocket expenses because we receive payment once your case settles.

Your attorney will go over fees and percentages during your first meeting there is never a fee charged unless we receive an award from the VCF.

Call 1-888-982-8428 today or contact us online for a free lawyer consultation.

Is your WTC illness or cancer eligible for a VCF award?

The World Trade Center Health Program maintains an extensive list of covered conditions. Your first step in the process toward a VCF payout is to determine if you qualify for enrollment. Please note that a physician with the program must still certify your eligibility.

Below is the list of WTC VCF covered illnesses. This list is also available on the CDC's website.

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with these or any other type of cancer, please contact us to learn more about whether you will be eligible to receive compensation from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.

How we enroll you in the WTC Health Program (WTCHP)

If you see your health condition above, the next step is to give us a call and have us enroll you in the WTC Health Program for certification and medical monitoring. However, you must belong to one of these four groups described below. Each group must meet specific criteria regarding location, dates, time, and hours spent in the exposure zone. Don't worry if you do not understand the criteria, we are here to help.

The complicated policies of the WTC Health Program provide for differing amounts of exposure time based upon the nature of your work or presence. Generally, the time frame that the WTC Health Program looks at is between September 11, 2001, and July 31, 2002, but there are exceptions depending upon your individual circumstances.

The Health Program has created guidelines that our VCF attorneys will guide you through and discuss with you the requirements so that you can focus on your health.

WTC Survivors

Any person exposed to toxic dust on the day of the terrorist attack and later developed a serious illness due to the toxic dust falls under the first category of WTC survivor. The second category includes any person who lived, worked, attended school, or attended daycare for children or adults in the New York City disaster zone area as well as those who spent time in the NYC disaster zone.

Cleanup workers who performed maintenance and faced extensive exposure to dust from the World Trade Center but who don't meet the definition of a first responder are the next category of WTC survivors.

Next are WTC survivors eligible for a Lower Manhattan Development Corporation Residential Grant Program. Those who bought or leased a residence in the New York City disaster area and those who lived in that area, and who later developed a serious health condition are also eligible to apply to the VCF.

Last in this category is any person with a qualifying health condition who worked in the exposure zone and maintained eligibility to receive a grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation World Trade Center Small Firms Attraction and Retention Act Program or other incentive programs from the government for the purpose of revitalizing Lower Manhattan after the terrorist attacks.

FDNY Responders

The WTC Health Program provides specific eligibility guidelines for FDNY Responders regarding exposure time and presence. Your VCF lawyer will discuss with you these requirements and your eligibility based on your individual circumstances.

FDNY responders that were involved in rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero, the Staten Island landfill, or the NYC Chief Medical Examiner's office between eligible dates may also qualify for VCF compensation. This group also extends payment for mental health conditions to family members of FDNY responders who passed away for any treatment sought prior to certain timelines.

WTC General Responders

The complicated policies of the WTC Health Program provide for differing amounts of exposure time based upon the nature of your work or presence. Generally, the time frame that the WTC Health Program looks at is between September 11, 2001, and July 31, 2002, but there are exceptions for General Responders depending upon your individual circumstances.

Active and current members of the New York Police Department, Port Authority Police, or the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey also fall under the category of first responders. Most locations are in Lower Manhattan and may be subject to certain eligibility dates and time guidelines.

Employees of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York City or other employees of NYC morgues involved in handling human remains and body bags covered in toxic dust are another category of first responders.

They may have worked at Bellevue Hospital or the NYC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Qualification may depend on certain eligibility dates and guidelines for time spent in a certain location.

The next type of first responder are tunnel workers for the Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation.

Vehicle maintenance workers exposed to WTC debris while cleaning, driving, maintaining, repairing, and retrieving vehicles are the final classification of first responders.

Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania Plane Crash Site Responders

Active or retired police and fire department personnel from the Pentagon cleanup site who worked over a certain amount of time fit this description. Their activities must have included debris cleanup, demolition, recovery, and rescue.

The requirements are the same for the Shanksville plane crash site with the exception of specific dates of eligibility. Your VCF attorney will discuss with you these requirements and your eligibility based on your individual circumstances.

WTC Health Program Documentation Requirements

The types of documents you must produce depend on whether you're a responder or survivor. To confirm your experience with the 9/11 terrorist attack, responders must first produce the following types of documents:

  • Activities and type of work performed
  • Number of hours per day you spent working at each location
  • Time period of your service in each location
  • Address or the name of the street where you completed your work activities

Common examples of acceptable forms of documentation include a letter from your union or employer, workers' compensation board letter, or a timesheet.

WTC survivors caught in the cloud of dust on September 11, 2001, and those who lived, worked, attended school, or attended daycare in the NYC disaster area between September 11, 2001, and July 31, 2002, need to submit documentation that proves the following:

  • Address where you spent the most time during the dates of eligibility
  • Proof of your presence in the dust cloud on 9/11
  • Proof of your eligibility for the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation Residential Grant Program

Examples of acceptable forms of documentation for WTC survivors include a utility bill from the time period, a student identification card, or a paystub.

After completing all these steps, the attorneys at Gregory Cannata & Associates will register you with the World Trade Center Health Program. Again, we want you to know that we are here for you and will guide you through this process.

Registering for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund

After President George W. Bush authorized the first Victim Compensation Fund in December 2001, funding ran through 2004 before the program ran out of money. Early applicants were primarily those with lung conditions caused by toxic dust exposure.

Overall, people with cancer didn't start applying to the VCF until much later since many types of cancer grow slowly. President Barack Obama reauthorized the VCF in 2010 and again in 2015.

In July 2019, President Donald Trump granted permanent authorization to the fund. In addition to the Victim Compensation Fund, you may have heard it referred to as the Health and Compensation Act, the James Zadroga Act, and several other names. James Zadroga was a 34-year-old police officer with the NYPD who died of cancer from toxic exposure in 2005.

You are eligible for a one-time lump sum payment if you have one or more WTC-related health conditions and you fall into one of the four categories described above. The other requirement is that you are enrolled in the WTC Health Program and receive certification from a doctor with the program confirming your specific diagnosis.

Administrators of the VCF disburse funds based on several complex factors. Some of these include your location in the NYC disaster zone, time spent exposed to toxic dust, and several others. The fund pays economic loss, which covers lost wages and earning potential, as well as non-economic damages where applicable.

It's normal to feel overwhelmed and frustrated with the number of questions you must answer and the documentation you must provide. The latter can be especially challenging when you're trying to track down documents that could be nearly 20 years old.

The good news is that you don't have to go through this process yourself. Your personal injury attorney from Gregory Cannata & Associates will be with you every step of the way.

Discuss your eligibility with an experienced 9/11 lawyer today

We realize this is a lot of information to process, and we certainly don't expect you to remember everything. Your personal injury attorney will make sure that you understand each part of the process during your first meeting with Gregory Cannata & Associates.

Since the earliest days of the VCF, our attorneys have worked tirelessly to help the victims of one of the darkest days in the modern history of the United States. We offer you the same commitment.

The VCF now has the funds to operate until 2090. Because each new reauthorization means more WTC VCF covered illnesses, we encourage you to work with us even if VCF administrators have turned you down in the past.

Should you receive another denial, we will be there to challenge the decision on your behalf. If you want to avoid the frustration of unnecessary delays, it's in your best interest to work with a legal team that has helped hundreds of other 9/11 victims receive their rightful compensation.

You may call us at 1-888-982-8428 or complete a contact request form on our website to request your free initial consultation.

We will make every effort to return your call by the next business day. You have made a wise decision by choosing to work with the legal team of Gregory Cannata & Associates.

We look forward to helping you claim the compensation you so richly deserve.