A diagnosis of cancer is always stressful and potentially tragic. Except for genetic cases, cancer is often random and difficult to predict. That’s not the case when you develop cancer due to toxic dust exposure from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Whether you worked as a unit of first responders, as part of a debris removal crew, or simply lived or worked in the area, you could be eligible for compensation from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act. The VCF provides financial support to eligible people with one of more than 75 types of cancer.
Based in New York City, Gregory Cannata & Associates has the expertise to assist you with determining your eligibility for compensation from the VCF, applying to the World Trade Center Health Program, and filing a VCF claim.
Even if you have applied in the past and received a denial or aren’t sure if you meet current eligibility guidelines, we encourage you to reserve your free consultation by calling 1-888-982-8428. We do not charge a fee for our initial consultation. You also don’t need to worry about paying anything upfront for our legal services. If we are successful in helping you obtain money from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, we collect our fee at that time. 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.
President George W. Bush originally authorized funds for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund in December 2001, just three months after the terrorist attack. Funding for the program ran out in 2004 and remained dormant until 2010. By that time, it was clear that thousands of additional people suffered illness due to their presence in the exposure zone. The exposure zone covers the World Trade Center site and surrounds, anywhere in lower Manhattan south of Canal Street, the Pentagon, and the plane crash site in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. There are additional limited exceptions and our attorneys can discuss this with you.
President Barack Obama reauthorized the VCF in 2010 and again in 2015. In July 2019, President Donald Trump reauthorized it permanently. The VCF will now run until 2090, which extended the time for anyone who developed cancer after 2001 to make a claim. Our firm has been instrumental and advocated aggressively for these extensions.
You may hear people refer to the fund as any of the following:
James Zadroga and Luis Alvarez were police detectives with the NYPD while Ray Pfeiffer was a firefighter with FDNY. Each died from cancer-related to toxic exposure while they acted as first responders after the terrorist attack. Originally, the legislation contained only James Zadroga’s name. Both Alvarez and Pfeiffer testified in the hearing to grant permanent reauthorization to the VCF while battling Stage 4 lung cancer. Alvarez passed away in June 2019, one month before President Trump signed permanent reauthorization.
Besides location, the other main qualification is that you were physically present at or near one of these exposure zones between September 11, 2001, and May 30, 2002. The VCF provides compensation to first responders such as members of the New York Police Department (NYPD) and Fire Department New York (FDNY) and EMS workers. People who lived worked, attended school, or attended daycare for children or adults in the exposure zone and later developed cancer may also be eligible. Surviving family members of those who died due to toxic exposure are also eligible to apply for WTC VCF cancer payouts.
Program rules don’t require your physical presence at or near Ground Zero on 9/11 to claim eligibility. When determining your VCF award, administrators of the Fund follow a complex set of criteria that requires them to take into account both your location and time of exposure.
Many people find this challenging to navigate on their own, especially when undergoing treatment for cancer at the same time. The attorneys at the Gregory Cannata & Associates are highly experienced and regarded in gathering and reviewing the appropriate information to help ensure the success of an award. Before you can receive a VCF Award, we will register you with the World Trade Center Health Program to obtain a certification of causation. We will guide you further through this process.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) oversees the WTC Health Program and provides detailed information about the program on its website. The WTC Health program coordinates medical treatment and offers medical monitoring for each of its participants. Your first step is to ensure that you meet one of the classifications below.
WTC survivors are those who lived, worked, attended school, or attended daycare in the entire NYC Disaster Area. Eligibility varies depending on role and location. 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 in a complex spreadsheet. Your attorneys will guide you through this process and discuss with you the requirements so that you can focus on your health.
Fire Department of New York employees involved in rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero, the Staten Island landfill, or the New York City Chief Medical Examiner’s Office. Any surviving family member who received mental health treatment for help in coping with their loss may receive compensation for services.
This category covers several classifications of people. The first are those who volunteered or worked in debris cleanup, recovery, or rescue in Lower Manhattan south of Canal Street, the Staten Island Landfill, or certain peers associated with barge loading.
The second category of general responders includes active and retired members of the NYC Police Department, Port Authority Police, or the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Claimants must have been involved in debris clean-up, rescue and recovery efforts, or related activities.
General responders who worked or volunteered on-site at Ground Zero, the Staten Island Landfill, or specific barge loading piers are also eligible.
Morgue workers and employees of the NYC Chief Medical Examiner involved in handling human remains or body bags covered in toxic dust are the third category of general responders.
Tunnel worker employees of the Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation.
Vehicle maintenance workers make up the last category of general responders. Although they have no specific location requirements, they must have faced toxic exposure from the World Trade Center while engaged in cleaning, driving, repairing, or retrieving vehicles that contained contaminated toxins.
First responders at the Pentagon site in Arlington Virginia or the Shanksville, Pennsylvania plane crash site who performed debris removal, rescue and recovery, demolition, and related services are eligible for WTC VCF cancer payouts. As well as active or retired police officers or firefighters.
Nearly 70 types of cancers are currently covered by the Victim Compensation Fund and the World Trade Center Health Program (“WTCHP”) under the Zadroga Act. Claims due to 9/11-related cancer are among the most common type of claims filed with the fund each year.
The first category of eligible cancers covered under the fund includes blood and lymphoid tissue cancer including leukemia, myeloma, and lymphoma but not limited to these three types. The primary classifications of blood and lymphoid tissue cancers include:
Eligible digestive system cancers include:
Eye and adnexa cancer have just one classification with several subcategories. The same is true of female breast cancer while female reproductive cancer covers only a diagnosis that involves the ovaries.
Head and neck cancers fall under several classifications. These include:
Respiratory cancers eligible for a VCF award include:
Skin cancer includes those diagnosed as either melanoma or non-melanoma. Undefined malignant neoplasms also qualify.
Soft tissue cancer covers several miscellaneous types as well as the automatic nervous system and cancer of the peripheral nerves.
Thyroid cancer includes any cancer that originates in the thyroid gland.
Urinary system cancer includes these types:
Rounding up the list of health conditions eligible for WTC VCF cancer payouts are mesothelioma and rare cancers. The definition of the latter is any cancer diagnosed in 15 or fewer people per 100,000 each year.
With the possibility of developing so many different types of cancer from your work or proximity to a known exposure zone, it’s impossible to state the symptoms for each. You know your health and body best. We strongly recommend that you schedule an appointment with your doctor if you notice changes that don’t improve. For example, maybe you feel excessively fatigued and that doesn’t go away even when you sleep 10 hours a night. Maybe you feel a lump or notice that you need to use the bathroom much more than usual. Whatever the situation, don’t hesitate to bring it to the attention of a medical professional.
Our attorneys will help you enroll in the World Trade Center Health Program and supply them with the appropriate records they need. After a review of those records and in some circumstances a visit to the Health Program, if appropriate a Certification of causation will be issued for your specific illnesses. If you are without resources to pay for medical care, generally the Health Program will provide treatment without cost to you.
Our attorneys monitor the progress of the process and certification is a key element of approval within the Victim Compensation Fund.
Our attorneys will immediately register you with the Victim Compensation Fund, and also help you get registered with the WTC Health Program, the goal being to get a certification issued by the Health Program that your illness is related to your exposures after September 11, 2001.
The VCF considers awards in two general categories. A non-economic loss which is meant to provide compensation for the pain and suffering of your illness. This includes the physical suffering you have endured and will endure as a result of living with cancer or other World Trade Center-related illnesses. The Fund also considers economic loss, generally meant to compensate you for lost earnings as a result of your illness. If you suffering completely debilitating, awards can generally compensate your lost earning through age 65. It is critical to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer with extensive knowledge of the Zadroga Act and the Victim Compensation Fund who can aggressively argue and submit proof why you should receive the maximum allowable amounts for both non-economic and economic losses.
If your loved one has passed away from his/her 9/11 illness, an additional claim is made on behalf of the estate allowing for additional compensation.
The attorneys and staff at Gregory Cannata & Associates are sorry that you must deal with cancer due to toxic exposure or that you lost a loved one for the same reason. We are on your side and will help you qualify and register for both the WTC Health Program and VCF as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Please contact us today at 1-888-982-8428 or complete our contact form to request a free initial consultation. With no out-of-pocket costs unless you receive a VCF award, it’s in your best interest to start the process today.