Has the deadline to file a claim passed, or is there still time? The seemingly conflicting information out there has led to confusion and missed opportunities for 9/11 victims. Here’s what you need to know.
There is time, but the deadline is nearing. The original Zadroga Act, signed into law in January of 2011 by President Obama, created the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, as well as the World Trade Center Health Program. The VCF provided financial reimbursement for the medical expenses of injured first responders, survivors and clean-up crews. The WTCHP provided direct health services to those individuals.
Both of those programs did, in fact, expire in September of 2015. At that point, the fund was no longer authorized to accept additional claims for compensation.
The Victim’s Compensation Fund deadline is extended.
After much political maneuvering in Washington, Congress re-authorized the Zadroga Act three months later. This effort allocated an additional $4.6 billion to the Fund. And, in fact, the benefits were an improvement over the original fund’s guidelines, since "intangible losses" such as loss of wages due to 9/11-related illness were now covered, as well as direct medical expenses.
Why was the Victim Compensation Fund deadline extended? The continually rising number of cancer diagnosis among responders – as well as area residents, workers and students – offered a grim realization of the long-term effects of the carcinogenic cloud of dust from the collapse of the towers. Due to the latency period of most cancers, tumor growth and symptoms did not begin to appear until years after that exposure.
The extended deadline for claims is December 18, 2020.
It’s important to note that several things must take place before 9/11 cancer victims can file their claim with the extended Victim Compensation Fund: a medical diagnosis of cancer; a certification by the WTC Health Program that the cancer is 9/11-related; and registration with the VCF (a pre-requisite for filing a claim).
Find out more about Victim Compensation Fund Deadlines.
If you meet those requirements, file your claim by the end of 2020, and have your claim accepted by the VCF, you may receive financial compensation. Due to the long-term effects of many types of cancer, this ensures life-long benefits for certified 9/11 victims.
The VCF extended deadline means there is still time to make a claim.
Remember also that you don’t have to be a first responder or other city worker to file for compensation. Anyone who was in the exposure zone for certain lengths of time between September 11, 2001 and July 31, 2002 may be eligible.
Most successful claims against the 9/11 Victim’s Compensation Fund are handled through attorneys who thoroughly understand the complex claims process, as well as the factors Fund officials consider most important in making their determination.