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Section 1: Eligibility Criteria and Deadlines

Date effective
January 5, 2021

Overview

The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund ("VCF") was created on September 22, 2001, by Public Law No. 107-42, as amended by Public Law No. 107-71, to provide compensation for any individual (or a personal representative of a deceased individual) who suffered physical harm or was killed as a result of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes of September 11, 2001, or the debris removal efforts that took place in the immediate aftermath of those crashes.  The original VCF (“VCF I”) operated from 2001-2004 under the direction of Special Master Kenneth Feinberg, and distributed over $7 billion.  VCF I concluded operations in June 2004.

On January 2, 2011, the President signed into law the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 (“Zadroga Act”), Public Law No. 111-347.  Title II of the Zadroga Act reactivated the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (“VCF II”), expanded its pool of eligible claimants, and appropriated $2.775 billion for additional payments.  VCF II opened in October 2011 and was originally authorized to accept claims for a period of five years, ending in October 2016, with a final year for processing and paying claims until October 2017. 

On December 18, 2015, the President signed into law the James Zadroga 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Reauthorization Act (“Reauthorized Zadroga Act”), Public Law No. 114-113.  The Reauthorized Zadroga Act extended VCF II for an additional five years, allowing individuals to submit claims until December 18, 2020, and appropriated an additional $4.6 billion to pay claims.

On July 29, 2019, the President signed into law The Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, Public Law. No (“VCF Permanent Authorization Act”), Public Law No. 116-34.  The VCF Permanent Authorization Act extends the VCF’s claim filing deadline from December 18, 2020, to October 1, 2090, and appropriates such funds as may be necessary to pay all approved claims.

Regulations governing the VCF’s review of claims are published at 28 C.F.R. Part 104.  Collectively, the laws governing the VCF are referred to below as the “VCF Act.”

 

1.1  Eligibility Criteria  

To be eligible for an award from the VCF, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Register with the VCF by the deadline applicable to your individual circumstances, see Section 1.2, and submit your complete claim no later than October 1, 2090.
  • Dismiss, withdraw, and/or settle any 9/11-related lawsuits by the appropriate deadline.
  • Show that you have a 9/11-related physical injury or condition that is certified for treatment by the World Trade Center (“WTC”) Health Program or, in limited circumstances, that you have a physical injury or condition that was treated by your private physician and verified as 9/11-related through the VCF’s Private Physician process.
  • Show that you were present at one of the attack sites, within the New York City Exposure Zone, or along the routes of debris removal at some point during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, through May 30, 2002.
  • If you received an award from the original September 11th Victim Compensation Fund that operated from 2001-2004 (“VCF1”), you must show that your VCF1 eligible injury or condition has substantially worsened, or that you have a new physical injury or condition which you had not suffered at the time of the VCF1 claim filing or which was not compensable at the time of VCF1; and that you have not already been fully compensated for your losses.  
  • If you are filing a claim on the victim’s behalf (i.e., as a Personal Representative for a deceased victim, or for an incapacitated adult), you must show that you have the legal authority to do so.  See Section 1.9 for specific information on demonstrating you have the proper authority to file the claim.

 

1.2  Registration and Claim Filing Deadlines  

There are two deadlines in the VCF’s claim filing process: a Claim Filing Deadline and a Registration Deadline.  It is important to distinguish between the two and be aware of the deadlines that apply based on your individual circumstances.  

The Claim Filing Deadline 

The VCF Permanent Authorization Act fully funded the VCF and extended the VCF’s Claim Filing Deadline until October 1, 2090The Claim Filing Deadline is the same for everyone.  Although the VCF encourages you to file your claim after you have been certified by the World Trade Center (“WTC”) Health Program for a 9/11-related physical health condition and as soon as the full scope of your claimed losses are known so that your claim for compensation can be reviewed as quickly as possible, the last date on which anyone can file a claim is October 1, 2090.

 

The Registration Deadline 

There is a separate deadline by which you need to register with the VCF.  Registration is not the same as filing a claim.  Registration preserves the right to file your claim in the future, waives no legal rights, and does not obligate you to file a claim.  Registration serves only to alert the VCF that you may be a potential claimant; and it meets the legal requirement of timeliness set forth in the law.  You do not need to be sick or to have been diagnosed or certified with a 9/11-related condition in order to register.  The VCF encourages you to register now.  To register with the VCF you must do one of the following:

  1. Use the online system to submit your Registration Form.
  2. Call the VCF Helpline at 1-855-885-1555 to register by phone.

In general, claimants are considered to have registered on time if their registration is submitted within two years of the date on which the claimant knew or reasonably should have known: (1) that the victim suffered a physical harm as a result of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes of September 11, 2001, or debris removal in the immediate aftermath, and (2) that the claimant was eligible to file a claim with the VCF. See Section 405(c)(3)(A)(i) of the VCF Act. This means that a claimant must know (or reasonably should know) both of the physical injury or condition and that there is a causal connection between the injury or condition and 9/11-related exposure. 

The Registration Deadline is not the same for everyone. The Registration Deadline is determined according to claim type, and varies based on individual circumstances. 

 

  • ALL CLAIMS: If you registered a personal injury or deceased claim on or before July 29, 2021, you have met your registration deadline and your eventual claim, should you file one, will be determined to be timely filed.
     
  • Personal Injury Claims: You are required to register within two years of the date on which a federal, state, or local government entity notifies you that your physical health condition is 9/11-related.  In most cases, and for most claimants, the government entity providing this notification will be the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program:
    • If you are certified by the WTC Health Program for a physical health condition, the two-year registration period is counted from the date of the most recent certification. 
    • If you are not certified by the WTC Health Program, then the two years will be counted from the date that the New York Workers’ Compensation Board or one of the New York City employer pension funds (FDNY, NYPD, NCYERS) determined that you were eligible for 9/11-related benefits.[1] 
    • If neither of the above applies, but you qualify for the VCF’s Private Physician Process and your condition is verified by the VCF as 9/11-related, then your registration deadline is deemed to have been met.
    • If you are not certified by the WTC Health Program and have no other determination that your condition is 9/11-related, then you may register at any time.
       
  • Deceased Claims: If the victim previously registered a personal injury claim by the applicable deadline, the deceased claim is automatically considered to have been timely registered.  If the victim did not timely register a prior claim, the Personal Representative is required to register the deceased claim within two years of the later of these dates:
    • Victim’s date of death – or
    • Date on which the VCF (through the Private Physician Process) verifies the condition that caused the death as 9/11-related.

For both personal injury and deceased claims, a new or subsequent government determination that a specific physical condition or injury is 9/11-related triggers a new two-year registration period. Per VCF policy, if registration is timely for any condition or injury, all eligible conditions – no matter when determined to be 9/11-related (and regardless of whether there had been a prior timely registration) – may be considered for an award, subject to the other requirements of the VCF claims process.

Please note that the WTC Health Program and the VCF are different programs. The WTC Health Program provides medical monitoring and treatment for physical injuries and conditions resulting from 9/11 exposure. The VCF provides compensation for losses resulting from physical injuries and conditions related to 9/11 exposure. You must register for each of these programs separately. Enrollment in the WTC Health Program does not automatically register you with the VCF and if you are being treated by, or monitored through, the WTC Health Program, you are not automatically eligible for compensation from the VCF.

For further information, please see the “Registration and Other Deadlines” Frequently Asked  Questions on the VCF website.

 

[1] Please note that a determination of this sort, which is sufficient to establish that the claimant reasonably should have known that he or she was eligible to file a claim, is not necessarily sufficient to establish that a claimant suffers from an “eligible condition” or that the claimant has a disability that warrants an economic loss award.

 

When to Register and When to File a Claim 

You may register at any time, so long as you do so before your individual deadline as outlined above.  The VCF encourages early registration for all potential claimants, even if you are not sick or certified by the WTC Health Program, as it helps us establish our priorities, plan for our work, and process all claims as quickly as possible.  You may register online at www.claims.vcf.gov or over the phone by calling the VCF Helpline at 1-855-885-1555.

You should file your claim only after you have been certified by the WTC Health Program for a 9/11-related physical health condition.  This could happen anytime between now and when the WTC Health Program closes in 2090.  The VCF encourages you to file your claim after you have been certified and the full scope of your losses are known so that we can review your claim as quickly as possible to evaluate your eligibility for compensation. Claims can be filed at www.claims.vcf.gov/account/login or on a hard copy claim form.  

 

 

1.3  9/11-Related Lawsuits  

As a general rule, you cannot have an active 9/11-related lawsuit at the time you submit your VCF claim or amend your claim to add a new eligible condition.  You must identify all 9/11-related lawsuits when you submit your claim form.  A 9/11-related lawsuit is any civil action in which you are seeking to recover damages based on your presence at a 9/11 crash site, your exposure to toxins, or a theory of causation related to your VCF-eligible condition or a VCF- compensable death (e.g., product liability, medical malpractice, etc.).  Note that if you participated in a civil action subsequent to receiving an award in VCF1 (which also required the waiver of a right to file a civil action), you may not seek compensation in VCF2.  This also applies to a representative of a deceased victim who received a VCF1 award and on whose behalf a subsequent lawsuit was filed. 

There are specific requirements for the date on which your 9/11-related lawsuit must have been filed, withdrawn, dismissed, or settled and released in order to be eligible for compensation from the VCF. The VCF Act provides that you may either seek compensation from the VCF or you may file a lawsuit, but you cannot do both except under certain circumstances as explained below.

a. Waiver of right to file future lawsuits  

When you submit a VCF claim, you waive your right to file a civil action (or to be a party to an action) in any federal or state court for damages sustained as a result of the terrorist- related aircraft crashes of 9/11, or for damages arising from or related to debris removal. This means that you waive your right to be party to a future lawsuit even before the VCF determines whether or not you are entitled to compensation. For deceased individuals, the Personal Representative will waive his/her rights to file any future action seeking compensation for the decedent's death. The statute may be interpreted to mean that the submission of a claim for a deceased individual will waive the rights of others who may claim the right to file a wrongful death action.

There are two exceptions to this general “waiver” rule – that is, there are two types of permissible lawsuits that you can pursue and still file a claim with the VCF:

  • A civil action to recover collateral source obligations.
  • A civil action against any person who is a "knowing participant in any conspiracy to hijack any aircraft or commit any terrorist act." This includes lawsuits based on theories of aiding and abetting or assisting an attempt to commit a terrorist act.

b.  Permissible lawsuits  

As noted above, there are two types of 9/11-related lawsuits that you can pursue and still file a claim with the VCF. First, you may pursue a civil action to recover collateral source obligations. Collateral sources are defined by the statute to mean all sources, including life insurance, pension funds, death benefit programs, settlement payments from September 11th-related lawsuits, and payments by federal, state, or local governments related to the terrorist-related aircraft crashes of September 11, 2001, or debris removal. Second, you may pursue a civil action against any person who is a "knowing participant in any conspiracy to hijack any aircraft or commit any terrorist act." This includes lawsuits based on theories of aiding and abetting or assisting an attempt to commit a terrorist act. Examples of lawsuits that fall into this category include (but are not limited to) the following lawsuits filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York:

  • Gallop v. Riggs National Corp., et al. (Docket No. 1:04-cv-07281-GBD-FM)
  • Burnett, et al v. Al Baraka Investment (Docket No. 1:03-cv-05738-GBD)
  • Ashton, et al v. Al Qaeda Islamic, et al. (Docket No. 1:02-cv-06977-GBD-FM)

Claimants who participate in a lawsuit under the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (“JASTA”), Pub. Law No. 114-222, may still file a VCF claim. See VCF Act, Section 405(c)(3)(C)(i). Any compensation awarded by the court in the lawsuit or obtained in a settlement of litigation will be treated as an offset and deducted from your VCF award.

c.  If you withdrew or dismissed your lawsuit without settlement   

If you had filed a 9/11-related lawsuit at any time prior to submitting a VCF claim, there are specific dates by which you must have withdrawn or dismissed that lawsuit in order to be eligible for compensation from the VCF.

Under 28 C.F.R. § 104.61, any person who has filed or is a party to a lawsuit seeking damages for injuries “sustained as a result of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes of September 11, 2001, or for damages arising from or related to debris removal” may not “file a claim with the Special Master unless they withdraw from such action not later than January 2, 2012.”

Required documentation for withdrawn 9/11-related lawsuits: You must submit proof of timely withdrawal of your lawsuit with your claim. You may submit either a court order establishing that the action has been discontinued and/or dismissed, dated on or before January 2, 2012, or a notice/letter of withdrawal filed on the Electronic Case Files (“ECF”) system in the relevant docket on or before January 2, 2012. You must also submit the final order of the court confirming the withdrawal or dismissal of all claims. That order may be dated after January 2, 2012, only if you have provided proof that you filed a notice of withdrawal on the ECF system in the relevant docket on or before January 2, 2012.

Rule for Newly Covered Conditions and Lawsuits Filed Before November 2016:[1] If the condition for which you are seeking compensation from the VCF was added to the list of qualified injuries after January 2, 2012, your proof of timely withdrawal or dismissal from any lawsuit must be dated no later than the date you submit your claim or amendment seeking compensation for that condition. The court order establishing that the action has been discontinued and/or dismissed, or the notice/letter of withdrawal filed on the ECF system in the relevant docket, must be dated on or before the date you submit your claim or amendment. In cases meeting these criteria, where withdrawal or dismissal occurred after January 2, 2012, only newly covered conditions will be considered eligible for compensation. This means that even if you have other certified or verified conditions, regardless of when they were certified or verified, they will not be eligible for compensation unless they were added to the list of qualified injuries after January 2, 2012, and you withdrew or dismissed your lawsuit prior to filing your claim or amendment.

d.  If you settled your lawsuit  

If you had filed a 9/11-related lawsuit prior to submitting a VCF claim and settled any of the claims set forth in the lawsuit, there are specific dates by which you must have tendered a release of the settled claims and dismissed any remaining unsettled claims.

The VCF will accept claims with settled 9/11-related lawsuits if you meet the following conditions:

  1. The lawsuit was commenced after December 22, 2003, and a release of claims in such lawsuit was tendered by the individual, or by the individual's attorney (provided the attorney has authority to tender the release) prior to January 2, 2011; and
  2. You dismissed any claims that were not settled on or before January 2, 2012.

You may have settled all your claims and, in that case, as long as the lawsuit was commenced after December 22, 2003, and the release was tendered by January 2, 2011, you can submit a claim to the VCF. The VCF Act states that if an individual tendered a release after the VCF Act was enacted on January 2, 2011, the individual is not eligible for the VCF.

Note: The VCF cannot provide information about private settlements. The VCF is a Federal Government program and is separate from the lawsuits between individuals and the Port Authority, the Captive Insurer, and others. Individuals with questions about those settlements should contact their lawyers.

The VCF Act provides that the award from settlements in civil suits regarding injuries related to 9/11 will be counted as a collateral source offset. Therefore, settlement payments from lawsuits that were timely settled and released will be deducted from VCF awards.

Required documentation for settled lawsuits:

You must certify on your claim form that you have satisfied the requirements for settling your lawsuit. In many cases, the VCF can obtain additional information from third parties.  If the VCF is unable to obtain the required settlement information from third parties, we will contact you and you will be required to provide the settlement information before we can continue processing your claim.

If you were represented by Douglas & London or Napoli, Bern, Ripka, Shkolnik (“Napoli Bern”) in your lawsuit, you generally do not need to submit additional documents related to your settlement because the VCF may be able to get the necessary information from Douglas & London or Napoli Bern. If you were represented by Sullivan Papain Block McGrath and Cannavo (“Sullivan Papain”) in both your lawsuit and your VCF claim, the VCF may be able to get the necessary information from Sullivan Papain. The VCF will notify you if you need to submit any additional documents.

For all other individuals, the VCF generally needs proof documenting the amount of your settlement, the dates of commencement and release of all claims in the lawsuit, and the order dismissing any claims not part of the settlement. If an attorney signed and submitted the release on behalf of the individual or the individual's dependent, spouse, or beneficiary, a copy of the retainer agreement with the attorney in the settled lawsuit must be submitted as proof that the attorney was authorized to sign the release. If you do not have any of these documents, you may still submit your claim form because the VCF may be able to obtain them from third parties. The VCF will notify you if additional information is needed.

All Claimants who received coverage for certain cancers under a Critical Injury Insurance policy through Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (MetLife) as part of their 9/11-related lawsuit settlement are required to provide the VCF with a copy of their policy document and the amount of any payment received under the policy.

Rule for Newly Covered Conditions and Lawsuits Filed Before November 16, 2016:[2] If the condition for which you are seeking compensation from the VCF was added to the list of qualified injuries after January 2, 2012, you must meet the following requirements in order to be eligible for compensation from the VCF:

  1. Your acceptance of settlement and release of claims must have been tendered on or before the date on which the condition for which you are seeking compensation was added to the list of qualified injuries by the World Trade Center Health Program.
  2. Your proof of timely withdrawal or dismissal of any remaining claims must be dated no later than the date you submit your claim or amendment seeking compensation for that condition. The court order establishing that the action has been discontinued and/or dismissed, or the notice/letter of withdrawal filed on the ECF system in the relevant docket, must be dated on or before the date you submit your claim or amendment.

In cases meeting these criteria, where settlement occurred after January 2, 2011, only newly covered conditions will be considered eligible for compensation. This means that even if you have other certified or verified conditions, regardless of when they were certified or verified, they will not be eligible for compensation unless they were added to the list of qualified injuries after January 2, 2012, you settled and released your lawsuit prior to the date the specific condition was added to the list of qualified injuries, and you properly withdrew or dismissed any remaining lawsuits prior to filing your claim or amendment.

The chart below outlines the litigation settlement, withdrawal, and dismissal rules for filing a VCF claim.

Chart of Litigation Settlement/Dismissal Rules

Settlement and/or Dismissal?

Lawsuit Filing Date

Date by which lawsuit must be Dismissed/Withdrawn/Settled

Settlement of all Claims

After 12/22/2003 and before November 16, 2016

For conditions on original WTC Health Program list or traumatic injuries:

  • Settled fully and release tendered on or before January 2, 2011.

For newly covered conditions:

  • Settled fully and release tendered on or before the date on which NIOSH added the individual’s eligible condition to the list of qualified physical injuries.  Those dates are:
    • October 12, 2012, for the various cancers identified in the WTC Health Program rule of the same date
    • October 21, 2013, for Prostate Cancer
    • February 18, 2014, for Rare Cancers that meet the definition as explained by the WTC Health Program on the same date
    • August 4, 2016, for New-Onset COPD

 

This is condition specific – that is, timely settlement/ release based on specific conditions does not render earlier conditions for which an individual may be certified or verified (on which a lawsuit was not timely settled/released) eligible for compensation.  This is true regardless of the date on which the earlier condition is certified or verified.

Settlement + Dismissal: Lawsuit Partially Settled and Unsettled Claims Dismissed

After 12/22/2003 and before November 16, 2016

For conditions on original WTC Health Program list or traumatic injuries:

  • Release tendered on or before January 2, 2011.
  • Unsettled claims withdrawn/dismissed on or before January 2, 2012.

For newly covered conditions:

  • Release tendered before the date on which the WTC Health Program added the individual’s eligible condition to the list of qualified physical injuries.
  • Unsettled claims withdrawn/dismissed before submitting the VCF claim form or amendment.

 

This is condition specific – that is, timely settlement/release/dismissal based on specific conditions does not render earlier conditions for which an individual may be certified or verified (on which a lawsuit was not timely settled/released/dismissed) eligible for compensation. This is true regardless of the date on which the earlier condition is certified or verified.

Dismissal: Lawsuit Fully Dismissed or Withdrawn (no settlement)

Before November 16, 2016

For conditions on original WTC Health Program list or traumatic injuries:

  • Dismissal/withdrawal before January 2, 2012 (notice of withdrawal will suffice).

For newly covered conditions:

  • Dismissal/withdrawal before submitting the VCF claim or amendment (notice of withdrawal will suffice).

 

This is condition specific – that is, timely dismissal based on specific conditions does not render earlier conditions for which an individual may be certified or verified (on which a lawsuit was not timely dismissed) eligible for compensation. This is true regardless of the date on which the earlier condition is certified or verified.

 

1.4  Eligible Conditions (WTC-Related Physical Health Conditions)   

To be eligible for compensation from the VCF, you must have a physical injury or condition caused by the terrorist-related aircraft crashes of September 11, 2001, or the rescue, recovery, and debris removal efforts during the immediate aftermath. The statute requires that, to be eligible, you must have at least one WTC-Related Physical Health Condition.  

a. Presumptively covered conditions eligible for compensation  

To be eligible for compensation, the VCF Act requires an individual to have suffered “physical harm or death as a result of” one of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes of September 11, 2001, or debris removal. Generally, the VCF provides compensation for the physical injuries and conditions that the WTC Health Program has found to be related to 9/11 and therefore are on the list of conditions established by the WTC Health Program. Thus, as a general matter, the VCF will rely on certification by the WTC Health Program that the individual is eligible for treatment for a particular physical injury or condition under the WTC Health Program.  By statute, the VCF may not compensate for psychological conditions, but the WTC Health Program provides mental health treatment as part of their healthcare services.  Please see Section 1.4.e for more information specific to mental health conditions.

Listed below are the categories of physical health injuries and conditions that may be certified by the WTC Health Program (“presumptively covered conditions”). This list includes the most recent additions to the list effective as of August 4, 2016. This list includes only major categories of conditions and is not meant to represent every type of eligible injury that falls within each category:

  • Interstitial Lung Diseases
  • Chronic Respiratory Disorder – Fumes/Vapors
  • Asthma
  • Reactive Airways Dysfunction Syndrome (“RADS”)
  • WTC-exacerbated Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (“COPD”)
  • New Onset Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (“COPD”)
  • Chronic Cough Syndrome
  • Upper Airway Hyper Reactivity
  • Chronic Rhinosinusitis
  • Chronic Nasopharyngitis
  • Chronic Laryngitis
  • Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disorder (“GERD”)
  • Sleep Apnea exacerbated by, associated with, or related to, the above conditions
  • Low Back Pain occurring in responders
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (“CTS”) occurring in responders
  • Certain Musculoskeletal Disorders (“MSK”) occurring in responders and defined as “a chronic or recurrent disorder of the musculoskeletal system caused by heavy lifting or repetitive strain on the joints or musculoskeletal system occurring during” the period beginning on September 11, 2001, through May 30, 2002, or as determined by the Special Master (Note: the VCF may compensate MSK in survivors if appropriate proof is provided)
  • Acute Traumatic Injuries – the WTC Health Program defines acute traumatic injury as an injury “caused by and occurring immediately after a one-time exposure to energy such as heat, electricity or impact from a crash or fall, resulting from a specific event or incident” for which the claimant received medical treatment on or before September 11, 2003

Certain types of cancer as specified in the chart below:

Head & Neck

  • Malignant neoplasm of lip
  • Malignant neoplasm of base of tongue
  • Malignant neoplasm of other and unspecified parts of tongue
  • Malignant neoplasm of parotid gland
  • Malignant neoplasm of other and unspecified major salivary glands
  • Malignant neoplasm of floor of mouth
  • Malignant neoplasm of gum
  • Malignant neoplasm of palate
  • Malignant neoplasm of other and unspecified parts of mouth
  • Malignant neoplasm of tonsil
  • Malignant neoplasm of oropharynx
  • Malignant neoplasm of nasopharynx
  • Malignant neoplasm of piriform sinus
  • Malignant neoplasm of the hypopharynx
  • Malignant neoplasm of other and ill-defined conditions in the lip, oral cavity and pharynx
  • Malignant neoplasms of nasal cavity
  • Malignant neoplasm of accessory sinuses
  • Malignant neoplasm of the larynx

Mesothelioma Prostate Cancer Soft Tissue

  • Malignant neoplasm of peripheral nerves and autonomic nervous system
  • Malignant neoplasm of other connective and soft tissue

 

Skin (Non Melanoma)

  • Other malignant neoplasms of skin
  • Scrotum

 

Melanoma

  • Malignant melanoma of skin

Digestive System

  • Malignant neoplasm of the esophagus
  • Malignant neoplasm of the stomach
  • Malignant neoplasm of the colon
  • Malignant neoplasm of rectosigmoid junction
  • Malignant neoplasm of the rectum
  • Malignant neoplasm of other and ill-defined digestive organs
  • Malignant neoplasm of the liver and intrahepatic bile ducts
  • Malignant neoplasms of retroperitoneum and peritoneum

 

Respiratory System

  • Malignant neoplasms of the trachea
  • Malignant neoplasm of bronchus and lung
  • Malignant neoplasm of heart, mediastinum and pleura
  • Malignant neoplasm of other and ill-defined sites in the respiratory system and intrathoracic organs

 

Rare Cancers – defined as “any type of cancer that occurs in less than 15 cases per 100,000 persons per year in the United States.” Some examples of cancer that meet the “rare cancer” definition include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Malignant neoplasm of the testis
  • Neuroendocrine malignancies
  • Malignant neoplasm of the male breast
  • Malignant neoplasm of the gallbladder/biliary tract
  • Malignant neoplasm of the small intestine
  • Malignant neoplasm of the thymus
  • Malignant neoplasm of the central nervous system
  • Malignant neoplasm of the adrenal gland
  • Gastrointestinal stromal malignancies
  • Malignant neoplasm of the penis

Female Reproductive Organs

  • Malignant neoplasm of ovary

 

Urinary System

  • Malignant neoplasm of bladder
  • Malignant neoplasm of the kidney except renal pelvis
  • Malignant neoplasm of renal pelvis
  • Malignant neoplasm of ureter
  • Malignant neoplasm of other and unspecified urinary organs

 

Eye & Orbit

  • Malignant neoplasms of eye and adnexa

 

Thyroid

  • Malignant neoplasm of thyroid gland

 

Blood & Lymphoid Tissue

  • Hodgkin’s disease
  • Follicular (nodular) non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Diffuse non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Peripheral and cutaneous T-cell lymphomas
  • Other and unspecified types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Malignant immunoproliferative diseases
  • Multiple myeloma and malignant plasma cell neoplasms
  • Lymphoid leukemia
  • Myeloid leukemia
  • Monocytic leukemia
  • Other leukemias of specified cell type
  • Leukemia of unspecified cell type
  • Myeloid malignancies
  • Other and unspecified malignant neoplasms of lymphoid, hematopoietic and related tissue

 

Childhood Cancers – defined as “any type of cancer diagnosed in a person less than 20 years of age.

 

Breast

Malignant neoplasm of breast

 

b.  Minimum and Maximum Time Intervals   

The WTC Health Program has set specific minimum and maximum timeframes between an individual’s 9/11 exposure and the onset of symptoms related to an eligible physical injury or condition. These timeframes are different for each category of injuries and conditions. The WTC Health Program’s general guidelines are summarized below. We encourage you to visit the WTC Health Program website to understand the complete details for each specific injury and condition and the process used to evaluate each individual’s unique circumstances.

  • Cancers: The WTC Health Program Administrator has determined minimum time periods for five types or categories of cancer eligible for coverage in the WTC Health Program.  The Administrator has determined that a minimum time period – referred to as “latency” – must have elapsed between the initial date of an individual’s exposure and the date of initial diagnosis of the individual’s cancer.  Details on the latency periods for cancer can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/wtc/pdfs/policies/WTCHP-Minimum-Cancer-Latency-PP-01062015-508.pdf.
  • Aerodigestive Disorders:  The WTC Health Program Administrator has determined maximum time intervals for four of the five categories of eligible aerodigestive disorders: obstructive airways, upper respiratory diseases, gastroesophageal reflux disease (“GERD”) co-occurring with another WTC-related aerodigestive disorder, and isolated GERD.  The time interval is measured based on the last day of an individual’s 9/11 exposure and the earliest date of an individual’s symptoms of the aerodigestive disorder.  The fifth category, interstitial lung disease, has no associated maximum time interval.  Details on the maximum time intervals for aerodigestive disorders can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/wtc/pdfs/policies/WTCHP_PP_Time_Intervals_New_Onset_AeroDig_Disorders_30_August_2017-508.pdf.
  • Musculoskeletal Disorders and Acute Traumatic Injuries: There is a statutory deadline of treatment on or before September 11, 2003, for musculoskeletal disorders and a similar deadline imposed by regulation for treatment of acute traumatic injuries. See 42 U.S.C. § 300mm-22(a)(4); 42 C.F.R. § 88.15(e).

c.  Additional Information about presumptively covered eligible conditions  

  • The VCF considers modifications to the list of presumptively covered conditions based on the determinations of the WTC Health Program. The initial list of presumptively covered conditions has been modified four times since the VCF reopened on October 3, 2011 – first on October 12, 2012, when certain cancers were added; a second time on October 21, 2013, when Prostate Cancer was added; a third time on February 18, 2014, when the definition of Rare Cancers was revised; and a fourth time on August 4, 2016, when new-onset COPD and WTC-related acute traumatic injury were added.
  • If you have at least one certified or verified 9/11-related physical injury or condition and meet all of the eligibility criteria to receive compensation, you may also be eligible for payment for other physical injuries or conditions that are not included on the list of presumptively covered conditions (and that are therefore not certified or verified) and that resulted from your 9/11 exposure if you have presented extraordinary circumstances. The Special Master exercises this discretion only in very limited circumstances.
  • If you have an eligible 9/11-related physical condition, it does not mean that you are guaranteed to be compensated by the VCF. Having an eligible condition is only one of the necessary criteria for compensation. All of the eligibility criteria must be met to receive compensation.
  • If you developed your 9/11-related physical injury or condition before September 11, 2001 (a “pre-existing” condition), you may still be eligible for compensation if your condition has become more severe since that time and the worsening of the condition is determined by the WTC Health Program to be related to the events of September 11th or the debris removal efforts.
  • The VCF considers “medically associated” conditions in determining the appropriate amount of compensation. The WTC Health Program defines a health condition medically associated with a WTC-related health condition as a condition that either: (1) “results from treatment of a WTC-related health condition,” or (2) “results from progression of a WTC-related health condition.” The VCF recognizes that, in some cases, those conditions that are medically associated with an eligible WTC-related condition may be more severe and/or have a greater impact on the victim’s life than the underlying condition.
  • If, at any point after you submit your original claim, the WTC Health Program certifies you for a physical health condition not previously certified, or you are diagnosed with a new 9/11- related injury or condition that qualifies for verification through the Private Physician process, you may amend your claim by following the Instructions for Amending a Claim.  Note that you should only amend your claim to add the new condition if the condition has resulted in additional compensable loss. 

d.  Certification and verification of conditions – WTC Health Program or Private Physician process

If your physical injury or condition is certified for treatment by the WTC Health Program, the VCF will generally find the injury or condition eligible subject to confirmation that other elements of eligibility, including presence at the site, are documented. If you are not being treated by the WTC Health Program, you must seek certification for your condition(s) through the WTC Health Program.  The VCF has implemented this policy in order to ensure consistency among victims in evaluating the conditions eligible for compensation, and clarity in evaluating an individual victim’s WTC-related exposure.  In very limited circumstances (set forth below), the VCF may evaluate the eligibility of the physical injury or condition through the Private Physician process, subject to verification by the Special Master with the assistance of the WTC Health Program Administrator. 

Please note that you can seek certification for treatment from the WTC Health Program for purposes of your VCF claim and still be treated for your certified condition by a physician outside of the WTC Health Program. To begin the certification process with the WTC Health Program, you can find an application on line at www.cdc.gov/wtc or by calling 1-888-982-4748. The WTC Health Program includes a Nationwide Provider Network (“NPN”) to serve members who live outside the New York City metropolitan area. The NPN is available to WTC, Pentagon, and Shanksville responders and WTC survivors. For information about the NPN call 1-888-982-4748. If you are enrolled and if the WTC Health Program confirms that it has certified your condition for treatment, then it will be able to provide the VCF with information about your certified condition(s). For further details on the WTC Health Program process and guidelines, please visit the WTC Health Program website

Please be aware that the WTC Health Program will prioritize patients who need treatment for appointments over those seeking certifications to support their VCF claims.  Please respect that the mission of the WTC Health Program is to provide medical treatment to those who are ill, and do not attempt to expedite your appointment unless you are in need of medical care.

Documents Required for Individuals Enrolled in the WTC Health Program

Once the VCF receives your Claim Form and the original, completed Exhibit A – “Authorization for Release of Medical Records”- the VCF will request information directly from the WTC Health Program to determine whether you have an eligible condition. The VCF will also seek information from the WTC Health Program for deceased individuals who were treated by the WTC Health Program prior to death, upon submission of an Exhibit A (for Deceased Individuals) by the victim’s authorized Personal Representative.  If the WTC Health Program notifies us that you have been certified for an eligible physical health condition, we accept that certification as proof of your eligible condition, subject to the other requirements for eligibility. If your condition is certified for treatment by the WTC Health Program, you do not need to submit any other records to support or demonstrate your condition.

Please note that the VCF does not receive copies of your medical records as part of our information-sharing agreement with the WTC Health Program. The WTC Health Program only provides the VCF with the name of the condition, the WTC Health Program category under which the condition falls (for example, Cancer or Upper Respiratory Disorder), and the associated medical diagnosis code.

If the WTC Health Program has certified your condition, you do not need to submit medical records to support a claim for non-economic loss at the lowest end of the range for your eligible condition.  Similarly, if you have an eligible condition that the VCF has identified as presumptively severe and debilitating, you do not need to submit medical records to qualify for the highest non-economic loss award allowed by the statutory caps.  See Section 2.1.a – “Valuation of non-economic loss” for a listing of conditions considered to be presumptively severe. If, however, your certified condition is not among the list of conditions that the VCF considers to be presumptively severe and it significantly impairs activities of daily living, or if the certification does not reflect the severity of the condition, you may want to submit supporting medical documentation related to your condition to help the VCF evaluate the severity and effect of the condition in order to determine whether an increased non-economic loss award within the appropriate range is warranted.  For a listing of the types of documents that can assist the VCF in the evaluation of your claim, see Section 2.1.b – “Documentation of non-economic loss”.  Please only submit documents that are related to your 9/11-related eligible physical conditions.  If you submit voluminous medical records (i.e. 75 pages or more), you must highlight the relevant information relating to the severity of your condition, or provide a written guide or statement directing us to the pertinent information, so the VCF can assess your non-economic loss.   

Private Physician Process

The Private Physician process is available only in the following limited circumstances:

  • You received specific direction from the VCF to compete the forms; or
  • You are filing a claim for a deceased individual who was not certified for treatment by the WTC Health Program for the claimed condition; or
  • You are a foreign resident, living outside the continental United States, who has not been certified for treatment by the WTC Health Program for the claimed condition; or
  • You were previously deemed eligible for compensation from the VCF based on a certified condition, or you are filing a claim for a deceased individual who was previously deemed eligible for compensation from the VCF based on a certified condition, and you are now seeking to add a non-certified cancer as a claimed condition; or
  • You were present at the Pentagon, but not as a responder, and therefore you do not qualify for certification by the WTC Health Program; or
  • You are not able to go to a WTC Health Program center (either in the New York City metropolitan area or through the Nationwide Provider Network) to have your condition evaluated and certified for treatment without suffering significant hardship.  If you believe that you will suffer significant hardship in seeking certification by the WTC Health Program, you should upload a statement or letter to the claim explaining the circumstances and why you should be considered for the Private Physician process and call the VCF Helpline to alert us to the request. 

If the VCF determines that you are an appropriate candidate for the Private Physician process, the VCF will contact you and ask you to provide certain medical records and other information from a non-WTC Health Program physician. The VCF will review the information and, as appropriate, will submit the information to the WTC Health Program for assistance in verifying that your condition meets the definition of a 9/11-related condition. 

In all other cases, we will not process your claim until we receive notification from the WTC Health Program that you have been certified for at least one physical condition.

The forms and instructions, as well as more detailed information on the process are available on our Private Physician resources page.

Note: The VCF is not able to pay any physician for providing this information or documentation. The VCF does not require any of the forms to be completed by your physician; you may complete the “Treating Physician Information Form.”

e.  Mental Illness  

If you did not experience any physical injury or condition as a result of September 11th, but you experienced emotional or mental harm, you are not eligible for compensation from the VCF. The VCF explicitly prohibits the VCF from compensating for Mental Health Conditions. As a result, the VCF is not able to accept claims solely for psychological conditions. 

The WTC Health Program provides options for treatment of psychological conditions, including post-traumatic stress. For information about whether you may be eligible for WTC Health Program treatment for emotional or mental harms, you may contact them by phone at 1-888-WTC-HP4U (1-888- 982-4748), or on the web at www.cdc.gov/wtc/.

 

1.5  Presence at Site 

In order to be eligible for compensation under the VCF, an individual must have been present at a 9/11 crash site or in locations of debris removal at any point during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, through May 30, 2002.  You do not have to be a responder to be eligible.

a.  Location  

To be eligible for the VCF, you must have been at one of the following locations:

9/11 crash sites

  • The World Trade Center site, the Pentagon site, or the Shanksville, Pennsylvania, site
  • The buildings or portions of buildings that were destroyed as a result of the terrorist-related airplane crashes of September 11, 2001

NYC Exposure Zone

The “NYC Exposure Zone” which consists of:

  • The area in Manhattan south of the line that runs along Canal Street from the Hudson River to the intersection of Canal Street and East Broadway, north on East Broadway to Clinton Street, and east on Clinton Street to the East River; AND
  • Any area related to, or along, routes of debris removal, such as barges and Fresh Kills landfill[3]

If you were an employee of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York City (“OCME”) involved in the examination and handling of human remains from the World Trade Center attacks, or were a morgue worker who performed similar functions for the OCME staff, during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, through May 30, 2002, and you submit sufficient proof of employment and presence at one of the morgue locations within the statutory timeframe, this will satisfy the presence requirement even if your actual work was performed outside of the NYC Exposure Zone.

If your work involved the repair, cleaning, or rehabilitation of vehicles or equipment contaminated by WTC-related debris at or along one of the official routes for the transfer of debris, the work will be considered to be done in an area related to, or along, routes of debris removal, even if those services were performed outside of the area in Manhattan south of the line that runs along Canal Street. Because different routes of debris removal were in use at different time periods, you must submit proof not only that you performed those services during the statutory timeframe (at some point during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, through May 30, 2002), but also that you performed those services before the operations at the identified locations officially ended.

 

b.  Timeframe   

To be eligible, individuals must have been present at one of the sites at the time or in the “immediate aftermath” of the September 11th air crashes. The VCF Act defines “immediate aftermath” as “any period beginning with the terrorist-related aircraft crashes of September 11, 2001, and ending on May 30, 2002.” There are no requirements for the minimum amount of time an individual needed to be at a site for purposes of confirming presence.[4] The VCF must apply the time period that Congress established in the VCF Act.

 

c.  When to Submit Presence Documentation  

You should not submit your claim form until you are certified for treatment by the WTC Health Program and you are ready to submit all required supporting documents, including documents to support your presence at the site, as the VCF cannot review your claim without this information.[5]

The VCF understands, however, that it is becoming increasingly difficult for some claimants to find documentation supporting their presence at the site after so many years have passed.  We also understand that some individuals have registered with the VCF to preserve their right to file a claim in the future, but are currently not sick and do not intend to file a claim unless their circumstances change at some point in the future.  Many individuals have asked about gathering documentation now to support their presence for a potential future claim given that the VCF is open to take claims until October 1, 2090.  The VCF encourages individuals with this concern to gather documents now even if they are unsure about filing a claim in the future.  Once you have registered with the VCF and have a VCF claim number, you may upload or mail documents to the VCF in order to “store” presence documentation, even if you have no immediate plans to submit a claim.  The VCF has instructions for uploading documents to the online systemPlease keep in mind, however, that VCF staff will not be reviewing these documents for sufficiency until your claim form and all required supporting documents are submitted.  If you decide to upload documents in order to “store” them with the VCF, you should be very careful to confirm that the document contains as much specific information as possible, and you should review it in detail to ensure that it meets all VCF requirements.

 

 

1.6  Documentation of Presence 

Note: The VCF has agreements with certain employers and unions to provide information about presence in support of VCF claims.  See Section 1.7 for additional information.  You should check to see if your employer or union is listed in that section before identifying the documentation you need to submit with your claim.  In addition, if you were found eligible to receive compensation in VCF1, in most cases, you do not need to submit proof of presence in support of your claim. See Section Section 1.11 for more information about VCF1 claims.  The VCF will contact you if any additional information is needed in these situations.

The documents listed below are examples of the most common types of documents used to demonstrate presence at a 9/11 site. This is not a comprehensive list. If you have a document that you believe can be used to prove your presence at a 9/11 site and it does not fall into one of the categories below, you should submit the document to the VCF to be reviewed. The VCF considers the totality of the circumstances in each individual case and will consider a wide range of documents to support presence.  All documents submitted for a claim are subject to verification and authentication procedures undertaken independently by the VCF.  The VCF will review each presence document submitted in support of your claim and we will contact you to request additional proof of presence if needed.

If you want to provide additional details about your presence, that are not already provided as part of your claim form responses or to supplement or provide context for whichever of the documents listed below that you are submitting in support of your claim, you may complete and submit the VCF Victim Presence Statement.  The form includes detailed instructions on how to complete it and where to send it once it is complete.  This form is optional – you are not required to submit this form as part of your claim. 

 

1.7 Primary Evidence of Presence 

Two types of documentation, third-party verification and contemporaneous documents, are particularly helpful in establishing presence:

Third-party Verification of Presence

Third-party verification of presence that is mailed directly to the VCF from the employer or other third party, with specific dates and locations, is often sufficient to verify presence.  If your office or work or volunteer location was located in the NYC Exposure Zone, or you were present at a 9/11 site because your job required you to be there, you should provide your employer or volunteer organization with the Third Party Verification Form, and instruct them to send the completed form directly to the VCF. 

Note that the VCF may ask for additional proof of presence, even when your employer or volunteer organization submits a Third Party Verification Form directly to the VCF.  If the document you submit does not provide sufficient detail regarding your presence (i.e., your actual work or volunteer location and confirmation that you were present at that location at some point during the requisite time period), or about the source of the information contained in the letter, the VCF will contact the employer or organization in an attempt to obtain additional details.  If we are unable to confirm presence by speaking with the employer or organization, and other presence documents, if any, are insufficient, then the VCF will contact you to request additional proof of presence.

 

Contemporaneous Documents

​​​Contemporaneous documents are documents that were created in real-time during the September 11, 2001, through May 30, 2002, period (or as otherwise noted below) that are kept in the ordinary course of business.  These documents are extremely helpful to establish presence.  Examples of contemporaneous documents that may be helpful in proving presence are listed below.  Note that this is not a comprehensive list of acceptable documentation.  If you have a document that you believe can be used to support your claim or your presence at a 9/11 site and it is not on the list below, you should submit the document to the VCF to be reviewed.  At least two documents, whether from the list below or otherwise, are required. 

Examples of Documents to support Presence based on Employment:

  • Official personnel roster.
  • Pay stubs listing your employer’s address within the NYC Exposure Zone and confirming employment, when used in conjunction with other documents showing you were physically working at the address during the relevant timeframe.
  • Responder dispatch records or union shop steward records showing dates and location(s) of your work.
  • Worker’s injury reports dated on or before September 11, 2003, documenting treatment of your injury that occurred at the site.
  • Police memo book submitted with the front cover including supervisory signature and opening and closing dates.

Examples of Documents to support Presence based on Residence:

  • Official government documents showing your residential address within the NYC Exposure Zone during the relevant period, such as W-2 forms, signed and dated tax returns, applications or documents in support of public housing residency, or copies of benefits payment stubs.  Note that documents in this category are not alone sufficient but will be reviewed in conjunction with other documents showing you were physically at the address during the relevant timeframe.
  • Rental agreement, proof of rent payment, mortgage receipts, and/or utility bills that list your address within the NYC Exposure Zone.  Note that documents in this category are not alone sufficient but will be reviewed in conjunction with other documents showing you were physically at the address during the relevant timeframe.

Examples of Additional Contemporaneous Documents:

  • Medical records dated on or before September 11, 2003, documenting your treatment for your injury that occurred at the site.
  • School or day care records and transcripts confirming your enrollment or attendance during the relevant time period.  Documents in this category should be certified or be accompanied by a letter from an employee of the school or day care facility, or from your legal counsel (if an attorney is assisting you with your claim), confirming that the document submitted is a true and accurate copy.

 

1.8 Secondary Evidence of Presence

The two types of primary evidence described above (Third-Party Verification or Contemporaneous Documents) are the best evidence that an individual was present during the relevant period.  The Special Master recognizes, however, that such documents may no longer exist or may be impossible to obtain. If you are unable to obtain these types of documents, the Special Master will consider sworn statements from people who can attest to your presence at a 9/11 crash site or in the NYC Exposure Zone.  The VCF needs very specific information and details in order to establish your presence on the basis of such statements and these statements will serve as acceptable proof only if the VCF determines that they are sufficiently reliable. 

 a. Witness Presence Statement

To help you in gathering the information the VCF needs from those who can attest to your presence, the VCF has developed the Witness Presence Statement to help ensure that a witness is providing a thorough and complete response in support of a claimant’s request.  The form includes detailed instructions on how to complete it and where to send it once it is complete.  You should provide this form to individuals who witnessed you at the site or in the NYC Exposure Zone during the relevant time period.  The person you ask to be a witness must have personal knowledge of your presence at a 9/11 crash site or along the routes of debris removal.  In general, witnesses must show that they directly observed you at the eligible location, or must have been a supervisor or dispatcher who ordered you to that location and has knowledge that you in fact reported to the location. Although the individuals who are attesting to your presence are not required to use the Witness Presence Statement, and may instead file a sworn statement (see below), it is strongly recommended that you ask them to do so to be sure they provide thorough and complete information with the level of detail that meets the VCF’s requirements.

If you ask individuals to complete the Witness Presence Statement in support of your presence, and the Statements are the only proof of presence you plan to submit in support of your claim, you must submit Statements from a minimum of two people and at least one must be from an individual who is not related to you or to the Personal Representative or Guardian (when applicable).  Note: the Witness Presence Statement is a template and use of it does not mean it will be determined to be sufficient by the VCF.  We will review the Witness Presence Statement as part of the review of your claim and will contact you if additional information is needed.

b. Affidavit

If you choose not to have your witnesses use the Witness Presence Statement, they should instead prepare and submit a statement or “affidavit” that includes the same detailed information that would be provided on the Witness Presence Statement, as described below.  Affidavits must either be sworn and notarized or include the following language to comply with 28 U.S.C. § 1746:

  • If signed within the United States, its territories, possessions, or commonwealths, add this language: “I declare (or certify, verify, or state) under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on [date affidavit is signed]. [Witness’s Signature]”
  • If signed outside the United States, add this language: “I declare (or certify, verify, or state) under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on [date affidavit is signed]. [Witness’s Signature]”

These affidavits will serve as acceptable proof only if the VCF determines that they are sufficiently reliable.  As with the Witness Presence Statement, you must submit affidavits from a minimum of two people and at least one must be from an individual who is not related to you or to the Personal Representative or Guardian (when applicable).

If you or your witness choose not to use the Witness Presence Statement, his or her affidavit must contain the following information:

  • A description of how the witness knows that you were present during the relevant period.  For example, a witness may know that you were at the site because the witness was your supervisor or co-worker and accompanied you to the site or personally saw you at the site.
  • As much detail as possible about the precise times, specific dates, and specific locations (address, intersection, landmarks, cross streets, buildings or other geographic details) that they know you were present at a 9/11 crash site or in the NYC Exposure Zone.  The VCF does not accept “Ground Zero” as a specific location for purposes of affidavits.
  • The reason why you were present and/or what you were doing at the site (if known by the witness).
  • A description of the relationship between you and the witness (how the witness knows you and whether the witness is related to you or to a Personal Representative or Guardian, if applicable). If you and the witness worked together, the affidavit should include the name of the organization you were working for and describe how long you worked together, your respective job titles and relationship during the time you worked together (including whether one person supervised the other), and whether the witness is still employed by that entity.
  • The witness’s contact information, including address, daytime phone number, email address, or other contact information. In some cases, the VCF may request proof of the witness’s address and/or relationship to the victim or claimant or may contact the witness.

 

  • When an individual’s presence is based on residence in the NYC Exposure Zone, witnesses should provide the information listed above and also provide:
    • Your exact address during the time you were living in the Exposure Zone.
    • The time period that you lived at that address (if known by the witness).
    • A statement describing whether the witness knows if you actually resided at that address during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, through May 30, 2002, and whether the witness is aware of any time during that period that you were out of town or not living at that address.

 

  • Affidavits in foreign languages: If a witness does not speak English, you may submit an affidavit in another language. You should submit the affidavit in the witness’s native language, along with a certified English translation of the entire affidavit.  The translated version must include all information contained in the foreign language version.  You must also include a certification signed by the translator that includes a statement that the translator is competent to translate the document, and that the translation is true and accurate to the best of the translator’s abilities. The certification must also include the translator’s address and phone number.

 

 

1.9  Presence Information for Specific Employers or Entities  

Information specific to FDNY firefighters and fire officers

The VCF has an arrangement with the FDNY in which the FDNY will provide documents directly to the VCF regarding proof of a FDNY firefighter’s or fire officer’s presence at the site. As a result, FDNY firefighters and fire officers do not need to submit any documents as proof of presence at the site unless the VCF specifically requests such documents. Contacting the FDNY directly will not expedite the processing of your claim and, in fact, may delay claims processing by tying up limited resources at the FDNY. If the VCF needs additional information from you after reviewing your claim form and documentation, the VCF will contact you.

Information specific to FDNY EMS members

In limited cases, the FDNY may be able to provide documents and/or information directly to the VCF regarding proof of an EMS member’s presence at the site.  Therefore, you should still submit other evidence (such as contemporaneous documents, Witness Presence Statements, or affidavits) demonstrating that you were physically present in the NYC Exposure Zone during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, through May 30, 2002.  If you have your WTC Notice of Participation which was filed with the NYCERS Pension Fund to preserve your right to file for a WTC disability retirement or reclassification in the future, you should submit it with your claim as it may support presence for purposes of your VCF claim.  It is also helpful if you specify your job title within EMS during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, through May 30, 2002.  

Information specific to victims who worked for NYPD

For civilian NYPD members, please refer to Section 1.7 regarding documents needed to demonstrate proof of presence.

For uniformed NYPD members, the VCF will consider the documents listed below helpful in establishing presence. Each document submitted must clearly pertain to the named victim and identify the date(s) and location(s) of the victim’s WTC-related service. A complete copy of each document must be submitted, unless otherwise specified below. The VCF will review these submissions on a case-by-case basis and will notify you of any additional information required. All documents submitted for a claim are subject to verification and authentication procedures undertaken independently by the VCF. Please note that the NYPD will not be able to provide the VCF direct access to the below listed documents. You must submit at least two of the following documents if you intend to rely on them to establish presence:

  • Memo Book/Activity Log (must include cover page and excerpts of relevant portions with consecutive pages)
  • Line of Duty Injury Report (must include an injury date within the relevant time period and signature of supervising officer)
  • Line of Duty Control Log
  • Firearms Discharge/Assault Report
  • Aided Report Worksheet
  • Overtime Report
  • Unscheduled Overtime Report
  • Roll Call
  • Detail Roster Assignment Sheet
  • NYPD Consultation Referral – Medical Division/NYPD Surgeon Form
  • Statement of Illness/Injury
  • Daily Activity Report
  • Command Log entry
  • Exposure Report (49)
  • Medical Board Report
  • WTC Notice of Participation
  • NYPD Rescue Detail badge (must include victim’s name and photo)

If you need help obtaining documents to demonstrate that you were present at the site, please contact the Police Benevolent Association at 212- 298-9144.

New York City Department of Sanitation

The VCF works directly with the Department of Sanitation to verify the presence of employees who participated in the rescue, recovery, and clean-up efforts. If you were a Sanitation employee during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, through May 30, 2002, the VCF will contact the Sanitation Department to confirm your presence in the NYC Exposure Zone. If the VCF needs additional information from you after reviewing your claim form and documentation, the VCF will contact you.

New York State National Guard

The VCF works with the National Guard to directly obtain information for individuals who assert that they participated in the World Trade Center response while on State Active Duty. While the National Guard may be able to confirm whether an individual was on Active Duty, it does not have records that would confirm the actual location of the work. Therefore, Claimants who allege presence based on work with the National Guard will still need to submit other evidence (such as contemporaneous documents, Witness Presence Statements, or affidavits) demonstrating that they were physically present in the NYC Exposure Zone during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, through May 30, 2002.

New York City Transit Authority (“NYCTA”)

If you were an employee of the New York City Transit Authority (“NYCTA”), and worked in the NYC Exposure Zone, please provide your NYCTA employee identification number to the VCF.  We will compare this number to records we received to confirm that you were present during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, through May 30, 2002.  Note that these records provided to the VCF do not include all NYCTA employees who were involved in the emergency response effort.  Therefore, you should still submit other evidence (such as contemporaneous documents, Witness Presence Statements, or affidavits) demonstrating that you were physically present in the New York City Exposure Zone during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, through May 30, 2002.

New York State Police (“NYSP”)

If you were employed by the New York State Police (“NYSP”) and worked in the NYC Exposure Zone during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, through May 30, 2002, you can contact the NYSP Medical Monitoring Unit via phone at 518-485-5044, or via email at hresource@troopers.ny.gov, to request a letter documenting the dates and locations of your deployment to the NYC Exposure Zone during that time period. Once you receive the letter, you should upload it to your claim or mail it to the VCF.  You do not need to submit any additional information to demonstrate your presence at the site.  If the VCF needs additional information from you after reviewing your claim form and the letter, the VCF will contact you.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

If you were employed by the FBI and worked at a 9/11 crash site or in the VCF’s NYC Exposure Zone during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, through May 30, 2002, the FBI can provide you with a letter verifying your presence at the site.  You should contact the FBI Call Center at 202-324-3333 to request the FBI “proof of presence” letter and once received, upload it to your claim or mail it to the VCF.  You do not need to submit any additional information to demonstrate your presence at the site.  If the VCF needs additional information from you after reviewing your claim form and the letter, the VCF will contact you.

District Council 37 (DC-37)

If you were a DC-37 union member, your union may be able to provide information and/or documentation to support presence for purposes of your VCF claim.  Please contact the union’s Safety & Health Department at 212-815-1685 and explain that you are interested in obtaining this information, if available. 

Communications Workers of America’s (CWA )

Certain CWA members completed a WTC Recovery/Cleanup Effort Exposure Information form, which was distributed to CWA local unions and then provided to the CWA District 1 office upon completion. These forms may support presence where they:

  1. clearly identify a VCF-qualifying date and location of service;
  2. were created contemporaneously with your alleged exposures; and
  3. include a signed statement by Micki Siegel de Hernandez, the Occupational Safety and Health Director of CWA District 1, verifying the authenticity and safekeeping of the form.

If you were a CWA member and completed this form, please contact Micki Siegel de Hernandez at 212-509-6994 to see if your form is on file and to obtain the form and the accompanying signed statement.

Note for CWA Local 1101 Members: If you completed a CWA WTC Recovery/ Cleanup Effort Exposure Information Form, you should contact Kevin Condy at 212-633-2666 to find out if a form is on file.  If not, the Local still may be able to help you determine what you might submit to prove your presence.

Lucent Technologies

If you were a CWA member who worked for Lucent Technologies in 2001, the VCF may be able to obtain records confirming presence.  The CWA, District 1 union maintained lists of:

  • Individuals who were working as “Installers” at the Verizon building at 140 West Street in the week after 9/11; and
  • Individuals who received respirator training and were “certified” or approved to use those devices at Ground Zero on or before October 3, 2001.

Note that these lists do not include all Lucent employees who were involved in the emergency response effort. Therefore, you should still submit other evidence (such as contemporaneous documents, Witness Presence Statements, or affidavits) demonstrating that you were physically present in the NYC Exposure Zone during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, through May 30, 2002.

Verizon

The VCF makes efforts to obtain information for individuals who assert that they participated in the World Trade Center response while working for Verizon.  Verizon is generally able to confirm employment but may not be able to confirm the actual location of an individual’s work. Therefore, if you are asserting presence through your employment with Verizon, please submit any and all documents related to the time period(s) and location(s) you participated in the World Trade Center response. You should also submit other evidence (such as contemporaneous documents, Witness Presence Statements, or affidavits) demonstrating that you were physically present in the NYC Exposure Zone during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, through May 30, 2002.

Note for Local 1101 CWA Verizon employees, including Empire City Subway: If you are having difficulty locating documents to prove your presence, you may contact Kevin Condy at 212-633-2666 to ask if the Local is able to help you determine what you might submit to prove your presence.

Consolidated Edison (“ConEd”)

The VCF works directly with ConEd to obtain information for ConEd employees who assert that they participated in the World Trade Center response while working for ConEd.  ConEd may be able to verify that an individual worked for ConEd during the relevant timeframe but may not be able to confirm the actual location of where the individual’s work was performed.  If you allege presence based on your work as an employee of ConEd, you should also submit other evidence (such as contemporaneous documents, Witness Presence Statements, or affidavits) demonstrating that you were physically present in the NYC Exposure Zone during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, through May 30, 2002.

If you were a contractor for ConEd, ConEd is unable to provide information regarding your presence at the site within the relevant timeframe.  In that case, you should submit presence documentation (such as contemporaneous documents, Witness Presence Statements, or affidavits) demonstrating that you were physically present in the NYC Exposure Zone during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, through May 30, 2002.

New York State Workers’ Compensation Board (“WCB”)

The VCF may be able to obtain records confirming presence from the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board for individuals who have made a Workers’ Compensation claim based on their 9/11-related work. To do so, the VCF needs the WCB number associated with the individual’s Workers’ Compensation claim. You should submit documents reflecting your WCB number. You should also submit other evidence (such as contemporaneous documents, Witness Presence Statements, or affidavits) demonstrating that you were physically present in the NYC Exposure Zone during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, through May 30, 2002, when you submit your claim.

WTC Volunteer Fund administered by the New York State Workers' Compensation Board "WCB"

The VCF may be able to obtain records confirming presence from the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board for individuals who have made a claim to the WTC Volunteer Fund based on their 9/11-related work. To do so, the VCF needs the Workers’ Compensation Board number associated with the individual’s Workers’ Compensation claim. You should submit documents reflecting your WCB number. You should also submit other evidence (such as contemporaneous documents, Witness Presence Statements, or affidavits) demonstrating that you were physically present in the NYC Exposure Zone during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, through May 30, 2002, when you submit your claim.

American Red Cross

If you were a Red Cross volunteer in the NYC Exposure Zone during the period beginning September 11, 2001, through May 30, 2002, the Red Cross may be able to provide documents and/or information directly to the VCF regarding your presence at the site.  You should still submit other evidence (such as contemporaneous documents, Witness Presence Statements, or affidavits) demonstrating that you were physically present in the NYC Exposure Zone during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, through May 30, 2002, when you submit your claim.

WTC Health Registry

For individuals enrolled in the WTC Health Registry, the VCF has an arrangement with the WTC Health Registry to obtain direct access to individual survey responses. Claimants must first give their permission to release these responses to the VCF. The WTC Health Registry will provide you with an authorization form that authorizes the WTC Health Registry to release this information to the VCF. You can contact the WTC Health Registry by calling 866-692-9827. You will still need to submit other evidence (such as contemporaneous records, Witness Presence Statements, or affidavits) demonstrating that you were physically present in the NYC Exposure Zone during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, through May 30, 2002.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

If you were employed by ICE (Legacy U.S. Customs Service, Legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service (Investigations, Deportation and Removal Operations, or Office of the Principal Legal Advisor)) and worked in your official capacity at a 9/11 crash site, or you were assigned to a post of duty in the NYC Exposure Zone during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, through May 30, 2002, ICE may be able to provide you with a letter verifying your presence.  You should contact the ICE 9/11 Benefits Program by email at ICE.9-11@ice.dhs.gov to request the ICE “proof of presence” letter .  Once you have qualified and received a completed proof of presence letter, you can upload it to your online claim or mail it to the VCF.  You do not need to submit any additional information to demonstrate your presence at the site.  If the VCF needs additional information from you after reviewing your claim form and the letter, the VCF will contact you.

Federal Employees

If you were a civil officer or employee in any branch of the Government of the United States and worked at a 9/11 crash site or in the NYC Exposure Zone during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, through May 30, 2002, your employer may be able to provide you with documentation to verify your presence. If contemporaneous documents from that time are not available, you should ask your employer to complete the VCF Third Party Verification form. 

If you filed a FECA claim with the U.S. Department of Labor based on your 9/11-related work, the VCF may be able to obtain documentation directly from the U.S. Department of Labor to help verify your presence. If you would like the VCF to contact the U.S. Department of Labor, you must contact the VCF Helpline to request a FECA Authorization Form, and then submit the completed form to the VCF. Note: The FECA claim might not contain information to help verify your presence. You should therefore also submit other evidence (such as contemporaneous documents or Witness Presence Statements) demonstrating that you were physically present at a 9/11 crash site or in the NYC Exposure Zone.

 

 

1.10 Insufficient Evidence of Presence

Witness Presence Statements that are not detailed or complete or affidavits that do not comply with requirements listed above are not sufficient to establish a victim’s presence. If the VCF determines that a Witness Presence Statement or affidavit lacks the required level of detail, the claim may be denied on that basis.  As a general rule, when a Witness Presence Statement or affidavit does not meet VCF requirements, the VCF will not call the witness for the purpose of gathering the necessary detail and information regarding the victim’s presence.  Witnesses are called when we need to understand an inconsistency, confirm what appears to be a minor error (such as 2011 instead of 2001), or to verify information already contained in the Witness Presence Statement or affidavit.  Therefore, the witness must provide as much detail as possible in the Witness Presence Statement or affidavit itself.  Failure to provide detailed information relating to presence will result in the VCF sending the claimant a “Missing Information” letter, which may result in the claim being denied if the VCF is unable to get the additional detailed information needed to verify the victim’s presence.

If you have exhausted every option available to you to try and find documentation to support your presence at a 9/11 crash site or in the NYC Exposure Zone during the relevant timeframe, you may request that the VCF deny your claim and provide you the opportunity to provide testimony about your presence at an appeal hearing.  If your claim is denied for lack of proof of presence, it does not mean the VCF does not believe that you were present during the relevant timeframe.  A denial means the documentation you submitted in support of your presence was not sufficient to meet the VCF’s needs.  If your claim is denied, we encourage you to request an appeal following the directions in the letter so that you can provide testimony in support of your claim.    

For some claimants, telling their story about their time at a 9/11 crash site or in the NYC Exposure Zone is the only way to prove their presence.  By doing so at an appeal hearing, the VCF can ask clarifying questions to help evaluate the claim.  If you want to request that your claim be denied because you are not able to locate documents that show your presence, you should submit a letter to the VCF with a brief history of the documents you have attempted to locate and the reason they were not available, and request a denial for purposes of holding an eligibility hearing.  The VCF will deny your claim and will send you a letter with instructions on how to appeal.  Additional information about the VCF appeals and hearings process can be found in Section 4.

If your claim was denied before July 29, 2019, because the VCF could not verify your presence, but you did not timely request an appeal, and you are still unable to find sufficient presence documents despite your best efforts to do so, you may still be able to request a hearing to provide testimony as your proof of presence.  To request a hearing on a claim that was denied for presence where the timeframe to appeal has ended, you should submit an amendment to your claim with a letter requesting that a presence hearing be scheduled on your claim.  The letter should include a brief history of the documents you have attempted to locate, including your efforts to find additional documents following the denial of your claim, and the reason they were not available.  The VCF will contact you to explain the next steps on your claim. 

 

1.11  VCF 1 Claims 

If you were found eligible for compensation in VCF1, you are eligible to amend your claim and seek additional compensation. You may be eligible for additional compensation if:

  • You suffered a new physical injury or condition that you had not suffered at the time of the VCF1 claim filing or that was not compensable at the time of VCF1.
  • You suffered a new loss that you had not suffered at the time of the VCF1 claim filing – for example, if you were previously compensated for non-economic loss only and have since been determined to be totally disabled due to an eligible condition, you can amend the claim to seek economic loss.
  • Your prior eligible condition has substantially worsened, resulting in damages or loss that was not previously compensated.

Note: There are two objectives when evaluating whether a claimant who already received an award in VCF1 should be awarded additional compensation in VCF2 for exacerbated or new injuries: (1) avoiding the reassessment or recalculation of any component of the VCF1 award or changing any assumption applied in making that calculation, and (2) avoiding duplication of any component of the award that was already made in VCF1.  Thus, the amount of compensation you received in VCF1 will be considered when determining whether additional compensation should be awarded. As a general rule, the compensation you receive in this iteration of the VCF (“VCF2”) will be calculated based on the amount of compensation any similarly situated person who filed a claim only in VCF2 would receive; any compensation you received in VCF1 will then be applied as an adjustment to the award. 

In most cases, you do not need to submit proof of presence as otherwise required if you were deemed eligible for VCF1 (see Section 1.6 for more information on proof of presence). The VCF will contact you if any additional information is needed.

 

1.12  Eligibility Review and Determination  

a.  Preliminary Review

Once you submit your claim, it proceeds through an Automated Document Check process as a first step before it moves to Preliminary Review.  This process, which is entirely automated checks to confirm the receipt of two specific documents the VCF must have before we can begin our preliminary review of a claim:    

After allowing time for the mailed original Exhibit A to be received by the VCF, the automated process will confirm that both documents are present in the online system according to the document type associated with each document.  Please be sure to select the correct document type when uploading documents to claims in the online system.  If one or both of these documents are missing, the system will automatically move the claim to “Inactive” status and an automated Missing Information letter will be generated.  Note: The automated process will not confirm sufficiency or completeness of these documents – this will be done by a VCF team member during preliminary review. If the claim is deactivated as a result of the automated process, once the required documents are received, the claim will be reactivated for preliminary review.

During Preliminary Review, the VCF will confirm that all of the “minimally required” documents have been submitted.  In addition to a complete Claim Form, we require the documents listed below before your claim can move forward for a more substantive review.  Note: the VCF does not accept electronic signatures on any of its forms and documents.  Many of the third-party entities with whom we exchange information on your behalf also do not accept electronic signatures.  To ensure there is no delay in the processing of your claim, please submit your document(s) with the appropriate signature and originals where required.

  • Complete Signature Page
  • Original and signed Exhibit A – “Authorization for Release of Medical Records” (Personal Injury Exhibit A or Deceased Victim Exhibit A)
  • Confirmation from the WTC Health Program that you have at least one physical condition certified for treatment (the VCF can contact the WTC Health Program directly to confirm you have an eligible certified condition)
  • Proof of Presence documents as specified in Section 1.6
  • Exhibit 1 – “Social Security Administration Consent Form” (required only if you are claiming economic loss)
  • Original Client Authorization (on a form to be provided by your attorney) to deposit the payment on your claim to your attorney’s bank account (if applicable) or an ACH payment form if payment on your claim will be deposited to your bank account

Once we confirm we have a complete Signature Page (original signatures not required) and Exhibit A with original signatures, we contact the WTC Health Program for information about your certified condition(s).

If any of the above documents are missing or insufficient, the VCF will send you a missing information letter and place the claim in “Inactive” status.  Once the required documents are received and verified as sufficient, the claim will be reactivated for review, and if applicable, the VCF will request information from certain government entities, employers, and other third parties that may support presence for VCF purposes.

If the requested documents are not submitted within 60 days of the date of the missing information letter, your claim may be denied, unless the only outstanding item is confirmation of a certified condition by the WTC Health Program.  The VCF understands there may be a delay in the certification process and will not deny a claim when the certification is the only missing item identified during our preliminary review; these claims will remain inactive and you can reactivate a claim in this circumstance by providing the VCF a copy of your certification letter once you receive it.  If your claim is denied, you can amend your claim once you have the necessary documents and the VCF will reactivate your claim for review.

 

b.  Substantive Eligibility Review  

Once we have all documents required for processing, we begin substantive review of the claim to determine if you meet the eligibility criteria set forth in the statute and implementing regulations based on the information and/or documentation in your claim file (see Section 1.1).  This includes confirming that (a) the claim was registered by the applicable deadline, (b) you have an eligible 9/11-related physical condition, (c) there is sufficient documentation to demonstrate that you were present at the site, and (d) any 9/11-related lawsuits have been timely resolved.  

If we need something further in order to determine your eligibility, you will receive a missing information letter.  It is important that you respond to all missing information letters within the timeframe specified in the letter.  If you do not respond to our missing information request after 30 days, we will render a decision based on the information contained in your file at that time.

You will receive a letter from the VCF explaining the eligibility decision on your claim. If you are found to be eligible for compensation, the letter will list the physical injury or conditions for which you have been found eligible. These are the conditions that the VCF will consider when calculating the amount of your award.  If eligibility is denied, the letter will explain how to appeal the decision or how to amend your claim in the future when you are able to provide the additional information for consideration.

 

1.13 Claims Filed on a Victim's Behalf  

If you are filing a claim on the victim’s behalf, you must show that you have the legal authority to do so.  This includes Personal Representatives filing a claim for a deceased victim, and guardians filing a claim for an incapacitated adult. 

Only those authorized by law or court order may pursue a claim on behalf of another individual.  In order to process a claim filed by someone other than the victim, the Special Master must first validate the individual’s authority to represent the victim for the VCF claim.  Different types of documentation are required depending on the representative’s relationship to the victim.

If you are filing a claim on the victim’s behalf, you must submit the documents that are required for the VCF to validate your authority as an authorized representative.  The list of required documents is explained in the subsections below according to the type of claim you are filing.  

NOTE: If you are filing a deceased claim (i.e., a claim filed on behalf of an individual who is believed to have died as a result of an eligible 9/11-related condition), all claims for lost earnings or benefits must be made, and all supporting documents must be submitted, before the VCF finalizes substantive review of the compensation claim.  A claim has reached the final stages of substantive review when the status in the online system moves to “Determination Made: Processing.”  The VCF will not allow any amendment in a deceased claim after a substantive determination on the compensation claim has been made, except in limited circumstances.  It is therefore very important that you claim all losses and submit the required supporting documentation when you file your claim.

a.  Personal Representative of a Deceased Victim  

  • Victim’s Death Certificate: An original or certified copy is required.  If possible, please submit the “long form” version of the death certificate, which lists the cause of death.
  • Letters of Administration, Letters Testamentary, or other Court Order showing the appointment as the Personal Representative, Executor of Will, or Administrator of the Estate.  A copy is sufficient for the VCF to validate the Personal Representative.  An original or certified copy is required before payment can be issued.
    • Your court order may include limitations.  Some limitations do not interfere with the VCF’s ability to validate the Personal Representative, while other limitations may impact the VCF’s ability to process the claim.  See the Instructions for Letters of Administration with Limitations for more detailed information.
    • If you submit Letters of Administration, Letters Testamentary, or other Court Order that includes limitations that interfere with the VCF’s ability to process or pay your claim, you will be advised in writing and given time to obtain the appropriate documentation.
    • In very limited circumstances where the Personal Representative is unable to obtain Letters of Administration, Letters Testamentary, or other Court Order, the Special Master may appoint a Personal Representative for purposes of the VCF claim.  You must first attempt to obtain an appointment from the state probate or surrogate court where the victim lived.  Please note that this option is generally available only when legal or geographical obstacles mean that the representative is unable to open an estate to obtain an appointment.  For more information, please see the information on Appointment of a Personal Representative.
  • Proof of Victim’s Cause of Death: This may be included on the victim’s death certificate.  If it is not included on the death certificate, other documents sufficient to show proof of cause of death may include a hospital discharge summary, or the victim’s final medical records.  Copies of these documents are sufficient.
  • A complete Claim Form Signature Page: This must be signed by the Personal Representative.  A copy is sufficient.
  • If the Personal Representative has filed an amendment to a personal injury claim that was originally filed by the victim, a complete Claim Form Appendix A is required.  A copy is sufficient.

Claims with Co-Personal Representatives: If the court has appointed co-Personal Representatives as administrators of a decedent’s estate, one Personal Representative must be designated the “Lead Personal Representative” who will serve as the point of contact for the VCF claim.  Each co-Personal Representative must submit a signed and notarized statement identifying the individual who will serve as the Lead Personal Representative.  See Section 6.5 for important information regarding the documentation that must be submitted, specific instructions for signing and submitting each of the required authorizations and forms, and an explanation of how any payment will be made on the claim.  

 

b.  Guardian of a Non-Minor Victim 

  • Court Order Appointing Guardianship: An original or certified copy is required.
    • Please note that the VCF does not generally accept Powers of Attorney to fulfill this requirement.
  • A complete Claim Form Signature Page signed and initialed by the person granted guardianship.  A copy is sufficient.

If you are the parent of an adult child and are helping your child with his or her VCF claim, the claim form must be completed by the adult child as a “self” claim in the victim’s name, with all applicable exhibits and supporting documents signed by the victim.  The adult child can then authorize the VCF to share information about the claim with a parent by adding the parent as an “Alternative Contact” on the claim form.  The adult child may also grant the parent online access to the claim in the VCF claims system.  NOTE: The parent should not be listed on the claim form as an “Authorized Representative” as this designation is only applicable to Personal Representatives of deceased individuals, and guardians of incapacitated adults.

Minors who reach 18 years of age during the processing of the VCF claim: The VCF requires that a victim take ownership of his or her own claim once he or she reaches 18 years of age.  Thus, when the VCF becomes aware that a previously minor victim has reached the age of 18, the VCF will contact the victim at the address on file to request the correct updated contact information, and a properly signed Signature Page, exhibits, and sufficient payment information as directed by the now-adult victim.  Once a victim turns 18, the VCF also will take steps to remove the parent as the Authorized Representative.  The parent will receive a letter explaining the change, and the now-adult victim will also receive a letter explaining the change and next steps, including information on how to add the parent as an Alternative Contact if the victim still wants the parent to assist with the claim.  The claim will be placed in “Inactive” status until the victim submits the properly signed documents. 

If the parent was represented by a law firm for the minor child’s claim, the VCF will not remove the law firm associated with the claim unless the now-adult victim asks that the firm be removed.  This means the law firm of record will continue to have access to the claim and receive copies of the correspondence unless the attorney or the victim notifies the VCF that the firm no longer represents the now-adult victim. 

 

 

 


[1] The VCF clarified the rule regarding lawsuit settlements and newly covered conditions in November 2016.  Lawsuits filed after November 2016 are prohibited by the general statutory requirement that a claimant cannot have an active 9/11–related lawsuit at the same time as a VCF claim.  Filing a lawsuit after November 2016 waives your right to file a claim with the VCF.


[2] The VCF clarified the rule regarding lawsuit dismissals and newly covered conditions in November 2016.  Lawsuits filed after November 2016 are prohibited by the general statutory requirement that a claimant cannot have an active 9/11–related lawsuit at the same time as a VCF claim, and filing a lawsuit after November 2016 waives your right to file a claim with the VCF.


[3] The VCF and the WTC Health Program use two different geographic areas and two different timeframes during which an individual needed to be at a 9/11 site.  The VCF’s “New York City Exposure Zone” is used to determine an individual’s presence for VCF eligibility purposes (and is not dependent on the length of time the individual was at the site), while the WTC Health Program’s ”New York City Disaster Area” is used to determine certification for treatment and requires a minimum amount of time spent in the designated area.  It is therefore possible that an individual may be “present” for VCF purposes, but not eligible to be certified for treatment by the WTC Health Program, and therefore not eligible for compensation from the VCF.  The geographic area used to confirm an individual’s presence for purposes of their VCF claim can be found at https://www.vcf.gov/nyc-map-exposure-zone


[4]  Please note that this is different from the rules applicable to the WTC Health Program.  In the Health Program, “exposure” is defined as the duration of time (hours) between September 11, 2011, and July 31, 2002, that an individual was within the defined NIOSH “New York City Disaster Area” and inhaled a specified level of dust and/or smoke. The WTC Health Program website includes a map of the NIOSH-defined “New York City Disaster Area,” along with detailed information about the number of hours, dates, and levels of exposure that are required for purposes of certifying a condition for treatment.


[5] In limited circumstances, you might qualify for the private physician process. If so, please provide a completed Private Physician packet so that the VCF may evaluate the eligibility of the physical injury or condition through the Private Physician process, subject to verification by the Special Master with the assistance of the WTC Health Program Administrator.