New York City, NY

Americans Affected by 9/11 Encouraged to Apply for Benefits As 20th Anniversary Approaches

Desiree Peralta

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Next September is the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York City's Twin Towers that directly took the lives of over 3,000 people and caused thousands more additional ill victims, assistants, debris cleaners, and Ground Zero residents, who have suffered terrible problems of health like breathing conditions and cancer.

And while a so-called Victims Compensation Fund (VCF) was created by the Federal Government 10 years ago, which provided billions of dollars under the Zadroga act for people who became ill, it is estimated that there were still possible beneficiaries in The Big Apple who did not seek or receive compensation.

Although, in 2019, the Trump Administration prolonged the chance that victims and families of the deceased may seek aid until 2090, in three weeks, an essential time frame will expire for the benefit of affected people, as a consequence of harm to their health caused by exposure to 9/11.

Under the Zadroga Act, it is suggested to submit your claim to the Compensation Fund by 29 July 2016 if a prospective beneficiary has been certified by the WTC Health Program regarding a 9/11 health condition. Victims (VCF) must be submitted before 29 July 2019.

"This deadline, which is two years from the date of enactment of the VCF Permanent Authorization Act, provides an opportunity for potentially eligible individuals who did not know that the Compensation Fund existed or was open to them,” assured the City of New York.

This period also applies to those who did not know that their disease was connected to 9/11 exposure or did not recognize that they were entitled to make a request or that the VCF was effective after 2020.

Although the handling of aid money is a matter of federal concern, New York leaders supported the appeal for all people eligible for eventual compensation or who, due to damage to their homes for 9 September 2011, had lost family members before 29 July 2019.

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who in each plenary identifies new New York victims who died due to 9/11-related diseases, urged individuals who qualified not to miss the July 29 deadline.

"This is an important deadline, and we want to make sure that all eligible individuals sign up for this fund. Everyone who is eligible deserves these benefits," Johnson said.

Concerning the application procedure, the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund cautions that registration is not the same as making a claim. Still, it is the first step that provides the key to subsequent stages.

“Enrollment is the first step in the claim filing process, and it simply preserves your right to file a claim in the future. You do not waive any legal rights when you register, and registering does not require you to file a claim,” warns the federal government.

“The registry works to alert the VCF that it may be a potential claimant and meets the legal requirement of punctuality established in the law. If you file a claim, you must have registered with the VCF before the applicable Registration Deadline to be eligible for compensation. For this reason, we encourage everyone to sign up, even if they are not sick or certified by the WTC Health Program. This way, you don't have to worry about registering in case you get sick in the future,” they added.

Common questions about the program.

Where can I obtain additional program information?

New York City offers an explanation of the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund at this link: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/911health/enrollees/9-11-health-and-compensation- act-faq.page

Where to apply for the WTC Health Program?

To apply and eventually be certified by the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program for a physical health condition related to September 11, you can use this link: https://www.cdc.gov/wtc/eligiblegroups.html.

How to fill out the registration application before the Victims Compensation Fund (VCF)?

  1. You can register through this page: https://www.vcf.gov/how-register
  2. You can also register by phone by calling the VCF Helpline at 1 (855)885-1555
  3. To learn more about the fund, you can visit the site: https://www.vcf.gov

Information to take into account before entering.

  • If you were certified by the WTC Health Program for a 9/11-related physical health issue before July 29, 2019, you must file your claim with the VCF by July 29, 2021.
  • The registration deadline expires two years after the enactment of the VCF Permanent Authorization Act, which aims to provide an opportunity for potentially eligible individuals who were unaware that the Compensation Fund existed, that it was available to them, or that their condition was related to 9/11 exposure.
  • If you have not been certified by the World Trade Center Health Program (“WTC”) for a physical health condition connected to September 11, or if your condition was certified after July 29, 2019, you may register before July 29, 2021. Still, you are not required to do so.
  • In that scenario, you will be required to register within two years of the last date on which the WTC Health Program certifies your physical health status as connected to 9/11.
  • If you are registering to submit a claim for a person you believe died before July 29, 2019, as a result of a physical health condition linked to September 11, you must do so by July 29, 2021

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