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Proving You or Your Loved One Was Present at Ground Zero or the Pentagon on 9/11

To be eligible for 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund benefits, you must prove that you were present during or immediately after the terrorist attack. If you are applying for loss of your loved one, you must prove that she or he was present and died as a result of 9/11-related injuries or disease.

Proof of presence is not always easy to collect. More than a decade has gone by since the attacks. Paperwork and computers were destroyed in the World Trade Center collapse. Businesses have closed and owners sold their property, possibly shredding documents in the process. In the chaotic aftermath of the attack, volunteers jumped in to help without thinking about the need for proof. Possibly, you were a tourist or a visitor to the area, rather than a long-term resident or employee.

The most straightforward way to satisfy the VCF presence requirement is to obtain affidavits from witnesses who can verify you were present in the area in the days, weeks or months following the attack. Affidavits can come from a wide number of sources — if a landlord, neighbor, coworker, boss or other relevant person can corroborate your actual presence, talk to them about making an affidavit. Two affidavits are ideal, but one with a supporting document is also acceptable.

Some documents that show you or your loved one worked at the World Trade Center or the Pentagon or the surrounding areas during the relevant time include the following:

  • Paystubs
  • Direct deposit slips
  • Tax forms
  • Official personnel roster
  • Duty schedule
  • Worker injury report
  • Employee ID

You can show that you lived in lower Manhattan at the time of the WTC collapse through the following documents:

  • Mortgage paperwork
  • Lease agreements
  • Rent receipts
  • Cancelled checks
  • Utility bills

If you were a first responder or you volunteered or worked at the crash site, Ground Zero, the Pentagon or the Fresh Kills landfill you can present documents such as the following:

  • Work orders
  • Employment or project contracts
  • WTC, Pentagon, Fresh Kills or crash site credentials
  • Permits
  • Security clearance

As a tourist or visitor to the area on the date of the attack, you may have receipts for parking, hotel or purchases you made in the vicinity during the moments immediately prior to the attack.

An affidavit from your landlord, neighbor, coworker, boss or other relevant person corroborates your actual presence.

For assistance with collecting crucial evidence to support your Victim Compensation Fund application, consult with Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson.

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