The Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), a critical financial support mechanism for 9/11 heroes, has gained even more importance as the coronavirus ravages survivors and responders. Families who lose a member due to COVID-19 are eligible to be part of the compensation fund as long as a qualifying 9/11-related illness is listed in the death certificate under one of these three categories:
- The immediate cause of death
- An underlying cause of death
- A significant condition contributing to death
However, as always, VCF compensation, even for coronavirus deaths, is available only if the victim’s 9/11-related condition was certified by the WTC Health Program.
The possibility of COVID-19 infection is yet another reason why all 9/11 survivors and responders should enroll in the WTC Health Program. The program, and by extension the VCF, are underutilized by the community. Only 105,000 people are enrolled in the WTC Health Program, which is about one quarter of the 400,000-plus people exposed to toxic dust and debris after the attacks. About half of those enrollees (58,000) have struggled with respiratory problems, heart disease, high rates of cancer and other health conditions tied to 9/11.
By enrolling for free in the program and the VCF, survivors can receive free health care for the rest of their lives and significant compensation.
Two decades after 9/11, many survivors are still the primary providers for their families. Only 5 percent of them are aware of the programs and their benefits.
At Barasch & McGarry, we are doing our best to get the word out to survivors. Our lawyers, who have dedicated their careers to helping the 9/11 community, are always available to answer questions and provide any assistance needed to help get survivors enrolled in the programs. Our New York attorneys can be reached at [ln::phone] or you can contact us online.