Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice made an extremely important change to the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). As a result, many cancer victims who missed the deadline to register for compensation can now do so.
Until last week there was a strict two year deadline to register a cancer claim with the VCF. The two years began to run from the date of a cancer diagnosis, which was typically the date on the pathology report. Hundreds, if not thousands of cancer survivors (as well as family members of people who died from a 9/11 illness or cancer) missed the 2 year deadline because they simply didn’t realize that there was a link between their cancer and the WTC toxic dust. They certainly had no idea that they were entitled to compensation.
The new regulation allows people diagnosed with any of the 68 cancers, that doctors have linked to the toxic dust, to register VCF claims within 2 years of the date that they were told by a governmental agency that their cancer was related to their WTC exposure. In other words, the new 2 year deadline begins once the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP), or a Governmental Agency such as Workers Compensation or a NYC pension department, specifically rules that your cancer was caused by exposure to the WTC toxic dust. This rule applies not only to WTC responders, but also to local residents, office workers and students; basically anyone who spent time in Manhattan below Canal Street, or at the Staten Island Landfill or NYC Morgue, between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002.
Please help us spread the word about this new regulation. If you know someone who lived or worked downtown and they were diagnosed with cancer they may still be eligible if they get certified now by the WTCHP.
This change is one that we have been lobbying for since doctors first linked cancers to the WTC toxins. It will enable many more people to get the compensation that they deserve. If you want additional information, please call my office at (212) 385-8000.