Let me begin by acknowledging the Coronavirus health crisis and expressing my sincere hope that you are taking good care of yourself. I am very concerned about the 9/11 community. You are among the most vulnerable since many of you have serious respiratory illnesses and cancers. Please follow the recommendations from the CDC and, as much as possible, avoid being with groups of people. And please encourage anyone you know who may be eligible – your former downtown friends, neighbors, co-workers, fellow students and teachers – to enroll in the WTC Health Program. The doctors at the Health Program are more knowledgeable than any other doctors about treating 9/11 respiratory illnesses, and their expertise can make a difference.
There have been two significant changes to the Victim Compensation Fund that I would like to bring to your attention. The first affects you directly, as someone who received either a VCF award and/or an award from the prior litigation. The second affects the entire 9/11 community. We hope that you will help us spread the word.
VCF Fully Funded
First, as I’m sure you know, the VCF has been fully funded and permanently extended. Thank you Jon Stewart and other 9/11 advocates who walked the halls of Congress with us.
What does this mean for you? As a VCF award recipient, you did not waive your legal rights when you received your initial award; you maintain your right to file a new claim for the next 70 years. Please let us know if you have been diagnosed with a new illness or have been found disabled since you received your initial award.
VCF Deadline Extension
Secondly, the VCF Special Master recently extended the deadline for thousands of people in the 9/11 community who failed to timely register their claim.
The original VCF statute required people to file claims within two years of their illness diagnosis or within two years of their loved one’s date of death. If they failed to register timely, they were barred from filing a claim. This deadline extension provides a second chance to file a claim.
What does this mean for you? Help us spread the word. So many in the 9/11 community have no idea about the rights to which they are entitled. The new deadline to file is July 29, 2021. If you know anyone who did not file a timely claim, or had a family member die of cancer or a pulmonary illness, tell them they may now assert a claim whether they were diagnosed or died in 2006 or just last week.
For anyone who would like more information, please have them contact us. We will confidentially talk to them about their situation and assess their opportunity to file a claim. We will also enroll them into the free WTC Health Program, if he or she hasn’t done so already. But remember, the new deadline to file – July 29, 2021 – is only 16 months from now. It’s important to act quickly.
During the coronavirus health crisis, our firm remains open though our staff is working remotely, as per Governor Cuomo’s order. You can contact us by email at BaraschMcGarry@BaraschMcGarry.com. This is likely to be the most efficient way to communicate with us. You can also reach us by phone at 212-385-8000. If you contact us via phone, you may need to leave a message with a representative. Your call will be returned promptly, I assure you.
Stay safe during these turbulent times, and know that we are always here to help you, your family and everyone in the 9/11 community.