Many people suffering with medical problems related to the World Trade Center attack or cleanup are not able to recognize symptoms or to connect them with Ground Zero exposure until years later. This can present significant problems as they pursue payments from the Victim Compensation Fund. With the recent permanent authorization of the VCF, individuals who were in the danger zone have extra motivation to prove their eligibility for reimbursement or medical treatment associated with a 9/11-related condition.
Various documents can support a Ground Zero exposure claim and an attorney familiar with VCF rules can outline what you need to present the strongest case. First, it’s important to understand the location and time requirements. The World Trade Center exposure zone runs from the southern tip of Manhattan up to Canal Street and East Broadway, stretching from the Hudson River to the East River. To pursue benefits, you must have been within the area between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002. The VCF has published a checklist outlining the following documents that can be used to establish eligibility:
- Employment records — If your claim is based on your having worked in Lower Manhattan in 2001 and/or 2002, personnel records, a letter from your employer or a pay stub will support your filing.
- Proof of residence — Canceled rent checks, mortgage documents, utility bills are proof that you lived within the affected neighborhood.
- Contemporaneous documents — Medical records, school attendance reports or other materials that were created at the time you were near the Ground Zero site are acceptable evidence.
- Sworn affidavits — You can submit sworn affidavits from witnesses who attest that you were present in the 9/11 exposure zone during the relevant time period.
At least two forms of proof are required to ensure evaluation of your claim. If you’re unsure about whether you have the proper materials, a lawyer with detailed knowledge of VCF regulations can help.
Barasch & McGarry is a leader among New York City law firms in recovering payment for victims of illnesses linked to exposure at the Ground Zero site. Please call us at 888-351-9421 or contact us online to make an appointment regarding your potential claim.