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How Do I Prove I Was South of Canal Street on 9/11?

The VCF is available to both responders (rescue, recovery, cleanup and construction workers or volunteers) and survivors (area residents, workers, students, and passersby). While no documents are required to register, those who want to file a claim must prove that they were present within the program’s geographic boundaries between September 11th, 2001 and May 30th, 2002.

Certain employers have agreed to provide records of the personnel assigned to Ground Zero directly to the VCF, most notably the FDNY. For all other claimants, however, here are the most common VCF-approved ways to prove you were below Canal Street on or after 9/11:

  1. Provide two affidavits from people who personally witnessed you in the NYC Exposure Zone between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002. The affidavits must explain when they saw you there, why they were in the zone, why you were in the zone, and what you were doing there. (We can provide you with a simple affidavit form that’s easy to fill out and doesn’t require a notary.)
  2. Provide an official school transcript, card, or day care record with an accompanying cover letter from an employee of the school or facility certifying the accuracy of the information. The documents must confirm enrollment or attendance for a period between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002.
  3. Provide two of the following documents showing that you were present in the Exposure Zone between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002:
    1. An affidavit from a parent (in the case of a minor) or non-family member verifying your presence in the exposure zone during the period in question. (Again, we can provide an easy-fill form.)
    2. For Residents: Documents such as rent or mortgage receipt, utility bill, tax forms, FEMA records, or other similar documents that clearly show the address and the name(s) of addressee(s). If the document is in someone else’s name (e.g. parent or spouse), it needs to be accompanied by a letter explaining the claimant’s relationship to the individual in the address line.
    3. For Downtown Workers: A sworn Employer Verification Form or employment records confirming your presence in the zone. This can be a letter from the employer confirming your work at the site, an official personnel roster and site credentials confirming a work location, a workers’ injury report (documenting injury at the site), or a pay stub showing dates of work and the location where work was performed.
    4. Any contemporaneous document that shows your location – such as orders, instructions, confirmation of tasks performed, medical records (documenting treatment as a result of injury that occurred at the site), etc.

It’s usually stated for simplicity’s sake that the VCF covers anybody “below Canal Street,” but it’s worth noting that on the east side the exposure zone extends beyond Canal Street along East Broadway to Clinton Street. It also includes “any area related to or along the routes of debris removal, such as barges and Fresh Kills landfill.” Anybody who was present on 9/11 or lived, worked, or attended school within this zone in the months that followed is eligible for compensation for their 9/11-linked physical conditions. A map of the zone is available here.

Additionally, the VCF gives applicants the chance to submit additional documents if their initial application is denied on the grounds that their proof of presence is not sufficient. Further, the appeal process allows claimants to request an in-person hearing to convey their story.

We’re happy to answer all your questions regarding the process!

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Compensation available to residents and office workers, teachers and students – not just responders and volunteers
Our Attorneys
  • "Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson handled everything professionally and with patience. They always had time to answer all my questions and did what they promised. Thanks esp to Brian Calamaris Lee London, and Mariya Atanasova. Thank you." - William Collins, FDNY

  • "If I could give them six stars I would...don't even bother talking to anyone else concerning 9/11. The whole team worked night and day to deliver an outstanding settlement. They are honest, hard working and extremely professional. Just make the one phone call and let them do the rest." - Les Margulis, resident in the exposure zone

  • "I had a very good experience with Michael and Mariya. They made the process stress free. I would recommend this firm to anyone seeking assistance with 9/11 related illnesses." - JE Kirwan, worked in the exposure zone

  • "The people at this firm were just great. They were concern with making sure I was taken care of in every way possible. When I was given an award Mr. Barasch didn't think it was a fair amount and appealed the decision which got me a larger award. I am very satisfied with everything they did for me in the past and are willing to do for me and my family in the future." - Bob Wiecezak, FDNY-Retired

  • "Excellent law firm. Lee London and his staff were very responsive and always followed up with phone calls or emails. This firm is a strong example of what caring and personable lawyers are all about." - Letitia Egan, wife of client, volunteer in the exposure zone

  • Deadline Extended to Register for Compensation

    There is still time to apply for significant compensation if you have been diagnosed with any of the 68 cancers that doctors at the WTC Health Program (WTCHP) have linked to the WTC toxic dust. The deadline to apply to the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) is two years from the date that a cancer has been certified by the WTC Health Program — or any other governmental agency. The two-year period to register doesn’t start on the day of a cancer diagnosis. Rather, it starts only when a cancer survivor is made aware their cancer was linked to exposure to the WTC toxins.

    For those who died from their WTC-linked cancers, the two-year period for their family to register starts on the day of the death of the WTC victim.

    Register For Compensation

Please help spread the word about the strict two-year deadline to register a claim

Many people have tried to complete the VCF application on their own, only to learn that it requires answers to hundreds of questions and many documents to download. It would be our pleasure to help you complete the process in order to ensure that you receive the compensation that you are entitled to. Please call us for a free consultation.

Let a knowledgeable attorney help you figure it out

A cancer diagnosis can be terrifying. You undoubtedly have questions about your disease and how you will pay for treatment. Lawyers at Barasch & McGarry ensure you understand the complex requirements and help devise the best strategies for obtaining compensation and appropriate medical care under the Zadroga Act. Contact our law firm online or call 888-351-9421. The initial consultation is free, so it costs you nothing to find out whether a lawyer can help.
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