Officially known as “The Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Compensation Fund Act,” a widely hailed new law has provided a measure of relief to current and future victims of 9/11-related conditions. Under the old rule, all Victim Compensation Fund claims had to be filed by December 18, 2020. Since many of the medical problems linked to Ground Zero contamination take decades to develop, that deadline likely would have prevented many worthy claimants from collecting benefits.
Fortunately, the recently enacted statute should give every eligible person in the exposure zone the ability to secure compensation that has been designated for 9/11 victims. If you served as a first responder or you worked or lived in the World Trade Center area during the cleanup, there are several things you should know about the new law:
- Compensation for victims who discover 9/11 illnesses after 2020 — Under the revised rules, the VCF claim filing deadline is now October 1, 2090. This means that even if symptoms of cancer or other ailments don’t present themselves for many years, monetary relief will be available.
- Two-year notice requirement remains — To collect payment, a claimant must register with the VCF within two years of the date when they knew or reasonably should have known that they had a health problem connected to Ground Zero exposure.
- Reduced awards will be restored — If you or a family member previously received an award that was reduced because funding was not available, this should be corrected without any further action from you. Approximately 1,700 payments were cut in size, but the new law directs the VCF to pay the remaining amount into the bank account currently on record.
The filing deadline extension and the other elements of the permanent VCF authorization reflect years of tireless work from victims, advocates and sympathetic legislators. However, the fact that the law is more favorable does not guarantee justice for current and future claimants. Retaining the right attorney to assert your rights is still critical if you want the best chance at a proper result.
Barasch & McGarry has been a dedicated advocate for victims of 9/11 illnesses for many years and will continue to support individuals under the revised VCF provisions. For a free consultation with a proven lawyer, call us at [ln::phone] or contact us online.