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Proving You or Your Loved One Was Present at Ground Zero or the Pentagon on 9/11

To be eligible for 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund benefits, you must prove that you were present during or immediately after the terrorist attack. If you are applying for loss of your loved one, you must prove that she or he was present and died as a result of 9/11-related injuries or disease.

Proof of presence is not always easy to collect. More than a decade has gone by since the attacks. Paperwork and computers were destroyed in the World Trade Center collapse. Businesses have closed and owners sold their property, possibly shredding documents in the process. In the chaotic aftermath of the attack, volunteers jumped in to help without thinking about the need for proof. Possibly, you were a tourist or a visitor to the area, rather than a long-term resident or employee.

The most straightforward way to satisfy the VCF presence requirement is to obtain affidavits from witnesses who can verify you were present in the area in the days, weeks or months following the attack. Affidavits can come from a wide number of sources — if a landlord, neighbor, coworker, boss or other relevant person can corroborate your actual presence, talk to them about making an affidavit. Two affidavits are ideal, but one with a supporting document is also acceptable.

Some documents that show you or your loved one worked at the World Trade Center or the Pentagon or the surrounding areas during the relevant time include the following:

  • Paystubs
  • Direct deposit slips
  • Tax forms
  • Official personnel roster
  • Duty schedule
  • Worker injury report
  • Employee ID

You can show that you lived in lower Manhattan at the time of the WTC collapse through the following documents:

  • Mortgage paperwork
  • Lease agreements
  • Rent receipts
  • Cancelled checks
  • Utility bills

If you were a first responder or you volunteered or worked at the crash site, Ground Zero, the Pentagon or the Fresh Kills landfill you can present documents such as the following:

  • Work orders
  • Employment or project contracts
  • WTC, Pentagon, Fresh Kills or crash site credentials
  • Permits
  • Security clearance

As a tourist or visitor to the area on the date of the attack, you may have receipts for parking, hotel or purchases you made in the vicinity during the moments immediately prior to the attack.

An affidavit from your landlord, neighbor, coworker, boss or other relevant person corroborates your actual presence.

For assistance with collecting crucial evidence to support your Victim Compensation Fund application, consult with Barasch & McGarry.

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Compensation available to residents and office workers, teachers and students – not just responders and volunteers
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  • "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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