Geographic presence is one of the two main qualifications for participation in both the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and the World Trade Center Health Program. Basically, the requirement is that a claimant must have actually been present at an attack site during the attack itself or the subsequent cleanup effort. However, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 recognized that some individuals developed serious conditions from debris exposure even though they were never present at one of the sites. That is why certain exceptions have been made to broaden participation in both programs.
The 9/11 crash sites include not only the World Trade Center buildings and surrounding areas but also a substantial exposure zone in New York City. This includes areas south of Canal Street, East Broadway and Clinton Street. Even some people outside this zone can qualify:
- Those present at the Fresh Kills landfill or other debris disposal sites, as well as routes on which debris was transported
- Employees of the NYC medical examiner’s office or other morgue employees who worked with human remains from the attack up to May 30, 2002
- Workers who repaired or handled vehicles and other equipment contaminated by WTC debris before May 30, 2002
Victims must be able to prove their presence in an exposure zone through employment records, affidavits or other evidence. A Zadroga Act attorney can help determine whether you meet the physical presence requirement and how best to prove it for your VCF claim.