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The VCF: Who Is in Charge?

The September 11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) was created to provide compensation to people injured and killed because of the terrorist attacks on the United States in 2001. By law, operation of the VCF requires a Special Master to administer the fund. 

In 2011, Sheila Birnbaum was appointed by United States Attorney General Eric Holder to act as Special Master of the VCF. Ms. Birnbaum manages payout of compensation claims to victims of the 9/11 attacks. 

Since her appointment, Ms. Birnbaum has pursued objectives that include the following: 

  • Revise and update the VCF website to include online claim forms.
  • Hire and coordinate staff to review and process claims.
  • Treat claimants fairly within the limitations of the $2.8 billion fund.
  • Supervise the fund in a manner transparent and respectful of the community served by the fund. 

Ms. Birnbaum, the daughter of a Russian immigrant grocer, grew up in New York. Prior to attending law school, she taught fourth grade. After law school, she entered private legal practice and later taught at Fordham University School of Law and New York University School of Law. Ms. Birnbaum is known for her skill with cases involving products liability and complicated litigation. 

Still in private practice, Ms. Birnbaum performs her duties for the VCF on a pro bono basis. When the VCF was originally activated in 2001, she mediated compensation claims for the first Special Master, Kenneth Feinberg. 

Despite the administrative challenges posed by the VCF, Ms. Birnbaum stresses the importance of addressing the “lived nightmares” of the victims of 9/11. She notes, despite the passage of time, the memories and events of that day remain real to those who suffered. 

If you have questions about the VCF or your compensation claim, speak with an experienced attorney in New York.

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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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