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What Documents Can Students Use as Proof of Presence?

Former students who attended school near the WTC clean-up have a lot of options when it comes to proof of presence documentation. Not only were many residing downtown during the 2001-2002 school year, but the WTC Health Program and VCF both accept official school documents that are fairly easy to get. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that the programs have slightly different requirements. Some of the documents that will work for one will not work for the other. In general, here’s what you need for each:

WTC Health Program Accepted Proof of Presence Documents

  • A letter from your day care center, school, or volunteer organization that states your home address and the school’s address during the 2001-2002 school year.
  • A student identification card from a school located in the exposure zone.
  • A school transcript from a school located in the zone for the Fall 2001 and/or Spring 2002 semester.
  • For students that also lived in the disaster zone: A letter from a neighbor or building employee (preferably not family) or a lease or utility bill with your family name showing your residence below Houston Street or in the eligible zone in Western Brooklyn between September 11, 2001 and July 31, 2002.

For anybody unable to find official supporting documentation: The program will accept an affidavit written by someone who can confirm your eligibility details (known as a third-party attestation). The third-party attestation must include the address of your home, workplace, school, daycare, or adult daycare center; or describe your exposure to the dust or dust cloud. If you cannot find somebody to write a third-party attestation, you can write a letter yourself that includes the required information (a first-party attestation) and details about why you can’t locate the required documents. You can download a blank affidavit at Proof of Presence Affidavit

[Note: If you both lived and attended school in the zone, there is no additional benefit bestowed by providing proof of both. Generally, for people that were children at the time it is easier to provide school documentation. We can help you figure out how to get a transcript.]

VCF Accepted Proof of Presence Documents
(Keep in mind that no documents are required to register with the VCF. You only need to provide proof of presence to file a claim.)

  • 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 between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002.
  • 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 specifically they saw you there, why they were in the zone, why you were in the zone, and what you were doing there. Former classmates who attended school with you at that time and/or teachers and administrators who taught you during that period can also fill these out. (We can provide you with a simple affidavit form that’s easy to fill out and doesn’t require a notary.)
  • For residents who lived in the NYC Exposure Zone on 9/11 or during the aftermath, documents such as rent or mortgage receipts, utility bills, tax documents, FEMA documents, or other similar documents that clearly show the address and the name(s) of the individuals to whom the documents were addressed are accepted. If the document is in someone else’s name, such as a parent’s, they need to be accompanied by a letter explaining the claimant’s relationship to the individual in the address line. Claimants who submit one of these as proof will also need to submit ONE affidavit from a non-parent or family member who can attest to them living there at that time.

In general, school documentation is still available and easy to access for anybody who was a student in the NYC public schools or downtown colleges and universities.

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    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.

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