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Why 9/11 Still Matters But Not For The Reasons You Think: Inside the VCF and WTCHP Program


Unforeseen health consequences from toxic 9/11 dust have been on the rise for 16 years since September 11th, 2001. Even more shocking; most of the impacted individuals were only caught in the dust cloud or exposed for less than 60 minutes. As a result, many have come down with a host of devastating health conditions ranging from the rarest of cancers to a variety of respiratory diseases—sometimes occurring simultaneously.

Logically, the next questions many ask is: What should one do if sickened by World Trade Center toxic debris exposure?

Flashback to 2010. President Barack Obama signed into law the Zadroga Act, a law that provides compensation and healthcare for the impacted individuals and families to help alleviate pain and suffering. Through ratification of the Zadroga Act, the government also birthed two programs known as the VCF and the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP). However, though created by the same Act, these programs differ in objectives. The Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) primarily focuses on providing monetary compensation for physical health conditions, while the WTCHP provides free healthcare to those who are sick or who have psychological illnesses.

According to the government’s statistics, there were over 400,000 people in downtown Manhattan exposed to the WTC toxins between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002: 25,000 residents, 325,000 office workers, teachers, and students, and 80,000 responders. While there are differences in criteria for the “disaster area” between the WTCHP (South of Houston Street and western Brooklyn) and VCF (South of Canal Street), both programs agree on one major point: everyone was exposed to the same toxic dust. Hence, it is no surprise that first responders are not the only people who were affected by 9/11 toxic exposure. Students, teachers, residents, workers, and volunteers were also all affected.

On February 07, 2018, an open forum was held in Manhattan Public High School Stuyvesant High School in order to create a dialogue for discussing physical health issues experienced daily by individuals within the exposure zone. 9/11 Victims Rights Attorney Michael Barasch, United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew, 9/11 Environmental Action Director Kimberly Flynn and four students spoke.

In the Sixth Annual Report and released by Special Master Rupa Bhattacharyya, on February 09, 2018, the VCF reported that upwards of 80,000 people have registered with the World Trade Center Health Program and 32,689 people have filed a claim with the VCF seeking monetary compensation for their physical conditions. The numbers are expected to increase as more people are diagnosed with cancer and more people die.

While the VCF was funded with $7.3 billion and continues to provide monetary compensation, this governmentally funded program is supposed to close at the end of 2020. It will need to be reauthorized by Congress.

To date, the VCF has awarded $3.3 billion to 35,000 people. Thousands of claims are pending. It is critical that those in the downtown exposure zone between 9/11 and May, 2002 continue to be made aware of the resources available to them. Please spread the word to anyone who was exposed – especially to those who now live outside of the New York City area.

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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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