9-11 VCF Changes Eligibility Requirements for WTC Cancers

You may have been told in the past that you could not file a victim’s compensation fund claim for 9/11 cancer because you missed the deadline.  Due to recent changes to VCF eligibility requirements, that may no longer be the case.

Until last week there was a strict two year deadline to register a 9/11 cancer claim with the VCF.  The two years began to run from the date of diagnosis, which was a pathology report or other diagnostic test.  Hundreds, if not thousands of 9/11 cancer survivors (as well as family members of people who died from a 9/11 cancer or illness) missed the 2 year deadline because they simply didn’t realize that there was a link between their 9/11 cancer and the toxic dust in Lower Manhattan.  They certainly had no idea that they were entitled to compensation.

How did the Zadroga Act expand the reach of the VCF?

In brief, when President Obama signed the Zadroga Act into law on January 2, 2011, the law reactivated the VCF, reopening it in 2011. At that point, it was authorized to operate until October 2016. However, many victim advocates emphasized the importance of extending the VCF beyond the October 2016. The reauthorization of the Zadroga Act in 2015 came with the reauthorization of the VCF, as well. At that point, the legislation extended the VCF for an additional five years. With the reauthorization, individuals now are eligible to submit claims until the date of December 18, 2020. The reauthorization also resulted in changes to the way claims will be evaluated and losses will be calculated.

The new regulation allows people diagnosed with virtually any 9/11 cancer to register VCF claims within 2 years of the date of that they were told by the government that their rare cancer might be related to WTC exposure.   This rule applies not only to WTC responders, but also to residents, office workers and students; basically anyone who spent enough time in Manhattan below Canal Street between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002.

Under current law, the claims deadline is December 18, 2020. Any claims filed after that date will not be considered. That includes both new and refiled claims, so if the SM dismisses your claim due to a lack of evidence, you acquire that new evidence, and refile the claim after the deadline, the SM will not even look at it.

Nineteen years after 9/11 is a long time in many respects, but in terms of the WTC Compensation Fund, it is not a very long time at all, considering the nature of these illnesses. Some VCF injuries, most notably mesothelioma, may take up to thirty or forty or more years to develop. At Napoli Law, victim compensation is our number one priority, so we are already working behind the scenes to help ensure that WTC victims get the compensation they deserve, even if their 9/11 illness does not become apparent for several more decades.

For more information regarding whether your injury or illness may be deemed eligible for the VCF, please call us at (212) 397-1000. We would be happy to discuss your individual circumstances with you.

Some of the most experienced 9/11 injury lawyers in New York are right here at Napoli Shkolnik PLLC. Our savvy professionals will quickly evaluate your claim, collect the necessary evidence, file all appropriate claims forms and paperwork, and then aggressively represent you before the SM. Call today for a free consultation.