9/11 Benefits for Volunteers
One of the most enduring legacies of the 9/11 attacks is the selfless courage of thousands of volunteers who poured into New York City from all across the country to assist with rescue and recovery operations. Many of those volunteers were present at Ground Zero from the moment the planes hit until the completion of site clearance in May 2002. Unfortunately, such prolonged exposure to Ground Zero’s toxins has resulted in serious 9/11-related health issues for volunteers, making them eligible to receive benefits under the 911 victim compensation fund (VCF).
EXAMPLES OF 9/11 VOLUNTEERS
An extraordinarily broad range of individuals sprang into action to assist with rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero. Some of those individuals included:
- Off-duty police officers, firefighters, and EMTs
- City workers
- Construction workers
- Medical personnel
- Members of the clergy
- Residents, workers, and students of Lower Manhattan
- Boat owners who assisted with evacuation efforts
HOW TO PROVE YOUR PRESENCE AT A 9/11 SITE FOR PURPOSES OF 911 VICTIM COMPENSATION FUND BENEFITS
Individuals who volunteered within the NYC exposure zone (namely the Lower Manhattan area below Canal Street) and who suffer a 9/11-related health condition are generally eligible for VCF benefits. However, such individuals must prove that they were present in the area between September 11, 2001, and May 30, 2002. The VCF accepts the following types of documentation to establish an individual’s presence:
- A third-party verification of presence signed by your volunteer organization attesting to your presence
- Witness presence statements and affidavits
- Medical records dated on or before September 11, 2003, documenting your treatment for an injury that occurred at the site
- Documentation from the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board for claims made to the WTC Volunteer Fund
- For Red Cross volunteers, documents and information from the Red Cross attesting to your presence
It is generally best to submit as many different types of documents as possible to present the strongest evidence of your presence at a 9/11 site.
RELEVANT DEADLINES FOR VOLUNTEER CLAIMANTS
The registration and claim filing deadlines for the VCF are fairly straightforward. The registration deadline (the deadline by which you must alert the VCF that you may be a potential claimant) is two years from the latest date on which the WTC Health Program certifies for health conditions as 9/11-related. The claim filing deadline (the deadline by which you must submit a formal claim) is October 1, 2090 — the date on which the program is scheduled to cease operations.
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT 911 VICTIM COMPENSATION FUND BENEFITS FOR VOLUNTEERS
If you developed a 9/11-related health condition after volunteering in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, you deserve to be compensated to the fullest extent possible. For more information about your eligibility to receive VCF benefits as a volunteer under the 911 victim compensation fund, please contact an experienced attorney at Pitta & Baione by using our online contact form or by calling us at 844-901-1312.