Eligibility for 9/11 Responders from Our VCF Attorneys
Our VCF Lawyer Can Help Police Officers, Firefighters, and EMTs Who Are Uniquely at Risk for 9/11-Related Health Conditions
The risk of developing a 9/11-related health condition increases according to the degree and length of exposure to Ground Zero toxins. As the first individuals to arrive on the scene shortly after the planes struck the towers, first responders — who ran into the toxic dust cloud while others ran away from it — suffered the most severe and prolonged exposure.
It is no coincidence, then, that the first death officially attributed to exposure to the toxins was an NYPD officer named James Zadroga, whose name now graces the VCF’s enabling statute, the Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act.
How Responders Helped on 9/11 and in its Aftermath
Responders across the New York City area sprang into action immediately after the first plane struck the Twin Towers, selflessly running up stairs into burning buildings to rescue those trapped inside. After the towers fell others continued rescue and recovery work in the buildings’ ruins, which they referred to simply as “the pile.” Work on the pile came with its own set of hazards, as the pile consisted mostly of sharp, twisted, and unstable steel beams laid on top of burning fires. The risk of falling or being crushed was ever-present, not to mention the long-term dangers of prolonged exposure to the toxins released by the collapse.
9/11-Related Health Conditions Affecting Responders
Investigators estimate that only about 20% of responders, including police officers, firefighters, and EMTs, had masks that would protect their respiratory systems from the toxins in the air. These toxins included diesel exhaust, pulverized cement, glass fibers, asbestos, silica, benzene, jet fuel, and lead. In the short term, many responders developed a severe respiratory condition that came to be known as “WTC Cough,” which resulted in a decrease in lung function equivalent to 12 years of age-related decline.
In the long term, our VCF lawyer knows that numerous responders have been diagnosed with a wide variety of conditions believed to be 9/11-related, including, but not limited to:
- Asthma and COPD
- Cancers, including lung cancer, bone cancer, breast cancer (including male breast cancer), skin cancer, brain cancer, thyroid cancer, and urinary system cancers
- Digestive illnesses and injuries
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Mesothelioma and asbestos-related diseases
- Mental health conditions
The Zadroga Act allows any interested party to submit a petition to the WTC Health Program to add a condition to its official list of 9/11-related health conditions. Contact a VCF lawyer for more information about how to do so.
VCF Deadlines for Responders to Keep in Mind
There are two important VCF deadlines responders should keep in mind: the registration deadline and the claim filing deadline. The registration deadline, which is the deadline by which you must create an account with the VCF and alert them that you are a potential claimant, is two years from the latest date on which the WTC Health Program certifies the health condition as being 9/11-related. The claim filing deadline, which is the deadline by which you must submit a formal claim, is the same for everyone — October 1, 2090.
Compensation for 9/11 Responders is Available with a VCF Lawyer
Responders who put their personal safety and lives at risk during the September 11th attacks have the right to compensation and other benefits under a pair of federal programs. Although these benefits will never undo the devastation caused by the attacks, they are designed to help responders – and their loved ones – address the medical and financial consequences. At Pitta & Baione, our VCF lawyers help 9/11 responders and survivors get the full compensation and other benefits available.
We are experienced attorneys with a track record of success in the World Trade Center Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. Each VCF lawyer at Pitta and Baione has dedicated their career to assisting the people who responded heroically when New York needed them.
If you or a loved one is considering seeking benefits or having trouble getting a claim approved, time is of the essence. Victim Compensation Fund benefits are distributed on a “first come, first served” basis. There are also certain deadlines for filing a claim, which vary based on the circumstances.
A VCF lawyer can help you understand your rights and options and file the strongest possible claim for benefits.
Are 9/11 Responders Eligible for Compensation?
Two programs offer benefits for responders: The World Trade Center Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. The benefits offered under each program and the eligibility standards for obtaining those benefits vary.
The World Trade Center Health Program provides healthcare benefits, such as free medical monitoring, as well as treatment and medication for physical and psychological illnesses. The benefits are available for responders with certain illnesses and other medical conditions, including cancer, respiratory ailments and traumatic injuries. Responders can get medical treatment through a network of clinics in New York and New Jersey, as well as throughout the country.
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund is designed to provide financial compensation to responders and their families for certain monetary losses associated with the attacks. A VCF lawyer can help you pursue compensation for lost earnings, benefits and related out-of-pocket medical expenses, along with pain and suffering.
For responders who have been injured as a result of exposure to toxic dust sent into the air during the attacks and building collapses, each program requires you to show that you were within a certain exposure zone at the time of or in the aftermath of the attacks. At Pitta & Baione, we want you to understand that the lines in the “exposure zone” can extend beyond what you normally see on television. We work with first responders and others who were exposed north of Canal Street to Houston Street between September 11, 2001 and July 31, 2002. The programs also consider claims by people who were exposed to toxins at the Fresh Kills Landfill in Staten Island, the New York City Chief Medical Examiner’s Office, and other areas related to, or along, routes of debris removal.
Talk to a VCF Lawyer About Your Benefits Today
If you or a loved one is a responder who is considering seeking 9/11 WTCHP or VCF benefits – or if you are having trouble getting your claim approved – the September 11th benefits attorneys at Pitta & Baione can help.
For more information about eligibility requirements of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and the World Trade Center Health Program, contact a VCF lawyer at Pitta & Baione LLP at 844-WTC-COMP or [email protected].
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