An important deadline is approaching for responders and survivors of the September 11th attacks.
At a recent press conference, New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler expressed their desire to ensure that all 9/11 responders and survivors who have been diagnosed with cancer, as well as the families of 9/11 responders and survivors who died of cancer, are made aware of the October 14, 2014 deadline to register with the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund (VCF).
The notice involves all September 11th responders and survivors diagnosed with certain cancers before October 12, 2012 who must register for the September 11th VCF by October 14, 2014. If these individuals do not register by this date, they will become ineligible for the program’s benefits.
Representatives Maloney and Nadler fought alongside Representative Peter King (New York) in the House of Representatives to reopen the program. The recent press conference was held with first responders, labor leaders, community representatives, and advocates for 9/11 survivors and focused on the importance of registering within the next few days.
The fund’s Special Master is unable to extend the deadline.
“We fought for over ten years to create the Victim Compensation Fund, but in just seven days many of these ill 9/11 responders and survivors who have cancer may miss the deadline to register,” said Congresswoman Maloney at the press conference. “If you have been diagnosed with a 9/11 covered cancer due to your exposure to toxins in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, I urge you to visit VCF.gov immediately and determine if you should register to preserve your right to file a claim,” she added.
“First responders and community survivors displayed unparalleled bravery and courage on September 11, 2001, and in the weeks following, as they risked their lives to search for victims among the rubble and to return to their homes, schools, and workplaces downtown. I strongly encourage those who have been diagnosed with cancer from exposure to Ground Zero during the aftermath of 9/11 to register with the VCF right away by going to VCF.gov. If you do not register by October 14, you will, unfortunately, not be eligible,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. “These brave heroes labored for weeks in the smoldering ash to clear debris and locate victims. The funds have already been designated for this purpose and it is imperative that as many responders and survivors as possible receive their just and deserved compensation.”
“Unfortunately too many of our 9/11 responders and survivors continue to fight serious illnesses, including 60 types of cancer caused by 9/11 toxin,” said Congressman King. “That is why it is imperative that these individuals are all registered with the Victims Compensation Fund. We have come too far and must ensure that our 9/11 heroes receive the care they deserve and are not left fighting alone because of ineligibility.”
Generally, claimants with a qualified condition who plan to file a claim with the VCF have two years from the diagnosis date to file a registration form so that their right to file a claim is preserved. Claimants diagnosed on or before October 12, 2012 with one of the cancers added to the list of eligible conditions must register with the Fund by October 14, 2014.
The financial compensation available through the VCF applies to injured and ill 9/11 first responders and survivors from the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the Shankesville, Pennsylvania sites. Those who believe they are eligible for compensation may register on the VCF’s website at www.vcf.gov. The VCF website contains information on eligibility and the registration process, as well as a list of cancers covered by the program, which can be found on the VCF FAQ page.
John Feal, first responder and advocate said, “It is that simple! We all have a moral obligation to disseminate this crucial deadline. There is no guarantee that the Zadroga Bill gets extended, and this deadline might be our last deadline! If you know someone, then tell someone! It is that simple” Community Representative Catherine McVay Hughes said, “9/11 responders and survivors who have been diagnosed with cancer due to 9/11 exposure have one week left to register for the 9/11 VCF. Please take a moment to do that now if you qualify, and to tell a friend in need.”