With a crucial compensation-filing deadline for September 11th responders and survivors less than a week away, elected officials and other leaders are making a concerted effort to alert those who need to register with the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) by October 14 to retain eligibility for compensation claims.
Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney, Jerrold Nadler, and Peter King held a press conference on October 7, alongside first responders, labor leaders, community representatives and advocates for 9/11 survivors to stress the importance of registering by October 14, 9/11 Health Watch reports. “We must ensure that our 9/11 heroes receive the care they deserve and are not left fighting alone because of ineligibility,” Rep. King said. Individuals who have a qualified condition – certain cancers or other illnesses caused by toxic exposure in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks – have two years from the date of diagnosis to file a registration form in order to retain the right to file a claim, according to 9/11 Health Watch. Registering with the fund, which is a simple process, is the first step toward filing a claim. Those who were diagnosed on or before October 12, 2012 with one of the cancers on the list must register with the VCF by October 14, 2014. The Special Master who oversees the VCF does not have the authority to extend the deadline.
Compensation is available to injured and ill 9/11 first responders and survivors from the World Trade Center site, the Pentagon, and the Shankesville, Pennsylvania crash site. Those who believe they are eligible for compensation can register at www.vcf.gov. The web site has information about eligibility and the registration process, a list of cancers and illnesses covered by the program, and information about obtaining assistance with filing a claim.
Last month, a bipartisan group of legislators, introduced legislation to extend the VCF and the World Trade Center Health Program, but unless the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act is reauthorized, the VCF will close in October 2016, 9/11 Health Watch advises.