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9/11 Victim Compensation Fund

Providing Financial Compensation for September 11th Survivors and Responders

Originally open from December of 2001 until June of 2004, the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) was passed by Congress and signed into law in order to provide financial compensation to those who were injured or lost loved ones in the terrorist attacks on the United States that occurred on September 11, 2001. Though the fund served an important purpose in aiding those injured in the collisions themselves or immediate aftermath, it became evident that rescue personnel and people living or working in the area had suffered the consequences of toxic exposure. Health conditions related to rescue and clean-up efforts and poor air quality in the area developed and were diagnosed years after initial exposure, creating a real need to reopen the fund.

The Zadroga Act Reopens the Fund

Signed into law on January 2, 2011, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act (Zadroga Act) not only reopened the VCF but expanded the scope of people and medical conditions covered in order to help more of those in need. $2.8 billion was allocated to the new VCF and $1.5 billion was allocated to the World Trade Center Health Program for medical monitoring and care for 9/11 responders and survivors.

The reopened fund began accepting claims on October 3, 2011. For those who already know that their illness or injury was related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the deadline for filing a claim is October 3, 2013. People who are diagnosed with latent health problems or discover at a later date that their injuries/illness was related to the 9/11 attacks, rescue or clean-up operations will have two years from the date that they discover their injury was related to 9/11 to file a claim. All claims must be filed within five years after the VCF reopened; final payments are expected to be made in 2016-2017.

Who is eligible?

The following types of individuals may be eligible for compensation from the VCF, if they suffered direct harm as a result of the airplane crashes themselves or clean-up and rescue efforts in the time following the crashes:

  • Those who were present at the time of the September 11th collisions or from the time of the collisions until May 30, 2002, such as those living, working or visiting the area;
  • Those who participated in clean-up, rescue and debris removal efforts on September 11th or any time between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002; and
  • Personal representatives, such as family members, of those who lost their lives as a result of the crashes or debris removal and rescue efforts.

Physical injuries as well as certain latent health conditions and diseases may be considered related to the terrorist attacks or debris removal, depending on the situation. Certain health conditions and injuries are presumptively covered by the VCF, but this does not necessarily mean that you will not be covered if you do not see your condition listed. If a medical professional can prove that your condition is related to the WTC, Pentagon or Shanksville collisions, you may be entitled to compensation. Victims being treated by private physicians will need to supply diagnostic information about their condition in order for the VCF to make a determination about their eligibility for compensation.

People may file for compensation from the VCF even if they received other compensation such as life insurance, health insurance, workers' compensation or awards/settlements of civil lawsuits. The amount of compensation already received will be subtracted from any Victim Compensation Fund award. 9/11 responders and workers who settled their cases in the World Trade Center Disaster Site Litigation may also be eligible for additional benefits or compensation under the Zadroga Act.

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