October 9, 2014
By Kandace Vallejo, NYCOSH World Trade Center Health Program Outreach Coordinator
This year, as the 13th anniversary of September 11th passes and fall sets in, many New Yorkers continue to be reminded that sadly, the tragedy isn’t over. Just days ago, three more firefighters lost their lives to 9/11-related cancers. The month of October marks another important date for those living with World Trade Center related cancers to remember: the October 12th Victim’s Compensation Fund registration deadline.
Thankfully, these individuals, as well as the families of the deceased, are not without support. Organizations and institutions across the New York metro area are collaborating to ensure that those who were most impacted are aware of and have access to the programs that exist to provide medical care and other types of support benefits.
The Victims Compensation Fund (VCF) is a monetary compensation program created to alleviate the financial burdens of ongoing World Trade Center-related illnesses and injuries. Qualifying applicants include volunteer or paid rescue, response, clean-up or recovery workers who were present on 9/11 or through May 30, 2002. The VCF also covers those individuals who worked or resided in the impacted area of lower Manhattan below Canal Street during the same time period, as well as the families of the deceased who may not have filed claims yet. The upcoming October 12 deadline applies only to those individuals (or families of those) diagnosed with the applicable list of related cancers. Others who have not yet been diagnosed with an illness of this kind needn’t worry: there is still two years left to register otherwise.
World Trade Center responders and survivors should be aware that filing a full claim isn’t necessary in order to meet this deadline, either. An interim registration form is all that is needed in order to retain the right to file a claim, and will keep potential beneficiaries in line with the registration deadline. Those with questions about the VCF deadline can call the VCF helpline toll free at 1-855-885-1555 or find a wealth of information on the FAQ page of the website.
For those to whom this deadline doesn’t apply, consider your networks of co-workers, loved ones, and neighbors. Was someone you know present on or during the aftermath of 9/11? Have they filed yet? Who else can you tell about this important news? As a community we can work to make sure that those who gave so much are able to receive the care and support they deserve.