9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Extends Deadline for Claims

9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Extends Deadline for Claims

John Feal, president and founder of the FealGood Foundation, has been a long-time advocate for first responders. Photo by Kyle Barr

Families, first responders, survivors, and the families of anyone who died in the past 18 years due to 9/11 related illness now will have more time to re-apply and file a claim after the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund extended its deadline for another year.

Individuals will have until July 29, 2021 to file a claim.

The new rule change gives the families of all 9/11 first responders or downtown workers, residents and students who died more than two years ago, from 2002 until the present, the chance to receive an award from the VCF. The VCF is also reviewing past submitted wrongful death claims and will make awards to the families whose wrongful death claims were denied due to missing the old two-year deadline.

Previously, the VCF required that the families of people who died from a 9/11-related illness to register their claim within two years from the date of death. The harsh old “two years from the date of death” deadline caused the denial of many VCF wrongful death claims for not meeting the two-year deadline. According to Ronkonkoma-based Turley Hansen & Rosasco, LLP, a 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Specialty Law Firm, only 2 percent of eligible families have filed for this benefit.

“We have many clients that missed this deadline, because they did not know that a cancer (or other death causing disease) was 9/11 related, did not know that the VCF applies to non-first responders or were wholly unaware of the VCF program until the recent news — when it was too late,” said attorney Daniel Hansen, of the firm.

According to a recent report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), about 410,000 people were exposed to the 9/11 related toxic dust released into the air in lower Manhattan in the area surrounding the World Trade Center site. An estimated 67,000 of those 410,000 exposed people have died since 2001.

Out of the 67,000 exposed people who have died in that time, only 1,173 families have filed wrongful death claims.