• 9/11 Victim Programs
  • Victim Compensation Fund (VCF)
  • WTC Health Program (WTCHP)
  • Wrongful Death VCF Claims

Can I get Social Security Disability or a Disability Pension Based on a 9/11 Illness and Still Get a Victim Compensation Fund Award?

You can receive Social Security Disability and an award from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. Many people affected by the post-9/11 toxic air were caused to be disabled – due to cancer or severe breathing condition – and qualified for Social Security Disability Benefits or a Disability Pension based on their  9/11-related conditions. These same people may also qualify for an award from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). Yes, you can receive both.

9/11 VCF claimants who are awarded SSD for a 9/11-related disability, including most any type of cancer, often are eligible for an award of lost earnings. In determining if a claimant is disabled and eligible for an award of lost earnings and benefits, the VCF places heavy reliance on the determination made by the Social Security Administration in deciding the SSD claim,  If SSD was granted based, at least on the part, on the 9/11 cancer or other 9/11-related condition, the VCF will typically accept this finding and make an additional award of lost earnings. This award amount is the difference between the total past and future expected lost earnings had the claimant not been disabled, minus the past and future SSD payments (and several other economic adjustments). These other factors include adjustments for the cost of living, the non-taxability of the award, the statistical risk of unemployment, a reduction in present value, and other economic factors. 

Who Qualifies for Social Security Disability or a Disability Pension Based on a 9/11 Illness?

In order to qualify for Social Security Disability, you must meet the requirements of the Social Security Administration's definition of disability, which includes having an impairment that has lasted or is expected to last at least 12 months, or results in death. Social Security Disability claims also require that you be unable to engage in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) due to physical injury or illness. Oftentimes, the disabling condition is cancer or other physical injury or illness that was caused or exacerbated by the attacks of September 11, 2001. 

Who Qualifies for an Award from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund?

To qualify for an award from the September 11th VCF, a claimant must have suffered a physical injury or illness caused or aggravated by the events of September 11th, 2001, or lost a family member due to the attack. A claimant must have been in the designated exposure areas during or in the months following the terrorist attacks, including lower Manhattan, the Pentagon, and the Shanksville, PA crash site. The amount of compensation awarded is determined on a case-by-case basis and is based on the nature and extent of the claimant's injuries and losses. Death benefits for the deceased’s Estate and the surviving spouse and/or children may also be available through a VCF claim. 

Can You Receive Both a Pension or Social Security and a VCF Award for 9/11-Related Conditions?

Yes, it is possible to receive both a pension or Social Security Benefits and a VCF award. You do not need to choose between these options. The VCF award is considered a one-time payment, while pension or Social Security benefits are considered long-term benefits that you may receive for the remainder of your life. The award from the VCF, however, will be reduced by the “present value” of the future amount of Social Security or pension benefits the claimant is expected to receive.

If you are receiving a pension or Social Security benefits, you may still be eligible to receive a VCF award for 9/11-related conditions. It is important to speak with an experienced 9/11 lawyer who is skilled in VCF claims before applying for a VCF award to understand the importance of winning Social Security Disability claims in conjunction with VCF claims.

Proving Eligibility for a VCF Award

In order to prove eligibility for a VCF award, a claimant will need to provide supporting documents such as medical records, proof of residency or employment, and evidence of losses due to the attack. Additionally, claimants must prove they were present at one of the designated Exposure Zones (south of Canal Street) on 9/11 or after the attacks (though May 30, 2002) by providing documentation or witness testimony.

Working with a 9/11 Lawyer to Maximize Your Payout

When filing a claim for a VCF award, it is important to work with an experienced 9/11 law firm. An experienced 9/11 lawyer can help maximize your award by ensuring that all of your documentation is in order, that all deadlines are met, and that all applicable evidence is included in your claim to get the full amount of compensation that you deserve. Ensure that you get everything you’re entitled to by working with a qualified attorney.

Consult Hansen & Rosasco's 9/11 Lawyers for Aid with Your VCF Claim

At Hansen & Rosasco, our experienced 9/11 lawyers are dedicated to helping victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001 receive the compensation they deserve. We understand the complexities of filing a VCF claim, and we are here to ensure that you receive the maximum amount of compensation possible. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you with your VCF claim.