The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, shocked the nation and left many people seriously injured, both as a result of their presence at the Twin Towers and due to their involvement in rescue or cleanup efforts following the attacks themselves. Twenty years later, the nation continues to remember the attacks and those victims.
According to the official record, approximately 2,753 people died during the attacks on the Twin Towers, when terrorists deliberately flew two planes into the buildings. Another 184 people died in the attack on the Pentagon, including the passengers in the plane. Since then, however, countless more individuals have suffered serious diagnoses or died because of their involvement at or near Ground Zero.
Even residents or people who worked in Lower Manhattan in the later months of 2001 and the early months of 2002 have seen severe health consequences, including an increased risk of developing mesothelioma, cancer, and other serious ailments.
The September 11 Victim Compensation Fund: Fast Facts
Between December 2001 and June 2004, the original Victim Compensation Fund opened for applications. The fund, while it could not bring back the people lost in the attacks or alleviate the damages sustained by those who suffered serious injuries, provided some financial compensation for the families of victims lost in the 9/11 attacks.
During those early days, the fund received more than 7,400 applications. The fund issued awards in 5,560 of those cases.
On January 2, 2011, the fund reopened and expanded, with awards going to those who sustained serious injuries or illnesses due to the September 11 terrorist attacks. The new fund recognized the serious illnesses developed by many of the residents and workers throughout the area long after the initial attacks. It remains open to this day, with permanent funding and provision enacted by past legislators to continue to aid those victims.
The Importance of the VCF
The Victim Compensation Fund helps to provide much-needed compensation for victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, including victims who may not have suffered the full impact of their involvement and diagnosis until well after the initial attacks. Many people have suffered serious diagnoses in the months and years following the attacks.
These diagnoses may include:
Many of those diagnoses involve substantial expenses to the victims. Through the World Trade Center Health Program, 9/11 victims can receive treatment for their ailments free of charge. However, the World Trade Center Health Program does not provide compensation for many of the other expenses often associated with a severe illness.
The Cost of Transportation
Victims of the 9/11 attacks now live across the United States and even around the world. In many cases, they may need to seek treatment at specialist centers, particularly specialist cancer centers.
Victims may need to visit the World Trade Center Health Program-certified facilities for diagnosis and treatment or visit a closer facility for ongoing treatment for their ailments. Those transportation costs can add up quickly, particularly if family members travel with the victim to provide support.
Ongoing Medical Expenses Not Covered by the WTC Health Program
While the World Trade Center Health Program provides treatment free of charge, it may not prove accessible to all victims who need to seek treatment for those ailments. In many cases, victims may no longer live near New York. Some may even have moved around the world.
While getting certified through the WTC Health Program, either directly or through a proxy, remains a critical part of certification for both healthcare assistance and compensation through the VCF, many victims may need to pursue medical treatment at other locations, including more local healthcare facilities. The VCF helps provide compensation for those victims who may have to pay out of pocket for medical care related to their diagnoses.
The Cost of Lost Income
Many people facing serious diagnoses struggle to work normally while undergoing treatment. Some of the victims of the 9/11 attacks, including those who may have faced diagnoses like mesothelioma, may lose the ability to work in their fields, or to work in their former capacities. Others may have to drop down to part-time work.
That lost income can add up substantially, especially over years of suffering from a specific ailment. The VCF aims to provide some compensation for those losses and allow victims to support themselves and their families.
Pain and Suffering
As part of their ongoing suffering following a serious diagnosis, many victims go through significant physical suffering and emotional anguish. The challenges related to diagnosis can grow exponentially as those medical ailments continue.
Some people who volunteered at Ground Zero may suffer from a severe loss of independence or difficulty dealing with some of the losses they have faced. Others may have trouble dealing with the ongoing ramifications of their illness, including loss of earning potential or career.
Not only that, many volunteers suffer from PTSD and other emotional challenges. The compensation offered through the VCF cannot restore what those victims have lost, but it can provide them with much-needed financial assistance as they work to build their lives around those challenges and losses.
Support the Victim Compensation Fund
Do you support the Victim Compensation Fund and what it represents? Now is the time to speak out. Make sure you contact your representative and let them know that you support the Victim Compensation Fund and its purpose, including its commitment to helping the victims of the 9/11 attacks who might not have come forward, or those who may face diagnoses related to their involvement at Ground Zero or presence in Lower Manhattan in the coming years.
September 11 benefits attorneys help victims of the 9/11 attacks acquire the compensation they deserve for their losses. We listen to their stories, talk about the challenges they have faced, and support them as they apply for compensation through the VCF.
Contact a 9/11 benefits attorney today to learn more about the services they provide, and how they can assist victims of the 9/11 attacks.