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

Guidelines for Filing a VCF Claim for Pentagon Workers

On September 11, 2001, in addition to the destruction wreaked in Manhattan, the Pentagon was a target of the terrorist attacks, profoundly affecting its workforce. Employees present at the Pentagon during this critical time may be eligible for financial compensation through the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). According to the most recent annual report, the VCF has paid over 10 billion dollars in awards since its creation. 

Filing a VCF claim presents distinct challenges for Pentagon workers, given their unique circumstances. This guide aims to provide comprehensive support for 9/11 Pentagon workers navigating the VCF claims process. We offer insights into Pentagon worker eligibility, the importance of filing claims, and the procedural steps involved in seeking compensation.

Up until this year, the types of responders eligible for benefits from the WTC Health Program coverage was limited for responders at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Just last month, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024 (NDAA) was passed and enrollment eligibility for Pentagon and Shanksville responders has been expanded. The NDAA expands WTCHP medical benefit eligibility for Pentagon and Shanksville responders to include active duty, retired, or reserve members of the military, civilian employees of the Department of Defense (DOD), or certain DOD contractors.

Pentagon Worker Eligibility for the VCF

Pentagon workers who have developed a 9/11-related physical health condition, as well as family members of those who died from a 9/11-related condition, are eligible for compensation through the VCF. To be eligible, 9/11 Pentagon workers must provide evidence of their presence at the Pentagon crash site or the surrounding area affected by the attacks. Individuals must have been present at any time beginning with the crashes on September 11, 2001, and ending on May 30, 2002. There are no requirements for the minimum amount of time an individual needs to be at a site for purposes of confirming presence. 

It’s essential for Pentagon workers to document their presence and register with the VCF before the registration deadline applicable to their individual circumstances, which is two years from the date of the issuance of the last WTCHP certification. The registration deadline differs from the claim filing deadline. In 2019, the Never Forget the Heroes, James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act extended the VCF’s claim filing deadline until October 1, 2090. 

Why Pentagon Workers Should File a Claim with the VCF

Filing a claim with the VCF is important for Pentagon workers affected by the events of September 11, 200, for several reasons. Many Pentagon workers exposed to the attack's aftermath have developed health conditions directly related to that exposure. Filing a VCF claim can provide essential financial compensation to cover medical expenses, ongoing treatment costs, and lost income and benefits due to health-related issues. In addition, filing a claim may provide compensation for non-economic losses such as pain and suffering, formally acknowledging the sacrifices made by 9/11 Pentagon workers. 

For families who have lost a loved one due to any cancer or other 9/11-related condition, registering and filing a wrongful death claim with the VCF provides a means of financial support. This compensation can help alleviate the economic impact of their loss and honor the memory of the deceased.

Even if you do not have symptoms of a 9/11-related condition, registering with the VCF now is essential to preserve the right to file a claim in the future. Many 9/11-related health conditions, from respiratory diseases to gastrointestinal ailments and various types of cancers, have been identified with latency periods that can last decades. These conditions might surface long after the events of September 11, 2001. By registering to file a VCF claim, Pentagon workers prepare themselves to access compensation and healthcare benefits for conditions that may arise in the future. This foresight provides peace of mind for workers and their families, knowing they are prepared to handle future health challenges that could be linked to their service.

The VCF Claims Process

The VCF claims process involves several steps, including registration, certification by the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program, and submitting detailed documentation supporting the claim. For over a decade now, Pentagon responders and workers were not eligible for the WTCHP, but that was just corrected by the passage of the recently passed National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024 (NDAA) that expands Program enrollment eligibility for Pentagon and Shanksville responders.

Understanding these steps and the required documentation is essential for a successful claim. Working with a law firm experienced in 9/11 VCF claims can make all the difference. A knowledgeable VCF attorney can guide you through each step, ensuring that every necessary detail is accounted for and that your claim is as strong as possible.

Registration with the VCF is the first step in the process and may be done online or over the phone. This step requires you to submit basic information about yourself and show that you were present at the Pentagon and how you were affected by the attacks. Registration deadlines vary by claim type and are based on individual circumstances. Registration with the VCF is separate from both filing your claim with the VCF and registering with the WTC Health Program. 

Before you can file your claim with the VCF, your illness needs to be certified by the WTC Health Program. This certification confirms that your health conditions are covered by the program and are related to the 9/11 attacks. The process begins with filing an application for enrollment in the WTC Health Program, which can be done online or via fax or mail, along with supporting documentation. A health evaluation and authorization for the release of medical records are required for certification of the health condition.

Once registered and certified, the next step in the process is to file your claim with the VCF by the deadline. This includes submitting all required documents, such as proof of presence in the exposure zone and medical records. 

Register with the VCF Through a Trusted 9/11 Attorney

For Pentagon workers seeking to register with the VCF and file a claim, partnering with a trusted 9/11 attorney is essential. A 9/11 attorney can streamline the registration process, assist with gathering the necessary documentation, and provide the support needed to navigate the claim effectively. If you or someone you know is a Pentagon worker affected by the events of September 11, 2001, we invite you to reach out to the seasoned 9/11 attorneys at Hansen & Rosasco, LLP for professional legal assistance.