9-11 heroes still need help

September 11, 2001 is a day most Americans remember vividly.  Although many were not directly impacted by the deadliest single-day terrorist attack in history, over 70,000 Americans are still dealing with lasting effects today.  In the wake of the attack, Congress created the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) — a fund created to assist the families of those affected by the tragedies and survivors who continue to suffer from injuries.

The fund was originally created in 2001 and lasted until 2004, with roughly $7 billion distributed to thousands of families.  The fund compensated approximately 98% of families that lost a loved one, as well as nearly 3,000 individuals injured during the attacks.  The biggest obstacle during the original fund was filing a claim.  Most families found it difficult to file claims during their time of grieving, and just one month before the application deadline, it was noticed that only 60% of those eligible to file a death claim had done so.  Others had not been made aware that the fund even existed.

The fund was eventually reopened in 2015 and awarded an additional $5 billion out to families that qualified.  Recently, the VCF's deadline was extended from 2020 until 2090 by President Trump after former host of The Daily Show Jon Stewart fought for an extended deadline with Congress for months.

Several types of compensation are available to those entitled, including non-economic losses, economic losses, and collateral offset.  There are guidelines to registering for the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, but most awards are determined on a case-by-case basis.

What some people don't realize is that there was more than just falling debris and fire; for some time, there was contaminated air and hazardous material surrounding Ground Zero.  Breathing this toxic air for the months following September 11, 2001 exposed thousands of people to the carcinogens that lead to respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases, as well as various forms of cancer.


Photo credit: Michael Foran.

There are guidelines to registering for the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, but most awards are determined on a case-by-case basis, as there are several types of compensation available to those entitled.

In January 2011, President Obama signed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, named after Detective James Zadroga, a member of the New York City Police Department who was considered to be the first emergency responder to die from inhaling the toxins at Ground Zero in 2006.  This act supported first responders and survivors still struggling with health complications directly related to the terrorist attacks.  By allocating almost $3 billion to the fund, this act re-established the VCF and created the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program.

To prove eligibility for this fund, individuals filing claims under the new law had to prove they were at Ground Zero during the attack or during the aftermath in the following months.  Because it was enacted nearly a decade after 9/11, this proved to be a difficult task for first responders and volunteers, as recordkeeping was not a first priority.

In 2015, a new piece of legislation that extended the 9/11 Compensation Fund until December 2020 was passed by President Obama.  Around $4.6 billion was allocated to the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act and was recently extended until 2090.

With all of these acts being extended and funded through 2090 for the heroes who were present during and after 9/11, it's important to spread the word to make sure affected individuals are aware that they are entitled to compensation.

September 11, 2001 is a day most Americans remember vividly.  Although many were not directly impacted by the deadliest single-day terrorist attack in history, over 70,000 Americans are still dealing with lasting effects today.  In the wake of the attack, Congress created the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) — a fund created to assist the families of those affected by the tragedies and survivors who continue to suffer from injuries.

The fund was originally created in 2001 and lasted until 2004, with roughly $7 billion distributed to thousands of families.  The fund compensated approximately 98% of families that lost a loved one, as well as nearly 3,000 individuals injured during the attacks.  The biggest obstacle during the original fund was filing a claim.  Most families found it difficult to file claims during their time of grieving, and just one month before the application deadline, it was noticed that only 60% of those eligible to file a death claim had done so.  Others had not been made aware that the fund even existed.

The fund was eventually reopened in 2015 and awarded an additional $5 billion out to families that qualified.  Recently, the VCF's deadline was extended from 2020 until 2090 by President Trump after former host of The Daily Show Jon Stewart fought for an extended deadline with Congress for months.

Several types of compensation are available to those entitled, including non-economic losses, economic losses, and collateral offset.  There are guidelines to registering for the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, but most awards are determined on a case-by-case basis.

What some people don't realize is that there was more than just falling debris and fire; for some time, there was contaminated air and hazardous material surrounding Ground Zero.  Breathing this toxic air for the months following September 11, 2001 exposed thousands of people to the carcinogens that lead to respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases, as well as various forms of cancer.


Photo credit: Michael Foran.

There are guidelines to registering for the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, but most awards are determined on a case-by-case basis, as there are several types of compensation available to those entitled.

In January 2011, President Obama signed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, named after Detective James Zadroga, a member of the New York City Police Department who was considered to be the first emergency responder to die from inhaling the toxins at Ground Zero in 2006.  This act supported first responders and survivors still struggling with health complications directly related to the terrorist attacks.  By allocating almost $3 billion to the fund, this act re-established the VCF and created the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program.

To prove eligibility for this fund, individuals filing claims under the new law had to prove they were at Ground Zero during the attack or during the aftermath in the following months.  Because it was enacted nearly a decade after 9/11, this proved to be a difficult task for first responders and volunteers, as recordkeeping was not a first priority.

In 2015, a new piece of legislation that extended the 9/11 Compensation Fund until December 2020 was passed by President Obama.  Around $4.6 billion was allocated to the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act and was recently extended until 2090.

With all of these acts being extended and funded through 2090 for the heroes who were present during and after 9/11, it's important to spread the word to make sure affected individuals are aware that they are entitled to compensation.