Cancer victims face October 14 deadline to register for 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund
NEW YORK— September 11th responders and survivors who were diagnosed with certain cancers prior to October 12, 2012 must register for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund by October 14, 2014 or become ineligible for the program’s benefits. To raise awareness of the crucial deadline, Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) and Jerrold Nadler (NY-10) who led the fight with Representative Peter King (NY-2) in the House of Representatives to reopen the program, held a press conference with first responders, labor leaders, community representatives and advocates for 9/11 survivors to stress the importance of registering within the next seven days.
“We fought for over ten years to create the Victim Compensation Fund, but in just seven days many of these ill 9/11 responders and survivors who have cancer may miss the deadline to register,” said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. “If you have been diagnosed with a 9/11 covered cancer due to your exposure to toxins in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, I urge you to visit VCF.gov immediately and determine if you should register to preserve your right to file a claim.”
“First responders and community survivors displayed unparalleled bravery and courage on September 11, 2001, and in the weeks following, as they risked their lives to search for victims among the rubble and to return to their homes, schools and workplaces downtown. I strongly encourage those who have been diagnosed with cancer from exposure to Ground Zero during the aftermath of 9/11 to register with the VCF right away by going to VCF.gov. If you do not register by October 14, you will unfortunately not be eligible,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. “These brave heroes labored for weeks in the smoldering ash to clear debris and locate victims. The funds have already been designated for this purpose and it is imperative that as many responders and survivors as possible receive their just and deserved compensation.”
“Unfortunately too many of our 9/11 responders and survivors continue to fight serious illnesses, including 60 types of cancer caused by 9/11 toxin,” said Congressman Peter King. “That is why it is imperative that these individuals are all registered with the Victims Compensation Fund. We have come too far and must ensure that our 9/11 heroes receive the care they deserve and are not left fighting alone because of ineligibility.”
In general, claimants with a qualified condition who plan to file a claim with the VCF will have two years from the date of diagnosis to file a registration form in order to preserve the right to file a claim. Claimants diagnosed on or before October 12, 2012 with one of the cancers added to the list of eligible conditions must register with the Fund by October 14, 2014. The Special Master does not have the authority to extend the deadline.
The financial compensation available through the VCF applies to injured and ill 9/11 first-responders and survivors. Those sites include not only the World Trade Center, but the Pentagon and the Shankesville, PA crash sites, as well. Those who believe they are eligible for compensation can register by visiting the VCF’s website at www.vcf.gov.
The VCF website has a significant amount of information regarding eligibility and the registration process. A list of cancers covered by the program can be found on the VCF FAQ page.
Those who attended today’s press conference, and many others, echoed the call for cancer victims to register before the October 14 deadline.
The Representatives were joined by Vincent Alvarez, President of the New York City Central Labor Council; Jake Lemonda President of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association; Mubarak Abdul-Jabbar, 2nd Vice President of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association; James Slevin, Vice President, Uniformed Firefighters Association and Board Member of 911 Health Watch; John Feal, a 9/11 First Responder and Advocate, FealGood Foundation; Guille Mejia, Safety and Health Department Director District Council 37, AFSCME; Michael Kelly of the New York City Building and Construction Trades and Chair, Health and Safety Committee for the New York State Laborers’ Union; Community Representative Catherine McVay Hughes; and Luzdary Giraldo, Safety and Health Specialist/ Coordinator of the Immigrant Project at NYCOSH.
Vincent Alvarez, President of the New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO said, “Our city and our workforce remain forever changed by the events of September 11th . Unfortunately, too many of our hardworking first responders are still dealing with the terrible health effects brought on by their exposure to poisonous toxins during rescue and recovery efforts. The funding is available to help the working men and women who sacrificed so much helping others, but it is imperative that they register with the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund to receive the benefits they so desperately need and deserve.”
Jim Slevin, Vice President of the Uniformed Firefighters Association said, "Medical data that the FDNY maintained on every New York City Firefighter pre-9/11 gave doctors a conclusive scientific baseline on the negative health impact the response and operations at the World Trade Center site had on our members. Since then New York City Firefighters have been getting sick and dying in record numbers as a result of cancers and other diseases caused by breathing the toxic air at the World Trade Center site. Victims of 9/11 that have been diagnosed with cancer have already suffered enough. Additional suffering should not take place because they miss the upcoming deadline to register for the Victims Compensation Fund. We urge all 9/11 cancer victims to register by this important deadline."
John Feal, a 9/11 First Responder and Advocate said, "It is that simple! We all have a moral obligation to disseminate this crucial deadline. There is no guarantee that the Zadroga Bill gets extended, and this deadline might be our last deadline! If you know someone, then tell someone! It is that simple"
Guille Mejia, Safety and Health Department Director District Council 37, AFSCME said, “Another deadline is drawing very near and those workers who were diagnosed with cancers before 2012 as a result of their exposures on Sept 11 and the months that follow will not be able to register and file a claim after October 14. Please help us get the message out now!”
Community Representative Catherine McVay Hughes said “9/11 responders and survivors who have been diagnosed with cancer due to 9/11 exposure have one week left to register for the 9/11 VCF. Please take a moment to do that now if you qualify and to tell a friend in need.”