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August 21, 2013

Imminent deadline approaching for the New 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund

by: Jodi Westbrook Flowers

There are many images of 9/11 seared into our national collective memory. One of those confronting us today are the thousands of brave volunteers, rescue and cleanup workers who toiled in the wreckage of the World Trade Center (WTC), at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pa., to bring healing to our nation and respect for the fallen. As we all remember, lower Manhattan was awash in toxic dust, fumes and smoke from the WTC—toxic particles that people working and living in the area breathed and swallowed for days, weeks, months, even years.

Following the terrorist attacks, Congress enacted the first September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (9/11 VCF) to provide economic relief to victims and their families. Motley Rice was honored to represent 9/11 victims and family members – helping them to navigate the forms, protocols, procedures and deadlines that had to be traversed to achieve some level of compensation.

In the years that have passed since September 11, 2001, thousands of emergency and first aid workers, police, firemen, volunteers and residents have developed numerous forms of serious illnesses including cancers related to their toxic exposures. In response to the growing health and financial consequences of this exposure, Congress reopened the Victim Compensation Fund by passing the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act (New 9/11 VCF). Today, those affected by their exposure at cleanup sites have access to compensation under the New 9/11 VCF.

Now, a critical deadline is approaching. Any person who knew or had reason to know of physical harm or illness resulting from exposures after the 9/11 attacks by Oct. 3, 2011 must register with the new 9/11 VCF to be recognized as a claimant. The registration deadline is Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. (This registration is not the same as filing a claim and does not commit you to file a claim.)

It is vitally important that everyone help to spread the word about this deadline as broadly as possible to insure maximum participation of those claimants who are eligible.

Many do not know about the New VCF or do not know this deadline is looming. Many have moved away and the information has not been widely disseminated in their new communities, and many people traveled from afar to help during the time of need and have not received the details of the expanded fund.

Even if you are uncertain about filing a claim, visit the 9/11 VCF website or contact us to evaluate and protect your rights before this important imminent deadline passes. I also encourage you to share this information with your friends and family in hopes of reaching someone who may be unaware that help is available.