Skip to content

New York Personal Injury Attorneys

The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) is Open to Survivors, Residents, Workers, and Students, and Not Just First Responders.

October 6, 2020 in

Congress established the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) out of a desire to provide aid to individuals or their loved ones whose health was affected by the events that occurred on September 11, 2001 and in the ensuing aftermath. It is a common misconception that the VCF’s financial benefits are solely limited to first responders.  Below, VCF attorneys at Sullivan Papain Block McManus Coffinas & Cannavo P.C. explain who may qualify to file a claim.


What is the Victim Compensation Fund?

According to, “The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) provides compensation to individuals (or a personal representative of a deceased individual) who were present at the World Trade Center or the surrounding New York City Exposure Zone; the Pentagon crash site; and the Shanksville, Pennsylvania crash site, at some point between September 11, 2001, and May 30, 2002, and who have since been diagnosed with a 9/11-related illness.” 


In addition to the tragic events that occurred on 9/11 that resulted in thousands of lives lost on that day, we still feel the shockwaves of the attacks in our present day, as thousands of individuals still suffer respiratory illnesses, cancers and other conditions directly related to the devastation. It is estimated that the number of deaths that resulted from 9/11-related illnesses will soon outnumber the deaths that occurred on September 11, 2001. The two-inch-thick layer of “moon dust” that blanketed the area in and surrounding the exposure zone formed a toxic threat to anyone who became exposed to it.


Who May Qualify to File a Claim Under the VCF?

First responders who were present during the 9/11 attacks and now suffer 9/11-related illnesses such as respiratory illness or cancer are eligible to file a VCF claim for their conditions. Additionally, the families of those who lost their lives as a result of the attacks are eligible to receive compensation. In addition to first responders, other individuals directly inflicted by 9/11 may quality for VCF compensation:


Debris Removal and Construction Workers and Building Cleaners

Construction workers and members of the clean-up and debris removal teams who aided in the reconstruction and rebuilding of the locations affected by 9/11 subjected themselves to a host of respiratory and stomach issues as well as the increased likelihood of developing cancer. The profusion of toxic dust, smoke, debris and carcinogens that clouded the air in the days, weeks and months following the infamous day led to many construction workers who helped recover the attack site and surrounding area develop serious illnesses. Therefore, construction workers and debris removal teams present after the attacks are eligible to file a VCF claim under the Non-Responder NYC cleaning or maintenance work claimant category.


Residents of the Locations Affected by 9/11

Individuals and families who lived in proximity to the Twin Towers were subjected to breathing in and being exposed to toxic substances that perfumed the air during the aftermath of 9/11. Many of these individuals were unaware of the drastic, long-term effects that smoke inhalation and debris exposure could have on their health, just by living in their homes and being exposed to a toxic attack site. Therefore, those who live or lived south of Canal Street or near the 9/11 crash site and now suffer physical ailments directly related to the aftermath may be eligible to file a claim. 


Individuals Who Worked in the Locations Affected by 9/11

Similar to residents, individuals who worked in Lower Manhattan south of Canal Street that were exposed to the toxic dust and debris that littered the air post-9/11 may be eligible to file a claim with the VCF. While they do not fall under the “First Responders” category, they were nevertheless impacted by the toxic chemicals and carcinogens in the air, and therefore may file a claim if they now suffer from a 9/11-related illness.  These include office workers, employees of businesses, food service workers, business owners, transit workers, government workers, court personnel, court employees, Social Security Administration workers, New York State employees, federal employees, restaurant workers, janitors south of Canal Street.


Students Who Attended School in the Affected Regions

Individuals who attended school south of Canal Street in the vicinity of the exposure zone are also eligible to file a VCF claim. As many students who were studying in the area of Lower Manhattan were exposed to the dangerous air quality that resulted from the attacks, they may be eligible to file a claim with the VCF if they now suffer from a form of cancer, a digestive illness or respiratory illness.


Do You or a Loved One Meet the Qualifications to File a VCF Claim?

Sullivan Papain Block McManus Coffinas & Cannavo P.C. has handled more than 3,200 claims under the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund and has recovered over $1 billion for our VCF clients. If you or a loved one was a first responder present during the tragic events surrounding 9/11; was involved in the construction, clean-up of debris removal teams in the events following 9/11; or lived, worked or attended school south of Canal Street in the regions of New York affected by 9/11, you may be eligible to file a claim with the VCF. Contact our 9/11 VCF attorneys here:

Free Case Evaluation

Our fee is on a contingency basis. If we don’t recover money for you, we will never charge you. If you are unable to come to any of our offices, we are happy to visit you at home or in the hospital.

*Field Required

Contact Information


Skip to content