It’s been roughly two decades since the dreadful day when the World Trade Center (WTC) twin towers were attacked by then unidentified terrorists on September 11, 2001. Other targets in the United States (U.S.) were also attacked, such as the Pentagon and the failed attempt to crash a plane onto the White House.
In aid to the thousands who died and several thousand more who got injured in the aftermath of the attack, the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) was established by the U.S. federal government. The purpose of the VCF was to pay compensation for qualified people who were either injured or had family who died during the 9/11 terrorist attack on the WTC.
The Victim Compensation Fund (VCF)
After 9/11, the U.S. Congress enacted the VCF law to compensate the casualties and the families of those who perished in the 9/11 attacks. Moreover, the VCF covers every person within the vicinity of the WTC ground zero. The area covered includes the immediate areas surrounding the exposure zone of the WTC crash site.
Included among the persons covered would be any person who was there and that day anywhere within the entire area of lower Manhattan, which is situated south of Canal Street. The VCF also covers those persons who were present on that day near the other attack sites, which are in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and near the Pentagon. Almost immediately after it became law, the VCF committee started paying out compensation to all those who claimed that those who died in the attack were also eligible under the VCF.
The VCF began accepting and processing claims in 2001 from various individuals. Most of those said their family died in the attack or suffered personal injuries due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Claims filed by eligible individuals which were found to be legitimate were promptly settled and fully compensated by the VCF. However, a couple of years after 9/11, thousands of individuals began complaining about their health.
Many of them said they were suffering from health problems. They claimed that their illness, injuries, or trauma were either directly linked or attributable to the 9/11 attacks. Those who complained were first responders and rescues during the aftermath of 9/11. Most individuals didn’t get severely injured or sick immediately after that tragic incident. But they were now suffering from the late onset of the effects and consequences of the injuries and trauma that they had to go through.
Health Registry Of Claimants
The 9/11 VCF also created a World Trade Center (WTC) Health Registry. The role of the health registry is to track and monitor the health of everyone who registered themselves and claimed compensation for having been directly affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks. From 2001, the VCF received and processed around 7,508 claim submissions from 75 countries worldwide. Of this number, the VCF fully paid 5,560 claims. The payouts for these claims amounted to a grand total of USD$7 billion.
The VCF received 2,963 death claims, which is roughly equivalent to around 98% of the total number of families of those who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Of this total, 2,680 claims were awarded compensation. The average death claim awarded was USD$2,082,128.00, with the highest death claim award amounting to USD$7.1 million.
A total of 4,445 individuals claimed that they suffered injuries due to 9/11; 2,680 claims were approved. Among the most common grounds for claims were cancer and respiratory illnesses. The range of settlement for personal injury claims was from USD$500,00 up to as much as USD$8.6 million. Compensation payments from the VCF are tax-free.
In 2011, the U.S. Congress extended the VCF law’s funding for an additional five years when President Obama signed James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. Since the VCF was reopened in 2011, it has already accepted a grand total of more than 67,000 claims. Most of these were claims for health-related compensation or personal injury claims.
Of this grand total, over 40,000 claimants have already been paid compensation awards for their eligibility claims. These claims add up to a total dollar amount of USD$8.95 billion in claims fully compensated. The VCF was extended again in 2019, with new deadlines for filing claims and additional guidelines for presenting evidence supporting claims.
The U.S. Congress created the VCF to pay out compensation for the casualties and surviving families of those who died in the 9/11 attacks. The 20th Anniversary Special Report published during the occasion stated that cancer is the most common eligible condition cited as a ground for the compensation claims. Nearly half (48%) of claims used this as a basis for their claims. The VCF has received claims from those outside the U.S., such as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Claims have been received from victims from 31 foreign countries who said they were within the vicinity of the exposure zone.