How to Get Compensated if You Were Injured During the 9/11 Attacks

The events of September 11, 2001 remain a dark blip in the country’s history and that of the whole world. The loss of thousands of lives and untold property damage was what everyone woke up to on that fateful day. Luckily, the US government set up a special fund to compensate victims of the attack. The September 11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) set up in 2002 was aimed at alleviating the burden borne by individuals who were injured or lost their lives in the aftermath of the terrorist attack.

What Is the Victims Compensation Fund (VCF)?

The aftermath of the 9/11 attack saw many injured and killed. In 2002, the federal government, through an Act of Congress, created a fund to help the families of those who lost their lives during the attack, first responders, workers in the World Trade Centre, and residents of Lower Manhattan who could no longer continue working due to illnesses related to the attack. As of 2019, the fund had paid out over $6 billion to beneficiaries.

How Can I Be Compensated?

When the fund was established, eligibility criteria were set out. Victims seeking compensation can fill out forms and wait for the processing of the claims. The process is rigorous and can be daunting to victims and their loved ones. Claimants have to fill out documents carefully, keep track of the progress, including any additional information required, present proof, and any other tasks required in pursuit of the claim. As advised at, getting a professional attorney can do all tasks on your behalf and help you claim compensation. Getting a great lawyer can help you get your compensation.

How Do I Know If I’m Eligible?

The VCF has received thousands of claims from the day it was set up. However, claimants have to belong to any of the following groups:

World Trade Centre General Responders

These include sanitation workers, volunteers who participated in the search, rescue, and recovery at Ground Zero, those who participated in the cleanup of debris, and any other related support services. This includes active and retired members of the NYC Police Department and the port authority police. Personnel in the office of the Chief Medical Examiner and those who might have undertaken vehicle maintenance.

World Trade Centre Survivors

These are all the people who lived, worked, or attended school in New York. It also includes the people who got caught up in the dust cloud during the attack.

New York City Fire Department

Eligible members here include active or retired firefighters or emergency personnel present at Ground Zero and the immediate surroundings.

Responders for the Shanksville and/or Pentagon Site

All the responders involved in the cleanup, demolition, or other activities at the Pentagon or Shanksville sites.

Resultant Health Issues


After the WTC attacks, a massive cleanup exercise ensued to clean up all the debris from the site. A large quantity of this debris consisted of pulverized concrete resulting in highly toxic dust. The other debris had more than 2500 contaminants such as glass, lead, asbestos, mercury, and non-fibrous materials. All the people present at Ground Zero during and after the WTC attacks were exposed to highly toxic airborne debris. According to study findings in The Journal of the American Medical Association, published in 2012, there was a high risk of cancer to those exposed to the debris at the WTC. The most common cancer cases reported include multiple myeloma, thyroid cancer, and prostate cancer.

A significant number of claims filed with the VCF have been known to be due to cancer. Cancer treatment and diagnosis can be costly for individuals. Under the VCF, more than 70 types of cancers qualify for compensation, but only if a diagnosis was performed 4 years or more after being exposed. Those who developed blood and bone cancers should have been diagnosed 1 year or more after the exposure.


The WTC attacks have been linked to the development of PTSD among individuals directly or indirectly affected by the attacks. People who witness disturbing happenings may be mentally affected throughout their lives.

When Can I Apply?

Initially, the 911 Victims Compensation fund was set to expire in 2020. However, an extension of the fund was granted and put under the law which will see victims of the WTC attacks receive compensation up to 2090. This means that nobody should feel locked out.

If you feel that you are eligible for compensation arising from the 911 attacks, you need to contact your attorney to guide you step by step on how you can claim your award.