On the 12th anniversary of 9/11, responders and volunteers are looking ahead toward another important date: Oct. 3. Why? It’s the deadline for people who have a 9/11-associated illness to register for compensation under the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund.
Enacted through the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, the Sept. 11 VCF will pay out almost $2.8 billion for responders and survivors who were at a 9/11 site between Sept. 11, 2001, and May 30, 2002, and were injured or became sick.
But it remains unclear as to how many responders and volunteers are aware of the fund and if they're even eligible for federal funding. Ben Chevat is one of the people at the forefront for increased awareness of the Sept. 11 VCF. As executive director for 9/11 Health Watch, a nonprofit formed by unions to help protect those exposed to the toxins at Ground Zero, he has been a vocal supporter for those affected by the 9/11 toxins to apply for the fund. Here's a look at the numbers behind the Sept. 11 VCF:
Responders and survivors who've registered for the fund, according to Newsday.
Responders and survivors who've registered for the fund since late June. "We’re trying to make a real effort after fighting for the bill for so long so that no one misses out on an opportunity to be compensated for their injuries," Chevat said.
400,000 to 680,000
Estimated number of people who've been exposed to toxic debris from 9/11, according to Newsday.
World Trade Center responders who've been diagnosed with a Sept. 11-related cancer, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. "I talk to a lot of first responders and they say a lot of people have coughs," Chevat said. "It’s not that they don’t know they’re injured, but they might not know they can come forward and get medical monitoring through the statute or get compensation if they had economic loss after Sept. 11." He added: "Many of them are still sick and some are developing cancer."
Compensation from the Sept. 11 VCF that is expected to be distributed in the first five years of the bill's life, spanning from 2011 to 2015.
Awards distributed through the Sept. 11 VCF as of late June, according to the Department of Justice.
The percentage of a VCF award that will be distributed immediately if an applicant is granted funding in the next few months, according to Chevat.
Compensation from the Sept. 11 VCF that is expected to be distributed in the final year of the bill's life.
The year the bill is up for renewal. Chevat remains hopeful that it will be extended. "I think that we’re going to have a lot more information as to the size and scope of the problem, which is something we didn’t have for all these years," Chevat said. "We will have better information about how many people are injured, the extent of those injuries and the impact of their experience at Ground Zero or the Pentagon. With that information, we hope it will become easier for the advocates working to renew the bill to make their case."
For more information on how to apply for funding under the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund, visit vcf.gov.