"Today I'm pleased to announce that we are accepting applications to the reopened VCF. W e have worked hard to create a straightforward and user-friendly online claims system that will pose less of a burden on applicants than filling out paper forms ," saidSpecial Master Birnbaum. "In the weeks ahead, seminars and resources will be available to assist claimants and their families with the process."
Although paper forms will be made available to those without Internet access, Special Master Birnbaum encouraged claimants to use the online system. She also noted in an email to potential claimants and interested parties that they are not required to submit claims on the first day, and that pro bono counsel are volunteering to assist claimants. Claimants who currently suffer from a covered condition have until Oct. 3, 2013 to file a claim, and others will have two years from the date on which they know or should have known of the condition for which they seek compensation until the VCF stops accepting claims in 2016.
Birnbaum was appointed as special master by Attorney General Eric Holder on May 18, 2011, and has spent several months meeting with, and receiving feedback from, hundreds of New York-area residents, workers and first responders at town hall meetings held in New York and New Jersey.
The James Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act reactivated the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund that operated from 2001-2004. The act expands the pool of claimants to include first responders and other individuals in the community who experienced latent physical injuries associated with the attacks or with debris removal.
Individuals who wish to visit the VCF's site, learn more about the eligibility criteria, or receive future communications regarding the VCF should visit www.vcf.govor call 1-855-885-1555.