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9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) Lawyer

If you suffer from a 9/11-related physical injury or condition, an attorney from the Shapiro Legal Group, PLLC, can help you file a claim through the Victims Compensation Fund (VCF). 

When the World Trade Center (WTC) towers collapsed on September 11, 2001, it caused an enormous cloud of dust to linger above the lower Manhattan area, and slowly made its way southeast, to cover areas of Brooklyn as well. In this cloud were many hazardous toxins such as asbestos, lead, glass fiber, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), pulverized cement dust, and more. Thousands of people were exposed to this hazardous dust and deadly toxins and as a result, are currently experiencing severe health problems. 

If you were exposed and are now suffering from a related illness, contact the Shapiro Legal Group, PLLC, today to learn more about your options. 

Why Choose Our Zadroga Act Attorney?

  • With over 20 years of experience and having served more than 60,000 clients, our firm has the expertise and track record you can trust. We have garnered over 1,000 5-star reviews, reflecting our commitment to excellence.
  • The attorneys at Shapiro Legal Group, PLLC have successfully recovered millions of dollars for our clients in settlements and jury verdicts. We will advocate aggressively for your maximum compensation.
  • We prioritize open and honest communication, and our firm is dedicated to providing the support and compassion you need throughout the legal process. We are committed to protecting your well-being and best interests.

Zadroga Act Resources

To immediately access the resources at any point on this page, please click the corresponding links below.

Who Was James Zadroga?
James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act
Zadroga Act & Victim Compensation Fund
Who May Be Eligible for Compensation?
WTC Eligible Conditions
Potential Compensation Available in Your Case
How Our Zadroga Act Attorney Can Assist With a Claim
The Steps of Filing a VCF Claim
What is the 9/11 Exposure Zone?
Time Limitations for Filing a VCF Claim
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Zadroga Act Attorney

Who Was James Zadroga?

James Zardroga was a New York Police Detective and served over 400 hours at Ground Zero after the towers collapsed, helping with cleanup and rescue operations. Unfortunately, he developed a chronic cough, trouble breathing, acid reflux, and frequent headaches not long after his efforts at Ground Zero. When he reported his injuries to the NYPD in 2002, his claim was denied. 

Zardroga continued to report for duty with the NYPD after his claim was denied, but within a few months, he was bedridden. His health began to rapidly deteriorate, and he relied on an oxygen tank to breathe. Despite their best efforts, doctors could not diagnose or effectively treat his condition. It was not until 2003 that doctors diagnosed him with Black Lung Disease.

In 2006, five years after the towers fell, he passed away at the age of 34. 

What is the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act?

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act provides compensation and medical treatment for first responders and survivors of the 2001 WTC collapse. The Act was initially signed into law by President Obama in early 2011 and allotted over $2 billion in compensation for the injuries of 9/11 victims through the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). It also provided an additional $1.5 billion to fund medical treatment for WTC-related injuries. Under this initial act, funds were set to be available from October 2011-October 2016. 

In late 2015, congress authorized additional funds for compensation, totaling around $4.5 billion, and extended the availability of funds until 2020. This was known as the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act of 2015 and included a few significant changes from earlier versions of the act. The 2015 Reauthorization Act:

  • Removed the minimum award amount of $10,000
  • Capped non-economic losses for health conditions that were unrelated to cancer at $90,000
  • Capped non-economic losses for cancer at $250,000
  • Capped the annual gross income for each year of loss at $200,000
  • Prioritized benefit claims from 9/11 victims with the most serious health conditions

In 2019, the Zadroga Reauthorization Act was signed into law by President Trump. This third reauthorization extended the availability of funds until October 2090 and removed the cap on non-economic damages under certain circumstances.

Funds under the Zadroga Reauthorization Act are available for every eligible first responder or survivor of the 9/11 WTC collapse who suffers from a related cancer or health condition. Victims usually have two years to register with the VCF from the date their illness is certified by the World Trade Center Health Program. 

How Does the Zadroga Act Relate to the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF)?

The Zadroga Act offers a two-pronged solution for those impacted by the events of September 11th. First, there’s the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP). This program provides medical care to 9/11 victims, which includes first responders and people who were in the area during or after the attacks.

The second component of the Zadroga Act is the VCF. Managed by the U.S. Department of Justice, the VCF provides money to people suffering from health problems linked to 9/11. This fund covers both out-of-pocket expenses and other non-tangible losses, like pain or suffering. It also provides benefits for families of victims who have passed away.

If you want to obtain compensation from the VCF, you will first need to sign up with the WTCHP. Once this process is complete, you can register with the VCF. After you are registered, you can apply for compensation whenever you are ready.

In short, the Zadroga Act provides both medical care and financial help for 9/11 victims and their loved ones. The WTCHP looks after your health, while the VCF focuses on compensating for any financial burdens or losses caused by a 9/11-related health condition.

If you or someone you know is facing health issues because of 9/11, these programs are here to help. The attorneys at Shapiro Legal Group, PLLC can guide you through the complex claims process and help you secure the care and compensation that you are entitled to.

Who May Be Eligible for Compensation?

Those eligible for compensation include survivors, first responders, and those who were exposed to the area shortly after the WTC collapse. 

For those who have not already filed a claim under the WTC Victims Compensation Fund, they may qualify for compensation if they were:

  • Present within the NYC “exposure zone” sometime between September 11, 2001, and May 30, 2002
  • Diagnosed or have symptoms of a “WTC-related condition”

For those who have already filed a claim that was settled, dismissed, or withdrawn prior to  November 16, 2016, they may be entitled to compensation or additional compensation, if:

  • The victim has a condition that did not previously qualify for compensation but is now included in the list
  • The victim is diagnosed with a 9/11-related injury that is new
  • The victim’s 9/11 injury or condition has substantially worsened over time
  • The victim’s injury or condition has caused them to incur new or additional economic losses 
  • The victim has acquired new information that supports their claim that was not submitted to the VCF when the award was given the first time
  • The victim’s original claim failed to account for all of their loss (such as loss of earnings, medical expenses, replacement services, etc)
  • The victim did not previously submit medical records with the claim, and now has recent medical records that demonstrate the severity of his/her condition

It is important to note that if the person was deceased at the time of the initial settlement, they are not eligible to reapply.

WTC Eligible Conditions

If you suffer from any of the following health conditions caused by the WTC collapse, you may be eligible for compensation. 

Aerodigestive Disorders, including:  

  • Asthma
  • Chronic cough syndrome
  • Chronic laryngitis
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD)
  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Reactive airway dysfunction syndrome (RADS)
  • Sleep apnea (medically associated with another airway or digestive disorder)
  • And more

Many types of cancer will qualify, including:

  • Head & Neck
  • Mesothelioma
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Soft Tissue
  • Skin (Non-Melanoma)
  • Melanoma
  • Digestive System
  • Respiratory System
  • Rare Cancers – defined as “any type of cancer that occurs in less than 15 cases per 100,000 persons per year in the United States.” 
  • Female Reproductive Organs
  • Urinary System
  • Eye & Orbit
  • Thyroid
  • Blood & Lymphoid Tissue
  • Childhood Cancers
  • Breast

Potential Compensation Available in Your Case

Navigating the aftermath of a 9/11-related illness can be overwhelming, both for the victim and his or her family. The Zadroga Act understands this and aims to provide the financial and medical assistance that you may need during this challenging time.

If you’re grappling with health issues attributed to 9/11 and succeed in your VCF claim, you could recover compensation for multiple types of losses:

  • Out-of-Pocket Medical Expenses: The financial burden of treatments, medications, and other health services can mount rapidly. VCF compensates for all necessary medical costs to treat a 9/11-related illness, easing the economic strain.
  • Lost Income: The health repercussions of 9/11 may have impacted your ability to work, leading to lost wages and a loss of your earning potential. This compensation seeks to offset those lost earnings, helping you maintain financial stability.
  • Pain and Suffering: Beyond the tangible costs, the VCF acknowledges the emotional and physical distress that 9/11-related illnesses can bring. In your claim, you could recover compensation for pain and suffering, which aims to provide some solace for the intangible hardships you’ve endured.
  • Household Services: An illness can impact a person’s ability to manage household chores and responsibilities. If you’ve had to hire services to aid in these tasks, or if family members have taken on these duties on your behalf, compensation is available to address these burdens.
  • Survivor Benefits: Tragically, some people have lost their lives due to 9/11-related ailments. In these cases, their families or dependents can seek survivor benefits, which offers critical financial support during such a difficult time.


With over 2,000 Google reviews from former clients of our firm, we’re confident that we can provide the meticulous, efficient legal services you require in your time of need. Here’s what some of our former clients have to say about working with our VCF attorneys:

“This firm is awesome. I’d been trying to find a law firm to represent me on the WTC case and thankfully I was reached out to by a terrifically amiable & very sharp young man on behalf of this firm. Thank goodness for this company!!” – Carlos M.


“I liked everything that Shapiro Legal Group PLLC has to offer. When speaking to me from the very first hello to the very last goodbye they were very respectful and at the same time very professional about every detail we needed to exchange with one another. They get right to the point with making sure I understood every bit of information that they were discussing with me.After the conversation was over I felt like a huge relief was just delivered to my family. I love the way they handled everything. I would recommend them to everyone.” – Kristy C.

Our Zadroga Act & 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Attorney Can Assist With a Claim

The Shapiro Legal Group has extensive experience representing clients who have suffered serious injuries due to toxic products. We can meet with you to hear your story, offer guidance throughout the claims process, and assist you in advocating for your legal right to compensation. Whether you have already filed for VCF compensation before, or you are filing for the first time, we have a deep understanding of the guidelines and process and can help you navigate them to get the most compensation possible for your 9/11-related injury or illness.

The Steps of Filing a VCF Claim

There are three steps involved in filing a VCF claim. First, you will need to register with the VCF. Then, you will need to secure certification from the WTCHP if you have not done so already. Finally, you will submit your claim to the VCF with all accompanying evidence.

  • Step 1: Register with the VCF: Begin by creating an online account on the VCF website. During this process, you’ll provide basic personal information, such as your name, address, and date of birth. This registration step is crucial as it preserves your right to file a future claim without waiving any legal rights. It’s also vital to understand that registration deadlines vary based on individual circumstances, so it’s advised to register as soon as possible. After you’ve completed this step, the VCF will provide you with a unique claim number, which you should keep in a safe place for future reference.
  • Step 2: Get Certified by the WTCHP: To move forward with your VCF claim, you’ll need to enroll in the WTCHP. This program will certify you for a 9/11-related physical health condition. You can find a list of eligible conditions and detailed instructions for enrollment on the WTCHP website. It is important to remember that being treated or monitored by the WTCHP doesn’t automatically register or qualify you for VCF compensation.
  • Step 3: File Your Claim: With your WTCHP certification in hand, you can now file your VCF claim. Using your previously created VCF online account, you’ll complete the claim form, detailing your eligibility and the compensation you seek. Additionally, you must submit all required supporting documents, like medical records and proof of presence in the NYC Exposure Zone. While the final deadline for all claims is October 1, 2090, it’s beneficial to file as soon as you’re ready, ensuring you have all the necessary documents prepared.

What is the 9/11 Exposure Zone?

The 9/11 exposure zone is “ground zero.” The VCF website defines the exposure zone as “the area in Manhattan south of the line that runs along Canal Street from the Hudson River to the intersection of Canal Street and East Broadway, north on East Broadway to Clinton Street, and east on Clinton Street to the East River.”

This area exposed people to certain toxic dust and debris. The exposure zone also includes:

  • Any location that is connected to the transportation or disposal of debris, including but not limited to barges and the Fresh Kills landfill situated in Staten Island
  • Any location used by employees of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York City (“OCME”) involved in the examination and handling of human remains, or locations used by morgue workers who handled human remains 
  • Any location used for the repair, cleaning, or rehabilitation of vehicles and equipment that were contaminated by WTC-related debris

The full NYC Exposure Zone Map can be found here.

Time Limitations for Filing a VCF Claim

Anyone who registered with the VCF by July 29, 2021 automatically meets the registration deadline. If you have not yet registered with the VCF, you will need to complete this process within two years from the date of your WTCHP certification or the date that you became aware of the program. Once you are registered, you have until October 1, 2090 to file your claim for compensation.

If you need help initiating your VCF claim, the attorneys at Shapiro Legal Group, PLLC can help. We can explain the time limitations, establish your appropriate filing deadlines, and help gather evidence to establish your presence in New York City at the time of the attacks.

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Speak to an Experienced Zadroga Act & 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Lawyer Today

The Shapiro Legal Group offers our sincerest condolences if you or a loved one suffer from an illness or injury due to the 9/11 WTC collapses. If you think you or a loved one may be eligible for compensation, contact our Zadroga Act & 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund attorney today for assistance.