Eileen and her dog, Riley, at Quantico.

 

 

 

 

 

Dear colleagues and friends,

I am writing this letter to you in an effort to underline something we at the Society and Board of Directors have been trying to convey to our membership for the last couple of years. That is, the importance of getting your “letter of verification” from the Bureau that you participated in one of the sites in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and to get registered with the World Trade Center Health Program and the Victim Compensation Fund, if appropriate.

It’s very important to get that letter of verification as soon as you can because, as I’ve been known to tell anyone who will listen, “the farther we get from retirement, the less likely the Bureau is to remember us.”

As many of you already know, I participated at the Pentagon as a dog handler with my two Golden Retriever cadaver dogs. Interestingly, Dr. Cynthia Otto, D.V.M. at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School of Medicine conducted research on the health of the dogs following their participation in the piles of debris searched after the 9/11 attack. It seems that the dogs fared much better than their human counterparts and none of the dogs involved in the study have died as a result of their participation in the searches.

Best Regards,
Eileen J. Roemer
(1985-2006)

 

  

Eileen J. Roemer was a Supervisory Special Agent assigned to CIRG when 9/11 occurred. She was also a Naval Reserve Officer assigned to the Pentagon. She responded with two certified cadaver dogs to the Pentagon to look for human remains. The FBI asked her to head up the FBI dog teams around the country who responded to the Pentagon. She is currently serving as the Chapter Chair of the Gulf Coast Chapter. She formerly served as a Foundation Trustee for three years. She is the designated 9/11 Response Coordinator for the Society.  If you have any questions, please contact her at Eileen.Roemer@socxfbi.org.

 




 

Background

On September 11, 2001, and in its aftermath, many FBI employees assisted with the rescue, recovery, and investigative efforts in New York City (at both the World Trade Center and Staten Island Landfill), at the Pentagon and related evidence sites, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. As a result of that work, more than 15 FBI employees have died from 9/11-related illnesses and many others are facing medical as well as mental health conditions.

While most people can’t imagine the conditions at those scenes, we all understand the sense of duty it took to work there, day after day, month after month. However, we’re only now beginning to realize the long-term impact of the sacrifices those employees made. Other affected employees include those assigned to the New York Field Office between 9/11/2001 and 7/31/2002, after much of lower Manhattan was designated as a 9/11 Disaster Area.

The federal government has several programs that provide benefits to affected employees or surviving family members. Two of them are the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). This brochure will help you complete each program registration, which must be done on the program websites. The FBI wants every affected employee to register, even if there are no obvious symptoms of illness now.

This brochure also covers other assistance available from the FBI Human Resources Division (HRD). If you have any questions, please call the HRD Call Center at (202) 324-3333.

       

Eligibility

You can register for WTCHP and VCF if you responded to the Pentagon, World Trade Center, Staten Island Landfill, or Shanksville between 9/11/2001 and 7/31/2002, or if you were at any site where debris, human remains, and evidence connected to the investigation was processed. You are also eligible if you worked at 26 Federal Plaza or 290 Broadway. If you were not assigned to 26 Federal Plaza or 290 Broadway (assigned to an RA, offsite, 26th Street Garage, etc.), but worked in lower Manhattan south of Canal Street, the Staten Island Landfill, the barge loading piers, the morgue, or worked on the cars that were in lower Manhattan south of Canal Street on 9/11, you also are eligible.


STEP 1: Request Two Verification Letters from HRD

To start the WTCHP/VCF registration process, you must first request two Verification Letters from the HRD Call Center (one for each program). These letters fulfill the program’s requirement for proof of response or exposure.

To submit a request, go to 9/11 Duties Survey and complete the survey. Please use your official Bureau name and fill in each field. You will receive your letters within 10 business days of your request. If you have questions about the process or the letters, please send an FBINET email to HQ_DIV03_HRANSWERS or call the HRD Call Center at (202) 324-3333. (If you know of a former FBI employee who needs these letters, please have them call the HRD Call Center at (202) 324-3333 or send an email to FBI911RespondersHelp@fbi.gov.)

 

STEP 2: Register with World Trade Center Health Program

For eligible employees, WTCHP provides free health screening, monitoring, and treatment for certified medical conditions, including certain cancers, respiratory diseases (asthma, and chronic cough), digestive disorders, and mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Eligible responders and survivors will receive free annual medical monitoring. If your condition is certified as a WTC- related health condition, WTCHP healthcare providers will provide free, quality, medically necessary treatment for that condition.

The program is administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). If you have questions, please call (888) 982-4748.

To register, go to www.cdc.gov/wtc/apply.html to download the application. Send the completed form and your Verification Letter together to WTCHP via  fax or mail. You will receive a letter confirming your enrollment. If you do not receive the letter within four weeks, call to inquire about your status. Phone wait times can be long, so please be patient.

 

STEP 3: Register with the Victim Compensation Fund

It is critical for all 9/11 responders to register with VCF now, because registration preserves the right to file claims for injury or death later and there is a statutory deadline to submit claims for the VCF by December 18, 2020. To register:

•  Go to www.claims.vcf.gov and create an account with a user name, email address, password, and security questions.
•  Then, register by providing your name, address, SSN, and phone number. This takes less than five minutes.

This fund compensates individuals who suffered a physical injury or a condition as a result of the 9/11 attacks, or died as a result of those injuries or conditions. The eligibility standards are based on those set by WTCHP. For more information, call (855) 885-1555 or visit www.vcf.gov.

 

Assistance from the FBI Human Resources Division

HRD can also assist affected employees with other resources, including filing appeals with WTCHP and VCF, and managing Department of Labor claims. To get started, call the HRD Call Center at (202) 324-3333 and request 9/11-related HRD Assistance. It may take up to five business days to receive a response.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. If I call HRD to obtain the Verification Letters, am I enrolled in these programs?

A. No. You must contact each program separately and submit an application to each program.

 

Q. I have retired from the FBI. Is it too late for me to enroll?

A. No. Call the HRD Call Center today at (202) 324-3333 or send an email to FBI911RespondersHelp@fbi.gov to request your Verification Letters. With those in hand, you can enroll in each program.

 

Q. I worked at a warehouse processing debris and evidence. Can I get the Verification Letters?

A. Yes, with proper documentation. Please call the HRD Call Center at (202) 324-3333 or send an email to FBI911RespondersHelp@fbi.gov.

 

Contact Information

FBI HRD Call Center
(202) 324-3333
Internal FBI E-mail: HQ_DIV03_HRANSWERS
External FBI E-mail: FBI911RespondersHelp@fbi.gov


World Trade Center Health Program

(888) 982-4748
www.cdc.gov/wtc/apply.html


Victim Compensation Fund

(855) 885-1555
www.vcf.gov

 

 

                






                  

                  



 Related Articles and Links

 
 

9/11 Responders Encouraged to Register for Health Benefits

 
Inside the FBI: First Responders and 9/11-Related Illnesses, Part 1
 
Inside the FBI: First Responders and 9/11-Related Illnesses, Part 3
 
17 Years Later, 9/11 First Responders Still Struggle With Serious Health Problems Related to Attacks - Video from NBC Washington
 
September 11th is still killing FBI Agents: "It's like Bin Laden reaching out from the grave" - Article from the Los Angeles Times 
 
FBI Retired Case File Review with Jerri Williams: Episode 162: Jean and Tom O’Connor – 9/11, FBI Line of Duty Deaths and Illnesses
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

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