The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund was created to provide monetary compensation to responders, survivors, and their families for the illnesses they have suffered as a result of exposure to the 9/11 dust cloud. However, filing a claim can be a confusing and overwhelming process. There are specific procedures that must be followed to ensure you obtain the compensation to which you’re entitled.
Here are five common mistakes to avoid when filing a claim with the VCF:
1. Confusing the Registration Deadline with the Claim Filing Deadline
If you’re an eligible responder or survivor, it’s crucial to understand that registering to file a claim and submitting a claim are two separate processes with different deadlines. In order to file a claim, you must first register with the VCF. Failure to do so can bar you from receiving the award you deserve.
2. Failing to Register in a Timely Manner
It’s important to be aware that the VCF has strict registration deadlines in place, which are based on when your condition was certified by the WTC Health Program. Although all claims must be filed with the VCF by October 1, 2090, the time frame in which each responder or survivor must file a claim is different and depends upon the date of certification. While the earliest registration deadline was July 29, 2021, for conditions certified prior to July 29, 2019, responders and survivors have two years to register from the latest date of certification.
3. Not Submitting a Completed Claim Form
When filing a claim with the VCF, it’s essential to know that there are multiple forms that must be filed with your claim submission, depending on the specific facts of the claim. Each form must be submitted to avoid receiving a “missing information letter” and any delay in processing your claim. While the VCF may allow you to provide the information needed to move your claim forward, if it is not submitted within the required time frame, your claim could ultimately be denied.
4. Failing to Establish Presence in the NYC Exposure Zone
One of the requirements to obtain compensation from the VCF is establishing presence in the NYC Exposure Zone between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002. Sufficient documentation must be submitted with the claim to show presence. However, the VCF will not consider “Ground Zero” as a valid location — a precise address, landmark, or cross street must be specified.
5. Not Getting Your Health Condition Certified by the WTC Health Program
The VCF recognizes all forms of cancer as eligible for compensation, in addition to various aerodigestive disorders, musculoskeletal conditions, respiratory illnesses, and acute traumatic injuries. But in order for the VCF to consider a claim for a 9/11-related health condition, it must first be certified by the WTC Health Program. Importantly, the Program is separate from the VCF and has its own eligibility criteria that must be satisfied.
Contact an Experienced 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Attorney
If you’re a 9/11 responder or survivor, you may be entitled to receive a monetary award from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. However, the requirements to file a claim can be complex, so it’s best to have a knowledgeable 9/11 VCF attorney by your side who can help ensure you obtain your rightful compensation.
The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund attorneys at The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. have represented claimants and their families for more than a decade. For a free consultation, contact us today.