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Five Common Questions About VCF Procedures

VCF Procedures

The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund was created to ensure all eligible responders and survivors obtain the monetary awards they deserve for their 9/11-related illnesses. However, the process associated with registration and filing a claim can be confusing. Here are five common questions about the VCF’s procedures.

How Long Do You Have to File a Claim?

Eligible responders and survivors have until October 1, 2090, to file a claim for compensation with the VCF. However, it’s essential to understand that the claim filing deadline is separate from the registration deadline. Registration must be completed before the VCF will consider a claim. The registration deadline is different for everyone, based on their circumstances.

What Happens After a Claim Has Been Submitted?

Once a VCF claim has been submitted, it will go through the preliminary review and substantive review processes. During the preliminary review process, the VCF will look to ensure you have submitted the minimally required documents and information necessary to process your claim. The next stage is substantive review, where the VCF will review your claim to determine whether you meet the VCF’s eligibility criteria. If you are missing documentation during either stage, the VCF will send you a letter asking you to submit the information that is needed to prove your claim.

What are the VCF’s Exposure Requirements?

One of the most important requirements that must be satisfied before a responder or survivor can be issued compensation is presence in the NYC Exposure Zone. A responder or survivor must establish that they were in the NYC Exposure Zone in the immediate aftermath of September 11, 2001. The VCF’s presence criteria is distinct from the World Trade Center Health Program’s presence requirements.

The NYC Exposure Zone encompasses the area in lower Manhattan south of Canal Street and along the routes of debris removal, including the barges, bus depots, and Fresh Kills landfill in Staten Island. The Zadroga Act defines the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks as any date between September 11, 2001, and May 30, 2022. There is no minimum amount of time a responder or survivor must have spent in the NYC Exposure Zone to satisfy the VCF’s presence requirement.

How Long is the Review Process?

The VCF strives to process claims as quickly as possible. Every VCF claim is reviewed on a first-in, first-out basis based on the date the claim form was submitted. The amount of time it will take depends upon the complexity of the claim, the amount of information that must be reviewed, and whether the VCF requests any additional documentation. It’s best to respond to any requests from the VCF in a timely manner to avoid any further delay.

Can the VCF Expedite a Claim?

The VCF will only expedite a claim under very limited circumstances. Specifically, you must establish significant financial hardship or terminal illness in order to request that your claim be accelerated. In such cases, the VCF will review the request and notify you whether it is granted or denied within 48 hours. For claims that have been approved for expediting, the VCF can typically process the claim, issue the award, and process payment in less than one month.

Contact an Experienced 9/11 VCF Attorney

If you were diagnosed with an illness, cancer, or health condition related to 9/11, you may be eligible to receive compensation from the VCF. An experienced VCF attorney can help you navigate the VCF’s procedures and assist you with obtaining the compensation you deserve. The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund attorneys at The Dearie Law Firm, P.C., have represented claimants and their families in 9/11 VCF claims for over a decade. For a free consultation, contact us today.


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