For 9/11 responders and survivors diagnosed with an illness linked to the NYC Exposure Zone, a monetary award from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund is critical to cover their losses. While the VCF processes claims on a first-in, first-out basis, it is working toward issuing determinations within one year of receiving a claim submission. However, it’s essential to understand that several things can delay a claim. As a result, it will take longer to receive your payout.
Here are five ways you can avoid delays in your VCF claim:
1. File for Economic Loss When You Submit Your Claim for Pain and Suffering
When you only file a claim for non-economic loss (also known as “pain and suffering”), and there is a good chance you will seek lost wages or other economic losses later, your payment can be delayed. The best course of action is to wait to file a claim until you have all the information necessary to support it. The VCF can process claims significantly faster if it evaluates all claimed losses simultaneously. If you file for pain and suffering compensation and receive your payout, any subsequent claim you file for economic loss will be sent to the end of the line, resulting in delayed payment.
2. Ensure Your VCF Claim Form is Complete
The VCF’s claim form requires you to provide basic data about yourself, your condition, loss of earnings, and other information relevant to your claim. The form includes both the eligibility and compensation portions of your claim. It must be completed thoroughly and correctly to avoid denial of your claim or delay in receiving your award.
3. Submit All Required Paperwork and Documentation
When you file a claim with the VCF, multiple forms must be filed along with a claim submission. The specific documentation that must be included will depend upon the specific facts of your claim. Failure to include all required documentation at the time of submission can result in the VCF issuing a “missing information letter” — ultimately causing a delay in processing your claim.
4. Respond Promptly to a Missing Information Letter
In the event the VCF finds that the documents you submitted are insufficient or documentation is missing, it will send a letter notifying you. If you receive a “missing information letter” during the substantive eligibility review or compensation review, your claim will be placed in “inactive status,” and you have 30 days to respond. It’s best to respond promptly to avoid any further delay in your claim. If you do not respond at all, the VCF will render a decision based on the information you provided.
5. Seek Assistance from an Experienced 9/11 VCF Attorney
The process of filing a claim with the VCF can be confusing. To avoid making any mistakes in your claim that could result in delay or denial, it’s important to have a skilled attorney who understands the VCF’s regulations and rules. They will know the applicable timelines that must be followed and the documentation that must be submitted to help ensure your claim is processed without delay — and that your payment is issued timely.
Contact a New York City 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Attorney
If you are a 9/11 responder or survivor who has been diagnosed with an illness that is eligible for VCF compensation, it’s vital to have the guidance of a knowledgeable 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund attorney. The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. is committed to providing experienced counsel and reliable representation to help ensure their clients receive the maximum VCF award to which they are entitled.
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.