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How Does the VCF Calculate Loss?

Calculate Loss

The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund issues monetary awards to eligible responders and survivors for the losses they have suffered in connection with their 9/11-related health conditions. However, certain procedures and guidelines must be followed to calculate economic and non-economic loss under the Zadroga Act. Each claim must go through a detailed process and analysis for the VCF to determine the appropriate amount to be awarded.

What Is the VCF’s Claim Analysis to Calculate Loss?

The VCF is only permitted to compensate for losses caused by eligible health conditions in connection with the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Accordingly, a specific claim analysis is applied. Under the Zadroga Act, the VCF will take the harm suffered by the claimant, the facts of the claim, and the claimant’s individual circumstances into account when evaluating a claim. The VCF strives to be fair to all claimants and gives priority to those who have sustained the most debilitating conditions. It must also ensure that every aspect of an award is properly documented and justified.

The VCF’s claim analysis begins with three questions:

  1. Was there a demonstrable loss?
  2. Can it reasonably be concluded that the loss was caused by a 9/11-related eligible condition?
  3. What makes sense in connection with the claimant and the circumstances surrounding their claim?

Notably, in calculating and compensating demonstrable loss, the VCF is guided by several essential principles — fairness to the claimants, faithfulness to the Zadroga Act, and accountability to the public.

What Is the VCF’s Substantive Compensation Review Process?

Once you meet the eligibility criteria, the VCF will begin reviewing your compensation information, including the losses you have suffered. Specifically, the VCF compensates for both economic and non-economic losses. Economic losses consist of pecuniary losses that are caused by an eligible condition, including loss of earnings, employment benefits, replacement services loss, and past medical expenses. Non-economic losses are also referred to as pain and suffering and are based on the nature and severity of your health condition in connection with your daily activities and livelihood.

In the event your claim submission is missing documentation needed to calculate your award, the VCF will request it by sending a “missing information” letter. A response must be sent within 30 days — otherwise, the VCF will render a decision based on the information currently contained in your file. In some instances, the VCF may deactivate a claim if crucial information is missing.

The VCF’s review includes determining non-economic loss based on the severity of physical harm, calculating economic loss, and confirming collateral offsets. More complex claims typically take more time to review.

How are VCF Awards Calculated?

VCF awards are calculated using a basic formula: non-economic loss plus economic loss, minus collateral offsets. Collateral offsets are compensation received from other sources due to your eligible injury. These can include payments from life insurance policies, pension funds, the Social Security Administration, Workers’ Compensation, and any settlements from 9/11-related lawsuits.

When it comes to calculating economic loss, the VCF will consider evidence of your lost earnings, such as documentation of earnings history, discrete past lost earnings, future lost earnings, and documents that demonstrate disability. It will also review information in connection with your loss of employment-related benefits, including your defined benefit plans, defined contribution plans, and pensions. In addition, the amount of out-of-pocket medical expenses you’ve paid because of your 9/11-related health condition will be reviewed once they exceed $5,000.

Non-economic loss for injuries and illnesses is set forth under the Zadroga Act and is based on the seriousness of a condition. The maximum non-economic loss award for any one type of cancer is $250,000. A non-cancer condition can be awarded anywhere from $10,000 to $90,000, depending on the impact the condition has on your daily life. The Special Master may exceed the statutory cap in limited cases involving multiple severe conditions.

Contact an Experienced New York City 9/11 VCF Attorney

If you are an eligible responder or survivor who suffers from a 9/11-related illness, cancer, or health condition, you may be entitled to a monetary award from the VCF. It’s critical to have a knowledgeable VCF attorney by your side who can guide you through the claims process and ensure you obtain the maximum compensation to which you are entitled. The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund attorneys at The Dearie Law Firm, P.C., have been providing dedicated representation to claimants and their families in 9/11 VCF claims for over a decade. For a free consultation, contact us today.


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