9/11 responders and survivors who have developed illnesses due to toxic dust exposure in the weeks following the terrorist attacks may be entitled to compensation from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. This monetary recovery is critical for those who are unable to work because of their 9/11 health conditions and have incurred substantial economic losses as a result of them. However, if you are eligible to receive an award from the VCF, you might be wondering how long it will take for the VCF to process your claim — and when you will receive your award.
How Long Does it Take the VCF to Process a Claim?
The VCF prioritizes claims on “first-in, first-out” order, based on the date the claim was submitted. While the VCF aims for a turnaround time of one year, the more complex claims can take longer to complete. For instance, because claims brought on behalf of those who passed away due to their 9/11-related health conditions require the review of a significant amount of information, the VCF may take more time to issue a decision.
Generally, the amount of time it takes for the VCF to process a claim can depend on several factors. Claims must go through two stages of review — the preliminary review and the substantive eligibility review. If the VCF discovers that any necessary information is missing during either of these review phases, it will send a missing information letter advising you to provide the documentation. Failure to respond to the letter or timely submit the information needed can result in the delay of your VCF claim, or denial.
When Can You Expect to Receive Your Award?
Once the VCF issues its decision on your claim, it will begin processing your payment upon the conclusion of the 30-day time frame to appeal. It may then take 20 days for the Special Master to authorize the payment — and up to three weeks for the Department of Justice and the Treasury Department to process the payment. Typically, it can take two and a half months from the date of your award letter to see payment issued to the designated bank account.
If you appeal the VCF’s award decision, payment will not be processed until the VCF makes a decision regarding your appeal. In these cases, the payment process begins the date the VCF sends you the letter concerning the outcome of your appeal.
Can VCF Claims be Expedited?
In limited situations, the VCF may expedite a claim for compensation. If you believe cause exists to accelerate your claim, you must provide the VCF with documentation supporting the reason. The VCF may consider accelerating a claim under the following circumstances:
- A claimant received a terminal illness diagnosis; or
- A claimant has experienced significant financial hardship due to an imminent foreclosure; or
- A claimant has experienced significant financial hardship due to an eviction proceeding.
The VCF usually notifies a claimant within 48 hours if their request for acceleration has been approved. If the VCF determines a claim should be accelerated, it will complete the claims review process and issue an award in a month or less. Payment in these cases is issued along with the award letter. Importantly, those who have requested acceleration of their claims do not forego the right to appeal the VCF’s decision.
Contact a New York City 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Attorney
Registering with the VCF and filing a claim for compensation can be confusing, frustrating, and overwhelming. If you are a 9/11 responder or survivor who is eligible to receive compensation from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, it’s vital to have a 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund attorney guide you through the process. The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. is dedicated to assisting responders and survivors with filing VCF claims and helping them secure the compensation they 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.