Over the last two decades, many 9/11 responders and survivors have developed new health conditions linked to the toxins in the NYC Exposure Zone. In many cases, these new symptoms began after survivors had filed claims with the first Victim Compensation Fund, or VCF1.
It’s important to know that if you received an award under the first VCF, you may be entitled to additional compensation if you satisfy specific criteria. The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund allows responders and survivors, under certain circumstances, to amend their original claims and fully recover their losses.
What Is the VCF1?
The original VCF operated from 2001 to 2004. The purpose of VCF1 was to provide compensation for responders and survivors who suffered physical harm or fatality in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.
However, many illnesses and health conditions due to the toxins in the 9/11 dust cloud did not develop until years, and even decades, later. The current iteration, VCF2, opened in October 2011 and was ultimately extended to allow for the filing of claims until October 1, 2090.
When Can You Amend Your Claim If You Received an Award under VCF1?
If you received an award under VCF1, there are a few instances in which you may be eligible for additional compensation. Specifically, you may amend your VCF1 claim if you satisfy one of the following criteria:
- You suffer from a new health condition that you did not have when you filed your VCF1 claim
- You were diagnosed with an illness that was not compensable when you filed your VCF1 claim
- You suffered a new loss that was not applicable when you filed your VCF1 claim (for instance, you have since been determined totally disabled)
- Your prior eligible condition substantially worsened, resulting in losses that were not previously compensated
The VCF considers two primary objectives when it evaluates whether a claimant who received an award in VCF1 should receive additional compensation. First, the VCF avoids reassessing or recalculating any component of the VCF1 award. Second, it will avoid duplicating any part of the award issued by VCF1. The VCF will apply any compensation received in VCF1 as an adjustment to the new award.
Amending Your VCF Claim
To amend your VCF claim, you must be able to demonstrate that your condition substantially worsened or you developed a new 9/11-related illness. Usually, you will not need to submit proof of presence if you were eligible for an award under VCF1. The VCF will request any further information that may be required regarding your presence in the NYC Exposure Zone.
Being certified by the WTC Health Program for a new health condition doesn’t necessarily mean you are eligible for additional compensation. Significantly, the VCF will not issue an award based on the number of illnesses or diseases you have developed.
Instead, it considers the severity of each and the impact your illnesses have on your life. In most cases, your VCF award will only change if the newly certified condition is a cancer — or a “presumptively debilitating” condition — and your initial award was based on a non-cancer.
Contact an Experienced 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Attorney
If you have been diagnosed with a new health condition after you received an award from the VCF, you may be entitled to additional compensation. An experienced 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund attorney can assess your case and help ensure you obtain the maximum monetary recovery to which you’re 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 more than a decade. For a free consultation, contact us today.