The September 11th Victims Compensation Fund requires claimants’ health conditions to be certified by the WTC Health Program before issuing compensation. However, it will make an exception in limited situations and allow a responder or survivor to go through the Private Physician process. If you are eligible to use this process to obtain certification, it’s important to be aware that the VCF has specific instructions regarding gathering and submitting information from private physicians.
What Is the Private Physician Process?
The VCF recognizes that obtaining certification from the WTC Health Program might not be possible for every responder and survivor. The Private Physician process is an alternative available to claimants when they would experience a substantial hardship to be certified by a WTC Health Program network provider. A claimant who wishes to be considered for the process should send a statement to the VCF explaining the facts of their situation and notify the VCF by phone that the request has been submitted. If the request is approved, a claimant must provide the VCF with the Private Physician packet and documentation to support their claim.
The VCF also permits those living abroad to take part in this process. In these situations, the VCF will work directly with the WTC Health Program to determine whether a claimant’s condition can be certified. A resident of a foreign country should submit the Private Physician form along with their claim packet.
When Should You Complete the Private Physician Forms?
Responders and survivors need to understand when they should complete the forms for the Private Physician process. The VCF has detailed instructions for these cases. If you satisfy the following criteria, you should complete the Private Physician forms:
- The VCF gave you specific instructions to complete the forms
- You are the personal representative of a deceased individual who was not certified for treatment by the WTC Health Program for the claimed condition
- You live outside the United States and have not been certified by the WTC Health Program
- You do not meet the WTC Health Program enrollment requirements
- You are not able to go to a WTC Health Program center and cannot seek certification through a Nationwide Provider Network without experiencing significant hardship
Once you have determined that you meet the criteria for the Private Physician process, you must gather the information the VCF needs in order to verify that your condition is eligible for an award. Additionally, you must be sure to use the appropriate version of the Private Physician process packet based on your specific facts and circumstances. Importantly, there is one form for those who were present in the NYC Exposure Zone and a separate packet that should be used for those who were present at the Pentagon or Shanksville, Pennsylvania, sites. You will also need to submit a “Treating Physician” form and an “Authorization for Release of Medical Records” form for each doctor you saw — this authorizes the physician to discuss your treatment with the VCF.
Contact an Experienced New York City 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Attorney
If you are a responder or survivor diagnosed with a 9/11-related health condition, you may be eligible to receive compensation. However, navigating the VCF regulations and the Private Physician process can be overwhelming. It is essential to have an attorney on your side who can ensure that you receive the maximum payout to which you 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.