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Understanding the VCF’s Claim Status Definitions

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Filing a claim for compensation with the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund can be confusing and overwhelming. It can also be a lengthy process, and many responders and survivors might be wondering about the status of their claim as it moves through the VCF’s system. The following statuses are used to indicate the stage of processing for a VCF claim:

  1. Pre-Registration Status – This means the VCF has created an account for the responder or survivor because it received hard copy documents in support of the claim. However, the hard copy or online claim form must still be submitted.
  2. Start and Blank Statuses – The VCF’s “Start” status means a responder or survivor has completed their registration, but they have not begun the eligibility or compensation portions of the claim. Similarly, a “Blank” status indicates that registration has not yet been completed.
  3. Incomplete Status – When a status is marked as “Incomplete,” the form has not been completed or submitted to the VCF. Any section of the form that is marked as “Incomplete” must be filled out. This claim status applies to registration, as well as the eligibility and compensation portions of a claim.
  4. Submitted Status – When a claim shows the “Submitted” status, the VCF has received the documents required for processing and will begin its review. This claim status is applicable to the registration, eligibility, and compensation portions of a VCF claim. In addition, when a claim indicates it has been 
  5. Submitted: Pending Preliminary Review – Here, the claim is ready to be assigned for preliminary review. Claims may remain in this status for an extended period of time because the VCF processes claims on a first-in, first-out basis.
  6. Preliminary Review – Once a claim is in preliminary review, the VCF will review the claim to ensure the “minimally required” documentation was provided. Once the VCF has received this information, the claim is ready to be assigned to a claim reviewer to undergo the substantive review process.    
  7. Under Review – The “Under Review” status applies to both the eligibility and compensation parts of a VCF claim. At this point, the VCF will contact the responder or survivor if further information is needed to move forward with the claim. If a claim shows that it is under “Special Master Review,” it means that the claim has moved to the Special Master for determination.
  8. Approved or Denied – If a claim displays that it has been approved or denied, it means the Special Master has made their determination concerning eligibility.
  9. Determination Made: Processing – This claim status applies to compensation and means the claim has been entered into the system. At this time, the VCF will conduct a final quality check before issuing the award letter. This can take several months and claims are prioritized in order of oldest to newest. No new documents will be reviewed by the VCF once a claim has reached this stage. If additional information must be provided, an amendment can be submitted after the award letter has been received.
  10. Compensation Determination Sent – When a claim indicates “Compensation Determination Sent,” the VCF has completed its claim review, calculated the amount of loss incurred, and has sent a letter detailing the monetary award.
  11. Amend/Appeal Statuses – In the event a responder or survivor wishes to amend or appeal their claim, there are several different claim statuses that will be displayed as the amendment or appeal is being processed. These statuses include “Pending Preliminary Review,” “Preliminary Review,” “Pending Review,” “Under Review,” and “Special Master Review.”          
  12. Assessing Documents – The claim status “Assessing Documents” means that the VCF has made a decision on the claim, after which time a new document was submitted without an amendment being filed. The VCF will review the document and request further information if necessary.
  13. Inactive Status – A claim is rendered “Inactive” when the VCF stops processing it due to a discrepancy in data required to process the claim or because the minimum documentation has not been provided. A claim can be reactivated for review by amending it or uploading the information through the online system.
  14. Comp-Unable to Process – This status means that the VCF has stopped processing the claim. Although the responder or survivor was deemed eligible for compensation, one or more documents are missing that had been requested and are needed to calculate the award. The claim can be reactivated for review by uploading the information through the online system.  
  15. On Hold-Claimant Passed Away – If the VCF is notified that a claimant has passed away since the personal injury claim was submitted, it will stop processing the claim until the personal representative of the claimant files an amendment or a new deceased claim.
  16. Superseded – When a claim indicates it has been “Superseded,” a new deceased claim has been filed for a victim who had submitted a personal injury claim. This status will appear once the VCF has verified the personal representative for the deceased claim.
  17. Withdrawn or Cancelled – When a claim is “Withdrawn,” it means the VCF has received a claimant’s request to withdraw the claim. Claims that display a “Cancelled” status refer to those that have been cancelled due to duplicative claims being submitted. In such cases, the VCF will determine the correct claim to process.
  18. Abandoned – The VCF recently began using a new claim status to indicate when a claim has been abandoned. Claimants who see that their claim has been placed in abandoned status and wish to pursue a claim will need to contact the VCF when they are ready to submit their information.  

Contact an Experienced 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Attorney

If you’re a 9/11 responder or survivor, you may be eligible to receive an award from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. Since registering and filing a claim for compensation with the VCF can be confusing and frustrating, it’s crucial to have a 9/11 VCF attorney by your side to walk you through the process.

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.

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