What Can You Do to Speed Up the Processing of Your VCF Claim?
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund strives to process claims as quickly as possible, handling them on a first-in, first-out basis. Although the process can be expedited only in very limited cases, there are a few things all claimants can do to help speed up the VCF claim process. Responders and survivors should follow the steps below to ensure their claims are processed quickly — and that they recover the compensation they deserve for their 9/11-related illnesses.
Steps to Take to Speed Up Your VCF Claim
A responder or survivor’s VCF claim typically takes a little more than a year to process, from when a claim is submitted to when the decision is made. However, according to the VCF, taking the following steps can help speed up the processing of a claim:
- Ensure your claim form is complete and accurate
- Only submit your claim form when you have gathered all the required documentation
- Use the VCF document checklist
- Upload all supporting documents and required forms rather than mail them
- Submit the “definitive proof of presence” (witness statements should only be used as a last resort)
- Respond to requests for missing information as soon as possible
- Coordinate with your attorney before taking any action
Submitting a premature or insufficient claim can delay the VCF’s review process. In doing so, the VCF will have to generate a missing information request and move the claim into an “inactive” or “on hold status” while waiting for the requested information. It will then have to review the newly submitted documentation to determine whether it resolves the issue.
What’s the Difference Between a Premature Claim and an Insufficient Claim?
It’s essential to understand the difference between premature and insufficient claims to avoid processing delays. Neither type of claim is deemed acceptable by the VCF, and you should only submit a thorough and complete claim.
A premature claim is submitted without the basic supporting documentation to allow the VCF’s preliminary review process to begin. This prevents the claim from moving forward to substantive review. The VCF considers claims premature if the minimum required documents needed for the VCF to begin preliminary review of the claim have not been completed and submitted to the VCF. A claim is also considered premature if you have not yet been certified by the WTC Health Program for a 9/11-related physical condition or the Personal Representative does not have the documentation necessary to demonstrate their authority to file the claim. You will receive a missing information letter for submitting a premature claim, and your claim will be moved to “inactive” status.
In contrast, an insufficient claim is one for which the minimally required documents have been submitted, but upon review, the VCF has found that they do not establish your eligibility. For example, a claim might be insufficient if you did not provide proof of presence documents that satisfy the VCF’s requirements. Insufficient claims are placed on hold while the VCF waits to receive the information needed.
Contact an Experienced 9/11 VCF Attorney
If you are a responder or survivor with a 9/11-related health condition, you may be entitled to a monetary award from the VCF. However, it’s essential to have a knowledgeable VCF attorney by your side who can help you secure the maximum compensation you deserve. The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund attorneys at The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. have represented VCF claimants and their families for over a decade. For a free consultation, contact us today.