The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund — commonly referred to as the “VCF” — provides monetary recovery to 911 responders and survivors who have been diagnosed with health conditions linked to the toxic dust cloud. Not only does the Fund award compensation for the economic losses responders and survivors may have suffered, but for the non-economic impact their 9/11 disease, cancer, or illness may have had on their lives. If you filed a claim for compensation from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, you might be wondering what happens after you send your paperwork. Below are the steps the VCF takes in reviewing your claim.
The VCF Conducts a Preliminary Review
After your claim has been submitted, the first step the VCF will take is conducting a preliminary review. During this stage, the claim package is reviewed for the minimum necessary documentation required for processing. They will look for:
- Your claim form
- Applicable exhibits
- Signature page
- Presence documentation
- Authorizations to obtain your medical records
The Fund may also request additional documentation if needed to process your claim. There is a 60-day time frame in which any requested information must be provided to avoid denial of your claim.
The VCF Determines Your Eligibility
After the VCF determines that it has all necessary and required documentation, your claim will undergo a substantive eligibility review. At this stage of the process, the Fund considers whether your claim was timely registered and confirms your eligible 9/11 health condition. The VCF will also confirm your presence in the NYC Exposure Zone and the resolution of any 9/11-related lawsuits.
If any documentation is missing that would establish your eligibility, the VCF will issue a missing information letter. You will then have 30 days from the date of the letter to provide the information to the Fund. Once the VCF determines your eligibility for compensation, you will receive a letter notifying you of the decision.
The VCF Begins its Compensation Review
Following the VCF’s eligibility determination, it will review information regarding your compensation and the types of losses you are claiming. If you have made a claim for economic loss, the VCF will proceed to contact any necessary third parties to request information concerning your pension, benefits, and earnings history. The more complex your claim, the longer it will take to review.
In the event you are only claiming non-economic loss, the VCF will move forward to calculate your award based on the severity of your health condition. Each VCF award is calculated individually and will also factor in any collateral offsets received from Workers’ Compensation, Social Security, life insurance, and 9/11-related lawsuits.
The VCF Issues its Award Decision
After your claim has gone through the various review stages, the VCF will issue its award decision. In the letter you are sent, the VCF will provide a breakdown of the calculation. You may also have the right to appeal your claim if you believe there was a mistake in calculation. Appeals must be made within 30 days. Awards are issued 20 days after the 30-day window to appeal.
Subsequently, you may also amend your VCF claim if you believe certain information wasn’t considered in making its determination. In addition, you should also amend your claim if you were diagnosed with a new condition, your condition worsens, or you incurred $5,000 or more in out-of-pocket medical expenses.
Contact a New York City 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Attorney
If you are a 9/11 responder or survivor who has been diagnosed with a health condition that is eligible for VCF compensation, it’s crucial to have the guidance of an experienced 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund attorney. The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. is committed to providing knowledgeable counsel and skillful representation to help ensure their clients receive the maximum VCF award 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.