Many 9/11 responders and survivors suffer from various illnesses and health problems linked to the toxins found in the dust cloud in the NYC Exposure Zone. According to the WTC Health Program statistics, 71% of responders and survivors suffer from two or more 9/11-related illnesses.
Often, 9/11-related cancers and health problems can take years — or even decades — to develop. Multiple conditions may not be diagnosed at the same time due to varying latency periods. If you’re a responder or survivor who received an award from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and subsequently was diagnosed with a new WTC Health Program certified condition, you may be wondering whether you’re eligible for additional VCF compensation.
Amending Your VCF Claim to Add a New Condition
If you developed an additional 9/11 cancer, illness, disease, or condition after the VCF issued compensation, you may be entitled to file an amendment to your initial personal injury claim any time before October 1, 2090. However, you should only submit the amendment for the new condition once it has been certified by the WTC Health Program — the VCF will not review a claim for a new condition without certification.
Following a review of the information, the VCF will notify you regarding whether you are eligible to receive compensation for the new condition. Importantly, the VCF does not determine compensation by the number of conditions with which you’ve been diagnosed — but rather, the severity of each condition. This means that in some cases, filing an amendment will not change your previous non-economic loss award.
Generally, VCF cancer awards are capped at $250,000 and non-cancers at $90,000. If you were compensated for a 9/11 cancer but later were certified for a non-cancer, amending your claim will not result in additional compensation unless the non-cancer is one that’s been identified as “presumptively severe and debilitating” by the Special Master. Such conditions include emphysema, interstitial lung disease, asbestosis, and sarcoidosis. In these cases, the VCF is permitted to issue an award above the statutory cap. The VCF may also award compensation exceeding the cap if the newly diagnosed condition is another cancer.
If the VCF determines that you are eligible for additional compensation, you will also need to file a compensation amendment. Additionally, it is essential to note that you may be able to receive additional compensation if the first eligible condition substantially worsens.
Collateral Offsets and Certification for a New Condition
Another factor you should consider in determining whether you might be eligible to receive additional compensation is if the amount of any collateral offsets would be greater than the loss you’re claiming for the new condition.
For example, if you received payments from other sources such as Social Security Disability, Workers’ Compensation, disability insurance, or VA benefits that would exceed the amount of your award, you should not file an amendment for additional non-economic loss.
Contact a New York City 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Attorney
If you’re an eligible responder or survivor who has been diagnosed with an additional 9/11 health condition after having received compensation, you may be entitled to receive an additional award from the VCF. However, going through the process of filing an amendment to your claim can be confusing and frustrating. It’s best to work with an experienced 9/11 VCF attorney who can help ensure you obtain the maximum amount of compensation you 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.