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What is an Eligibility Appeal?

Eligibility Appeal

If you are a 9/11 responder or survivor whose claim was denied by the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, you may be entitled to file an appeal. The VCF allows claimants to appeal both eligibility and compensation determinations. An appeal can allow you to dispute the claim rejection and provide you with the opportunity to present the information necessary to obtain the award you deserve.

When Can You File an Eligibility Appeal?

A 9/11 illness, cancer, or disease can have a devastating impact on your life — physically and financially. The VCF strives to ensure that all eligible responders and survivors obtain the compensation to which they’re entitled for their 9/11-related health conditions. To be eligible to receive an award from the VCF, you must establish the following criteria:

  • You were present in the NYC Exposure Zone
  • You were in the NYC Exposure Zone in the immediate aftermath of 9/11
  • You have a 9/11 health condition certified by the WTC Health Program
  • You do not have any 9/11-related lawsuits pending

If you receive a letter from the VCF notifying you that you do not satisfy certain eligibility requirements and are not eligible for compensation, you may be able to file an eligibility appeal. This can allow you to present the necessary information to the VCF to prove that you are entitled to an award.

How Do You File an Eligibility Appeal?

If you have received notice that the VCF determined you were ineligible for compensation, it’s important to understand the procedures involved with filing an eligibility appeal. However, before you can submit your appeal, you must file an Appeal Request Form within 30 days of notification of the VCF’s decision. This request can only be submitted if you receive the Form with your decision letter. Once the Form has been provided to the VCF, you can begin to assemble your appeal package.

An appeal package must contain a completed pre-hearing questionnaire, an explanation of appeal, and all relevant documentation supporting your appeal. It must be submitted within 60 days of receiving the decision letter. Notably, the explanation of appeal specifies the grounds for your appeal and covers the reasons you believe the eligibility denial was improperly decided and the issues you intend to raise at your appeal hearing. You must also include a listing of the documents you submit to support your arguments as part of your appeal package.

Can You Amend Your Claim to Prove Eligibility?

You should only appeal the VCF’s eligibility determination if you cannot obtain additional documents to support your claim — and attending an appeal hearing would be the only way to establish your presence in the NYC Exposure Zone. If you have other documents that might be available to prove your presence, you may be able to submit an amendment to your claim without going through the appeals process. These documents can include those from an employer, school, union, former co-worker, or any others who can attest to your presence.

Contact an Experienced 9/11 VCF Attorney

If you were diagnosed with a health condition related to 9/11, you may be eligible to receive a monetary award from the VCF. An experienced VCF attorney can guide you through the claim filing process and assist you with securing the 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.


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