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What is Compensated in a VCF Award?


The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund was established under the Zadroga Act to ensure that responders and survivors obtain the compensation they deserve for their cancers and other health conditions linked to the attack’s subsequent toxic dust cloud. The VCF issues awards to claimants who have suffered various economic and non-economic losses. However, it’s important to ensure your claim is properly documented in order to secure the monetary recovery to which you are entitled.

Compensation for Economic Loss

The VCF provides compensation to responders and survivors who have suffered economic loss. Specifically, economic loss refers to the financial losses incurred in connection with a 9/11-related health condition. When determining an award, the VCF considers economic loss claims for the following:

  • Past lost wages
  • Future lost earnings
  • Loss of employment benefits
  • Loss of pensions
  • Loss of retirement contribution programs
  • Loss of health benefits

Past lost wages calculated by the VCF include those incurred before the VCF claim was submitted. Future lost earnings are based on those incurred after the economic loss claim was submitted. To support an award of economic loss, the VCF will typically consider information provided by the Social Security Administration, the FDNY, or the NYPD to evaluate earnings history.

For claimants who cannot provide information to the Social Security Administration, the VCF will look at tax returns, W-2 forms, 1099 forms, pay stubs, employment offer letters, or statements of profit or loss. In some cases, proof of lost wages can also be established through medical reports or Workers’ Compensation records.

Compensation for Non-Economic Loss

Non-economic loss is also known as “pain and suffering.” These loss claims are calculated separately from economic loss. Non-economic loss is not based on the number of health conditions a claimant has. Rather, this portion of a VCF award is based on the nature and severity of the 9/11 health condition and how it affects the daily life of a responder or survivor.

Pursuant to the Zadroga Act, non-economic loss awards are meant to compensate responders and survivors for the following:

  • The physical pain they suffered in connection with their 9/11-related illness
  • Emotional pain and suffering resulting from the illness
  • Physical impairment
  • Inconvenience caused by the health condition
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of companionship
  • Injury to reputation due to the illness

Non-economic loss can be awarded in an amount between $90,000 and $250,000 for cancer conditions. The amount of compensation that will be issued depends on the specific type of cancer and whether it has spread to other parts of the body. If a claimant has suffered from more than one type of cancer or has a severe non-cancer condition in addition to a cancer diagnosis, the Special Master may consider exceeding the statutory cap.

Non-economic loss claims for health conditions other than 9/11 cancer may be compensated between $10,000 and $90,000, depending on the severity of the illness. However, the VCF has identified several conditions — including emphysema, interstitial lung disease, asbestosis, and sarcoidosis — as “presumptively severe.” These conditions can be compensated at the highest amount allowable for non-economic loss.

Contact an Experienced 9/11 VCF Attorney

If you were diagnosed with an illness or health condition related to 9/11, you may be eligible to file a claim with the VCF. A knowledgeable VCF attorney can guide you through the claim filing process and assist you with obtaining 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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