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What Should I Do if I Intend to Appeal the Decision on My VCF Claim?

Appeal the Decision

If you have submitted a VCF claim for compensation with the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and received a denial, it doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be eligible for compensation. Notably, the VCF has an appeals process available to many responders and survivors. However, if you intend to appeal the decision on your VCF claim, it’s essential to understand that certain steps must be taken — and specific deadlines apply. The eligibility denial or award letter you receive will include details regarding how to appeal the decision.

If you disagree with the VCF’s decision and intend to file an appeal, here’s what you should do:

Determine Whether You Have Received an Appeal Form

Not every eligibility or compensation denial can be appealed. Critically, you can only submit an appeal to the VCF if you received a letter that specifies your right to appeal. Such letters will include an Appeal Request Form. You must file this form before you can submit your appeal package.

Read the Denial Letter Thoroughly

If you receive a denial letter about your VCF claim from the VCF that states you do not meet certain eligibility requirements, an appeal form with instructions will be included. The letter will specify why your claim was denied and what you can do to remedy it. For instance, if the letter outlines that the VCF could not confirm your presence in the NYC Exposure Zone based on the documents you provided, you may be able to appeal if you believe the information submitted does establish your presence.

However, you should only appeal the eligibility decision if you cannot obtain additional documents — and testifying at an appeals hearing is the only way you will be able to show you were there. If other documents are available, you can submit them as an amendment to your claim without going through the appeals process.

Know You Only Have a Limited Amount of Time to File an Appeal

Whether you’ve received a letter with an eligibility or compensation denial that gives you the right to appeal, you must complete and sign the Appeal Request Form within 30 days of the decision on your letter. If you do not upload the form to your online claim or postmark it by the due date on the letter, you will lose your right to appeal.

Gather the Necessary Documents for Your VCF Claim Appeal Package

Filing the Appeal Request Form isn’t the same as filing the appeal. Within 60 days of your decision letter’s due date, you must submit your complete appeal package online or ensure it is postmarked by the due date in your decision letter. Failure to do so will result in your request for an appeal being denied. Before you submit your appeal package, you must gather and complete the necessary forms, including the following:

  • A completed pre-hearing questionnaire
  • An Explanation of Appeal
  • Any relevant documentation that supports your appeal
  • A listing of the documents and the specific part of your appeal to which each applies

Notably, all forms and documentation should be submitted as one package to the VCF. The VCF will only accept documentation provided to the VCF after the appeal package has been submitted in very limited cases. If the VCF determines that a hearing should be held to address the issues that have been raised in your appeal request, you will be sent a letter with the details, including the date and time it will be scheduled.

Contact an Experienced New York City 9/11 VCF Claim Attorney

If you are a responder or survivor who suffers from a 9/11 health condition, you may be entitled to a monetary award from the VCF. It’s critical to have a knowledgeable VCF attorney by your side who can guide you through the claims process, assist with any appeal, and ensure you obtain the maximum award to which you are entitled. The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund attorneys at The Dearie Law Firm, P.C., have been providing reliable representation to claimants and their families in 9/11 VCF claims for over a decade. For a free consultation, contact us today.


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