The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund understands the impact a 9/11 cancer or health condition can have on a responder or survivor. In addition to awarding economic loss, the VCF issues non-economic loss awards to eligible responders and survivors to compensate them for the pain and suffering they experienced in connection with their 9/11-related illnesses. If you are a VCF claimant, it’s essential to understand what type of documentation can be submitted to increase the compensation for a non-economic loss award.
What Is Non-Economic Loss?
Non-economic loss is provided under the Zadroga Act. A VCF non-economic loss award is meant to compensate a responder or survivor for the pain and suffering they sustained because of their 9/11-related illness. Unlike an economic loss award, which covers the monetary losses suffered in connection with a 9/11 health condition, non-economic loss compensates for physical pain, emotional anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, inconvenience, injury to reputation, loss of companionship, and other non-economic damages related to the illness.
What Documentation Can You Submit to Increase Your Non-Economic Loss Award?
The only documentation needed to obtain a non-economic loss award is the WTC Health Program certification. However, the VCF will typically only issue compensation at the lower range for a specific condition. If a condition is more severe than the certification indicates, additional medical documentation can be submitted to increase the non-economic loss award.
Documentation from within three years of the claim submission date should be provided to assist the VCF with understanding the severity of a 9/11-related health condition. If certain medical records fall outside the three-year timeframe, their importance must be explained. Documentation that can help the VCF evaluate whether a higher non-economic award amount should be issued can include:
- Recent medical records that demonstrate the type and frequency of treatments related to the condition
- Documents pertaining to surgery, emergency treatment, and hospitalization
- Recent test results that show the severity of the condition
- Recent medical records that document the effect of the condition in daily life
- Documentation regarding the medications required for the condition
- Medical records that show the use of assistive devices that impair the activities of daily life
- Letters or reports from specialists who treated the condition
- Insurance records
- Records of state or federal agency proceedings that address the condition
- A document from a physician that summarizes the medical history of the condition and treatment
A personal statement by a responder or survivor may also be helpful to increase a non-economic loss award if it provides details and a timeline regarding the medical treatment rendered. However, the VCF will still need medical records to substantiate claims of surgery and other medical procedures. If medical records are submitted, the VCF requests that the relevant information be highlighted so that it can be easily found — or a written guide should be provided. The VCF will not review medical records with 75 or more pages that are submitted without highlighting or a guide, resulting in an award being issued at the lowest amount.
Contact an Experienced 9/11 VCF Attorney
Filing a VCF claim for non-economic loss can be confusing and overwhelming. A knowledgeable VCF attorney can guide you through the process to help ensure you obtain the monetary award to which you’re entitled. 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.