The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund was created to ensure that responders and survivors who suffer from 9/11-related illnesses obtain the compensation they deserve. There are several ways 9/11 health conditions can affect victims’ lives — not only financially and professionally, but they can also prevent them from working or doing the activities they once enjoyed.
Tragically, in many cases, victims have also passed away from their illnesses, causing a significant economic and emotional impact on their families. The VCF issues monetary awards for three primary types of claims to address each claimant’s unique situation, including economic loss, non-economic loss, and wrongful death.
Economic Loss Claims
The VCF considers claims for economic loss submitted by responders and survivors who have suffered financially in connection with their 9/11 health condition. In addition to evaluating claims for lost wages, the VCF also assesses future lost earnings claims for those who can no longer work or who have a reduced capacity to be employed.
Specifically, a VCF economic loss claim can include the following:
- Loss of earnings
- Loss of employment benefits
- Loss of pension
- Loss of health benefits
- Out-of-pocket medical costs
The VCF will generally look to information provided by the Social Security Administration (or the NYPD or NYFD when applicable) to determine a responder’s earnings history for the purpose of calculating an economic loss claim. For those who cannot provide information from the Social Security Administration, the VCF will look at documentation such as tax returns, W-2 forms, 1099 forms, and pay stubs. The VCF will also consider a wide range of documentation for responders and survivors claiming their future earning potential is greater than their earnings history might show — including letters of promotion, stock options, and proof of other employment benefits.
Non-Economic Loss Claims
The largest component of a VCF award is often the “pain and suffering” award, also known as compensation for non-economic loss. These awards are meant to compensate responders and survivors for the physical pain, emotional anguish, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of companionship caused by their 9/11-related illnesses. Compensation is not determined by how many certified conditions a claimant has, but rather by the severity of each one. The VCF issues awards in an amount between $10,000 and $90,000 for non-cancer conditions and between $90,000 and $250,000 for cancers.
Wrongful Death Claims
A VCF deceased claim can be filed by the personal representative of a victim’s estate for an eligible responder or survivor who passed away due to an illness linked to the toxic dust cloud. There are two parts to a deceased claim — the victim’s personal injury award and the wrongful death award. Each part is calculated separately.
A VCF personal injury award made on behalf of a deceased claimant is meant to compensate them for the losses they suffered in connection with their 9/11-related cancer or illness during their lifetime. The wrongful death portion of the claim compensates the victim’s family for their loss. Under the Zadroga Act, the VCF may issue an award for non-economic loss in a deceased claim in the amount of $250,000 for the victim and $100,000 to the spouse and each dependent. See the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund History here.
Contact an Experienced 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Attorney
If you were a 9/11 responder or survivor who developed an illness linked to the toxic dust cloud or your work in the NYC Exposure Zone, you may be entitled to compensation from the VCF. However, the VCF’s regulations are often confusing, and the process of filing a claim can be frustrating. It’s best to have a skilled and knowledgeable 9/11 VCF attorney by your side who can help ensure that you obtain the maximum monetary award available. The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund attorneys at The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. have represented claimants and their families in VCF claims for more than a decade. For a free consultation, contact us today.