If new information arose since you initially filed your claim with the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, you may be eligible to file an amendment. The VCF accepts amendments while a claim is pending and after an award has been issued, depending on the circumstances. However, it’s important to understand that filing an amendment doesn’t mean the VCF will process your claim any faster. The VCF considers amendments on a first in, first out order, based on the date the original claim was filed (if it is still pending) — or based on the date the amendment was submitted if an award was already issued.
Reasons to File an Amendment to Your VCF Claim
Depending on the circumstances, filing an amendment with the VCF may increase your award amount. While some amendments are administrative in nature, others are based on a worsening 9/11-related illness. Specifically, reasons you might file an amendment to your VCF claim can include the following:
- Your 9/11 health condition substantially worsened since you filed a claim
- New information arose since you filed your claim that could increase your compensation
- You were certified for a new condition that warrants additional compensation
- Your claim was deemed inactive or denied because you failed to respond to the VCF’s request for missing information
- You need to make changes to the personal representative listed on an existing claim
- You have received your VCF award but are now seeking reimbursement for out-of-pocket medical expenses totaling $5,000 or more
Before filing an amendment for a newly certified 9/11 illness, knowing that an additional eligible condition won’t necessarily change the amount of non-economic loss compensation you received is essential. However, if the previously certified condition was a non-cancer and you were subsequently certified for a cancer condition, you may be entitled to a higher award amount. In addition, the VCF typically will not allow for additional compensation if an award was issued at the statutory cap, except in limited circumstances.
How Long Does It Take the VCF to Decide on an Amendment?
The VCF’s priority is to render decisions on claims for responders and survivors who have not yet received an award. However, it also continues to review amendments that claimants have filed at the same time. The VCF prioritizes its review of amendments based on whether it has already made payment on the claim.
The VCF uses the same first in, first out order when reviewing amendments as it does when reviewing claims. In other words, it makes decisions on older amendments before considering newer ones. An amendment on a claim that has not been decided will usually not change the priority status. Instead, priority is based on the date the compensation form was submitted. In contrast, if a claim has already been determined, the VCF’s priority order is based on the date the amendment was submitted — not the date the original compensation form was submitted.
Significantly, it is often better for responders and survivors to amend their claim while it is still under consideration. This allows the VCF to consider a claim as a whole from the date it was filed, rather than in separate pieces. It can also result in a more timely determination if an amendment is made while the claim is still under consideration since, in these cases, the VCF will consider the amendment based on the priority status of the claim.
Contact an Experienced New York City 9/11 VCF Attorney
If you’re a 9/11 responder or survivor who filed a claim with the VCF, but your condition worsened, or new information arose, you may be eligible to file an amendment to your original claim. It is critical to have a skillful VCF attorney by your side to help you navigate the amendment process and ensure that you receive the maximum compensation to which you are 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.