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Will the VCF Award Additional Compensation if Your Condition Worsens?


A 9/11-related illness or cancer can have a major impact on your life and livelihood. The impact can be even more significant if your health condition worsens — or you’ve been diagnosed with multiple conditions linked to the post-attack toxic dust cloud. If you’re a responder or survivor, you may be entitled to recover compensation from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund for your 9/11-related illnesses. However, it’s important to understand how a VCF award is calculated and the circumstances under which filing an amendment can result in additional compensation.

Can Your VCF Award Be Increased If Your Condition Worsens?

Unfortunately, the physical effects of many 9/11 illnesses can worsen and become more debilitating over time. If your 9/11-related health condition has substantially worsened since you received your initial VCF award, you may be entitled to file an amendment to your claim to obtain additional compensation. Regardless of whether several years have passed since you were issued compensation, you can amend your claim under certain circumstances, including the following:

  • Your certified condition significantly worsened since you received your award
  • You have new information that was not included in your original claim that would increase the amount of your award
  • You are seeking out-of-pocket medical expenses totaling over $5,000

In most cases, being diagnosed with an additional 9/11 illness after you’ve received compensation will not change the amount of your VCF award. But if the WTC Health Program has certified you with a new cancer condition, and the condition upon which your award was based was a non-cancer, you might consider filing an amendment to your claim.

Amending your VCF claim to add a non-cancer condition to a claim where compensation was based on a cancer typically won’t change the award amount — unless the new condition is one that is recognized as “presumptively severe and debilitating” by the Special Master. Such conditions are compensated at $340,000, which is the highest allowable amount for non-economic loss. Presumptively severe conditions identified by the VCF can include emphysema, interstitial lung disease, asbestosis, and sarcoidosis.

How Does the VCF Calculate an Award If You Have Multiple 9/11 Health Conditions?

Seventy percent of the responders and survivors who have enrolled in the WTC Health Program have been diagnosed with two or more health conditions in connection with inhaling the toxins in the NYC Exposure Zone. However, it’s essential to understand that the VCF does not issue awards based on the number of conditions certified by the Program. It bases compensation for non-economic loss on the type of condition, the severity of each condition, and how the condition impacts a claimant’s life.

Under the Zadroga Act, the amount of compensation for non-economic loss that is issued for a non-cancer condition can range from $10,000 to $90,000. The highest award that can be issued for a cancer condition is $250,000. In limited cases, where multiple conditions have been diagnosed, the Special Master has the discretion to exceed the statutory caps. Specifically, the highest amount that can be awarded for multiple severe conditions is $340,000 under the statute.

Contact an Experienced New York City 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Attorney

If you are a responder or survivor who suffers from a 9/11-related health condition, you may be entitled to receive compensation from the VCF. It’s critical to have a skillful VCF attorney who can help 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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