9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Info
What Is the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund?
Nearly 3,000 people died during the attacks on 9/11, the deadliest terrorist attack in world history. In the two-plus decades since then, the number of 9/11 first responders and the downtown workers, residents, and students who have gotten sick or have since died—after months breathing in the toxic dust, chemicals, and fumes—has continued to climb. Since the attacks, 83,764 responders and 37,710 survivors (downtown workers, residents, students and others) have enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Program, while at least 4,621 responders and non-responders have died.
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) is the federal program specifically created to assist those impacted by 9/11 and offers compensation for wage loss and pain and suffering experienced by those individuals as a result of the illnesses or the loss of a loved one.
About the VCF
Congress created the VCF in 2001, weeks after the attacks. The original intention of the VCF was to provide financial relief to those most devastated by the terror attacks. The original VCF closed in 2004.
In 2010, in response to the growing number of responders and survivors of 9/11 who were being diagnosed with severe illnesses and in need of assistance, Congress passed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, which was authorized for five years. President Barack Obama signed the measure into law early in 2011.
As a result of the Zadroga Act, another federal 9/11 benefit program—the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP)—was also created. The WTCHP not only provided those suffering from 9/11-related illnesses with the opportunity to obtain free medical treatment and monitoring of their condition but also provided a certification process of medical conditions that positively linked the 9/11 toxic exposure to a later diagnosed cancer or breathing/digestive disease.
The VCF uses the WTCHP’s list of covered conditions and the Health Program’s certification process to meet the VCF’s initial eligibility criteria for obtaining compensation. The WTCHP certification is the first step required to be eligible for compensation, in addition to the other demands of the VCF that must be met before a claim will be considered.
The Fund Gains Permanent Authorization
As the VCF was slated to expire in 2015, President Obama reauthorized it for another five years. This reauthorization, like the original program, capped the amount of non-economic (pain and suffering) claims involving cancer at $250,000 and non-economic claims for non-cancer conditions at $90,000. Economic losses were limited to an annual gross income of $200,000 for each year of loss.
Unfortunately, despite these changes, the fund’s Special Master declared in February 2019 that the VCF no longer had sufficient funds to pay all pending and projected claims.
A few months later, in July 2019, President Donald Trump signed the Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. This addendum extended the claim filing deadline to October 1st, 2090, and provided a funding mechanism to ensure that the program can continue to pay out on claims.
How the Program Works
The VCF requires those interested in filing a claim to first register with the program by their registration deadline. It is essential to understand that registration is not the filing of the claim; it is merely reserving your right to file a claim at any time before the program expires in 2090.
The registration deadline for those seeking compensation for economic losses and pain and suffering related to their 9/11-related illness must register with the program within two years of obtaining certification of a 9/11-related illness through the WTCHP.
Those seeking compensation for losing a loved one due to a 9/11-related illness must register with the program within two years of the death if the deceased was enrolled in the WTCHP and the certified illness was the cause of death.
If a claimant or a deceased loved one is or was not enrolled in the WTC Health Program (or a condition was not “certified” by the WTCHP), then the registration and filing deadline is extended to the year 2090. This seemingly long deadline does not mean that you should delay or wait. It’s been over 20 years since 9/11 and, as more time passes, it becomes even more difficult and at some point will be impossible to satisfy the VCF’s strict “proof of presence” requirement to obtain compensation.
What Types of Conditions Are Eligible for Funding?
To obtain compensation through the VCF, you must either:
- Have a condition that was certified by the WTCHP as 9/11-related; or
- Have a condition that appears on the WTCHP’s list of covered conditions and be able to prove it is 9/11-related via the private physician process if the claimant is unable to access medical treatment and monitoring services through the VCF.
- Meet the other requirements of the VCF as set forth in the Federal Regulations and Policies and Procedures, including establishing proof of presence and the completion of the 20 page claim form plus the balance of the other required federal forms and exhibits.
While the WTCHP provides benefits for 9/11-related mental health conditions and physical conditions, only physical conditions are eligible to obtain funding through the VCF.
These conditions include:
- Acute traumatic injuries such as burns, fractures, head trauma, and tendon tears
- Aerodigestive disorders refer to conditions affecting the respiratory or digestive systems, such as asthma, chronic cough syndrome, chronic rhinosinusitis, gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and sleep apnea.
- Cancers, including those involving the blood and lymphatic system, breast (both female and male), digestive system including the colon and rectum, eye and orbit, ovary, prostate, respiratory system (including the lung and bronchus), skin, thyroid, and urinary system.
- Also covered: Mesothelioma, childhood cancers, and certain rare cancers.
As mentioned, claimants with cancer can seek up to $250,000 for pain and suffering associated with their 9/11-related illness. Those with non-cancer conditions can seek up to $90,000 in non-economic pain and suffering damages.
Other Eligibility Criteria for the VCF
In addition to registering before the deadline and showing through the WTCHP certification process or the private physician process that you suffer from a covered 9/11-related physical illness, other eligibility criteria for filing a claim include:
- Dismissing or settling any 9/11-related lawsuits by the appropriate deadline.
- Proof that you were at one of the terror attack sites between September 11th, 2001, and May 30th, 2002.
- For deceased claims, proof that you are authorized to seek compensation and that the decedent’s death resulted from a 9/11 illness by showing a death certificate that lists the eligible condition as either the cause of death or a contributing factor to it
Filing a Claim
When you have gathered all the necessary documentation and completed the required information for your claim, you can either submit it online or submit a paper claim through mail or fax. An experienced 9/11 benefits attorney can assist you in ensuring that you have all the documentation needed when you submit the claim.
The Review Process
The review process of submitted VCF claims involves:
- The preliminary review involves program administrators ensuring you have included all necessary information to decide on the claim. If you forgot to include some of the required documentation when you submitted the claim, the VCF will notify you and your attorney and place the claim in inactive status until it receives all needed documentation. If you fail to submit the missing information within 60 days of receiving your notification, the VCF can deny your claim and will only consider it if you amend it to include the missing information and resubmit it.
- The substantive review. This is when VCF administrators look over the documentation, ensuring that you filed the claim by your registration deadline and that you have a 9/11-related medical condition. Additionally, the administrators will review your proof of presence documentation to ensure that you are eligible for funding due to your presence in the Lower Manhattan exposure zone on or in the months that followed 9/11. If you don’t include the required information with your claim, the administrators will send you a missing information notification. However, you only have 30 days from receiving the letter to send that information to the program this time. Failure to do so will result in administrators’ information determining your claim.
- The VCF renders an eligibility decision and sends you and your attorney a letter explaining the review’s outcome. If the VCF denies your eligibility to receive compensation, it will provide you with information about how to appeal the decision if you wish. Your claim will move to the compensation review if your eligibility is approved.
- The compensation review involves reviewing the compensation information you included with your claim, such as the losses you have incurred due to your illness. If you are seeking compensation for wage loss, this requires additional proof of losses and the value of any employer-provided benefits. Again, if the information is missing, you will be notified and have 30 days to submit it. Failing to do so will result in decisions based on the available information.
- Determination of economic and non-economic losses. The VCF calculates each award individually. Complex claims will usually take more time to review. The VCF will determine your non-economic losses based on the severity of your injury and the condition you suffer from (cancer on non-cancer). The VCF calculates your economic losses, if claimed, including past and future wage losses. The VCF will calculate your collateral offsets when determining the total amount of your award. Collateral offsets are the different financial assistance you receive for your illness, such as Social Security Disability Insurance, pensions, workers’ compensation benefits, or life insurance. You are required to report this assistance, and the VCF can reduce your award to account for benefits you receive from other programs.
- Award notification. Once the program administrators have determined the amount of your award, The VCF will notify and provide you with a 30-day window to appeal the amount of the award if you feel it incorrectly calculated your damages. If you do not appeal, the VCF authorizes payment within 20 days. If you appeal, the VCF authorizes payment after it decides your appeal, oftentime years later.
- Once the VCF authorizes payment, it should disperse the funds to the account you listed on the payment authorization form you completed and submitted with your claim.
How Long Does the Claims Process Take?
The VCF administrators have put effort into shortening the time it takes to review a claim. In most cases, claim reviews occur on a first-in, first-out basis. However, if a claimant is suffering a terminal illness or facing extreme financial hardship, their attorney can assist them in getting an expedited review.
Currently, most claims take slightly over a year to pass through all of the steps in the review process. One of the main ways to quicken the pace of the review process is by ensuring that you have all the information needed to evaluate your claim included with the submission.
Do You Need an Attorney to File a VCF Claim?
The VCF does not require claimants to obtain legal counsel to file a claim. However, the documentation you must submit with your claim is extensive, and many claimants find the process of obtaining these documents overwhelming.
An attorney brings the benefit of experience with the process to your claim, ensuring that you have all the documentation needed for program administrators to consider your claim in its entirety.
Your lawyer’s attention to detail can help avoid having your claim placed in the inactive status or the denial of your claim because of missing information or having the status of your claim determined based on incomplete information.
Your attorney can also assist with the appeal if you disagree with the eligibility and award determinations. They can assist you in adding new conditions to your claim through an amendment, which can result in additional compensation in many cases.
Finally, your attorney can review other programs that can assist you in dealing with the impacts of your 9/11-related illness, including applying for the WTCHP or seeking benefits through other programs such as Social Security Disability or workers’ compensation.
While participating in these programs can sometimes amount to a collateral offset that will reduce your award. Having an experienced benefits attorney review these potential impacts and consider your needs can help you create a strategy for obtaining the most available benefits.
For more information about obtaining compensation through the VCF, contact a 9/11 benefits attorney today.
- Could your disabling breathing condition have been caused by 9/11?
- Did you lose a loved one to a 9/11-related cancer?
- Are you facing cancer or illness after being present in Lower Manhattan after 9/11?
Unfortunately, your disabling illness or cancer may have been caused by breathing in the toxic chemicals and gases in the months that followed 9/11. No doubt you remember the thick dust cloud that hung over the city and the jet fuel fires that raged for 90 days. Residents, students, and workers in Lower Manhattan breathed in this toxic air containing more than 2,500 contaminants. Why? Because the EPA officials, as well as city and state officials told them it was safe. They assured the public that there was no cause for concern. They were wrong.
In the years that passed, more than 2,000 individuals have died because of 9/11-related illnesses and cancers. Thousands more suffer in silence with respiratory conditions, gastric issues, and cancers – unaware that 9/11 caused their suffering.
Even if you were not there when the Twin Towers fell, you may still be eligible for compensation.
But how do you know if you qualify?
During this difficult and stressful time, it is important to speak to a 9/11 VCF attorney at Hansen & Rosasco, LLP. Our attorneys can help you determine what funds and benefits you may qualify for. We will handle everything from start to finish to take some of the burdens off of you.
With over 60 years of combined experience representing injured and disabled clients, the 9/11 lawyers at Hansen & Rosasco, LLP have recovered almost $400 million for our clients from the VCF. We are proud of both the individual financial case results and the personal relationships we make while handling their claims.
If you have questions about your eligibility, contact the 9/11 lawyers at Hansen & Rosasco, LLP today at (855-839-2947) for a FREE claim evaluation. We’ll listen, advocate for you with the Federal government, and make sure you get the maximum compensation for your 9/11-related illness. Let us take care of all the paperwork and claim filing so that you can concentrate on your health.
Our 9/11 VCF Lawyers Can Help You
The CDC reports that more than 400,000 people were present in the Exposure Zone during 9/11. The VCF Exposure Zone includes the Lower Manhattan area below Canal Street, west to the Hudson River, and east below Clinton Street to the East River. However, only 25 percent of people who may qualify have enrolled in the programs. That means that 300,000 people who lived, worked, or went to school in Lower Manhattan on or after 9/11 may qualify for financial compensation and medical benefits and not even realize it!
Are you one of them?
At Hansen & Rosasco, LLP, our 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund attorneys have dedicated our entire practice to helping injured 9/11 survivors, first responders, New York residents and their families. We can quickly evaluate your case to determine if you qualify for VCF compensation.
Since the VCF is fully funded until the year 2090, you do not have to worry about taking money from first responders. There is enough to ensure that everyone who suffered from 9/11 gets the help and compensation they deserve.
In addition, you do not have to live in New York to obtain compensation and benefits. In fact, many people who were present in Lower Manhattan after 9/11 have since moved to other parts of the country. We can help you no matter where you now live because we are familiar with the VCF process and the ways through the legal and governmental red tape.
While past success does not guarantee future success with your case, we have helped countless people across the country get VCF compensation after a 9/11 related illness.
Here are some of our past results:
- $3.4 million for a downtown Manhattan profession with breast cancer
- $3.4 million for a Wall Street professional with cancer
- $3.2 million for a police officer with colon cancer
- $3.0 million for a spouse of a Wall Street broker who died from multiple myeloma
- $3.0 million for a spouse of a banker who died
- $2.2 million for a NYPD Sergeant with brain cancer
- $2.1 million for a police officer with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder
When you choose Hansen & Rosasco as your 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund law firm, you can rest easy knowing you have VCF lawyers on the front lines who have dedicated their lives to helping victims of 9/11 and their families. We were here in New York City when the Twin Towers fell, and we never left. Our law team has personally experienced the devastation that followed after the attacks. In the years that passed, we have lost loved ones and family members and have seem them get sick with various 9/11 diseases, including all types of 9/11-caused cancers. We know the pain family members feel because we have felt it personally. This isn’t just a job for us. It is our life’s mission. It is our passion. When you choose the Hansen & Rosasco, LLP team to help you through the VCF process, you have a team of qualified and compassionate professionals who will fight for you personally every step of the way. It is this commitment that makes us so successful and a reason why so many 9/11 victims and families choose us to represent them in their darkest hours.
VCF Program Statistics
Uncategorized Compensation Determinations
9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Benefits
The VCF provides tax-free compensation for any individual, or family of any deceased individual, who was diagnosed with any of nearly 70 types of 9/11 cancer types and related conditions, including breathing or digestive problems as a result of exposure to 9/11 toxins, such as the dust and fumes, in Lower Manhattan. The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund awards vary based on different illnesses and conditions.
The VCF registration and application process is difficult. It is made even harder by a complex system of federal regulations, combined with ever-changing 9/11 laws. At Hansen & Rosasco, LLP, our 9/11 VCF lawyers know the fastest way to go through the VCF process, so we can get you the compensation you need as quickly as possible.
On average, a VCF claim can take between 16 and 17 months to process before an award is issued. That is because the VCF reviews claims in order – first come, first served. However, there are ways to expedite the process if you suffer from a terminal condition, and we know how to do just that. At Hansen & Rosasco, LLP, we can establish the necessary criteria quickly and have your case expedited if you suffer from a life-threatening or terminal condition.
We have helped our clients collect millions for their disabling breathing conditions, cancers, and medical illnesses. Our legal team doesn’t back down at the first sign of difficulty. We work tirelessly to explore every option possible to bring you the relief you deserve. From getting your medical condition certified to helping you through the appeals process, we will be in your corner fighting for you at every turn.
Important Information About the Victim Compensation Fund
- Coverage & Eligibility
- WTC Health Program Information
- “Pain & Suffering” Damages
- Wrongful Death
- Economic Loss Damages
- Claims Procedures
- Social Security Disability Claims for 9/11 Victims
- Appeals & Amendments
- Where Can I Get Medical Treatment for My 9/11 Cancer & Illnesses?
- Why You Need an Attorney