By law, the Special Master who administers the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) must issue an annual status report outlining the fund’s activities for the previous year. The reports identify progress and any shortcomings in processing claims and awarding compensation to thousands of first-responders, recovery workers and other individuals who have suffered from cancer and other illnesses relating to the September 11th attacks.
VCF Special Master Rupa Bhattacharyya, who took over administration of the fund in 2016, issued the latest status report in February 2018. Among the issues highlighted in the report were the following:
- 2017 was the year with the largest number of claims decided since the VCF began issuing award determinations in early 2013, with initial or revised decisions issued on 7,773 claims, totaling almost $1.1 billion in awards.
- In all, the VCF has now surpassed $3.3 billion in compensation awarded, with 18,024 claims eligible for compensation as of December 31, 2017.
- As of December 31, 2017, less than 200 claims that were submitted before January 1, 2016, and that are ready for compensation review, remain to be decided.
- As part of its efforts at “revising processes and restructuring teams to maximize efficiency without compromising precision,” the VCF has updated over a dozen policies, created new forms to support accurate claim submissions, and instituted a pre-screen process to identify missing information earlier in the process and speed up claim review.
- The raw number of appeal requests in response to eligibility denials and compensation determinations decreased considerably, while the proportion of claims for which an appeal was requested that ultimately resulted in a hearing was much higher. In all, we made 476 post-appeal decisions, nearly twice the number made in 2016.
- On average, the VCF expects that it will be able to issue an award determination within 18 months of the claim being submitted with all required information, depending on the type and complexity of the claim.
- The VCF increased its outreach efforts to reach a vast population of individuals who were exposed to the toxic elements resulting from 9/11, have gotten sick, and are either not aware that their illnesses may be connected, or not aware that compensation is available.
The Special Master pledged to “continue to work closely with our partners such as the World Trade Center (“WTC”) Health Program to ensure we are doing everything possible to support those whose lives were forever changed by the events of September 11, 2001.”
Doing everything possible to support 9/11 victims as been the sole mission of Turley Hansen & Partners since shortly after the World Trade Center fell. Our extensive experience and deep commitment to 9/11 victims has resulted in the recovery of over $75 million in 9/11 victim compensation on behalf of over 1,200 clients.
To learn more about filing a claim with the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and how we can help you get the resources and compensation you need, please contact Turley Hansen today and request a FREE CLAIM REVIEW with one of our experienced 9/11 lawyers. Call 1-855-WTC-INFO (1-855-982-4636) today. We look forward to assisting you.