Sadly, it is not uncommon for the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund (VCF) to deny eligible claims for compensation or issue an award for a substantially smaller amount than it should be. There are many reasons why 9/11 compensation claims are denied. Often, the failure of the claimant to submit a complete application or provide necessary supporting documentation will lead to a denial or disappointing award. Fortunately, VCF rules allow for adverse decisions to be appealed. But 9/11 claim appeals can be complicated. Having an experienced 9/11 attorney on your side when completing your initial application can reduce the likelihood of denial and increase your chances of getting the compensation you deserve.
30 Days to Appeal a VCF Award
First, it is important to note that there is a very limited time period within which a VCF award can be appealed. Your determination letter will also contain an appeal form. That appeal form must be filed within 30 days of the decision letter. If you fail to file an appeal within the required 30-day period, you will waive your right to appeal that determination and the VCF will begin processing any applicable payment on your claim.
Payment of Any Award Will Be Delayed If Appealed
It is also important to understand that if you file a compensation appeal, you will not be paid until the appeal is resolved. If you appeal a finding that you were not eligible for 9/11 compensation, the VCF will not begin its review of your claim until after a decision is made on your appeal. The only circumstance in which your claim will be paid while your appeal is pending is if you been approved for expedited status.
After receiving your completed appeal form, the VCF will send you a letter with your assigned hearing date and time along with other details about your hearing. Once the VCF has assigned your hearing date and time, it will not be changed except in extraordinary circumstances. Arrangements for appearance via video or phone conference can be arranged when necessary.
Hearings are conducted by qualified individuals who have been trained expressly to hear VCF claim appeals. There is no set time length for hearings, but they usually take less than an hour. At the hearing, you are allowed, but not required, to present witnesses, including expert witnesses, who testify under oath to support the arguments you are making in your appeal. You should, but do not have to, have an attorney representing you at the hearing. After the hearing, the VCF’s Special Master will review the information presented at the hearing and will then issue a decision, including a letter explaining the basis for the decision.
If you need assistance appealing your VCF compensation claim, the experienced and committed 9/11 attorneys at Turley, Hansen & Rosasco can help. Please call us today at 1-855-WTC-INFO (1-855-982-4636) or fill out our contact form to arrange for your free 9/11 claim evaluation. We look forward to assisting you.