The whole purpose of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) is to get money and resources into the hands of victims, responders and their families. However, given the sheer number of VCF claims and the complexities involved in processing and approving them, the wait between the filing of a claim and the receipt of compensation can often be frustrating long. It can take months or years after a claim is filed before a claim is paid.
Generally, VCF claims are reviewed in the order in which they were submitted — “first in, first out.” In September 2016, the VCF Special Master issued a statement in which she set forth the fund’s claim processing record as well as its goals for the upcoming year. The statement noted that:
- The VCF’s current priority is on reviewing claims that were submitted before August 1, 2016 when the new claim form became available. This means the VCF has prioritized claims that have been waiting longer before beginning review of newer submissions.
- The VCF expected to decide by the end of 2016 all compensation claims for eligible claimants submitted more than two years ago (prior to August 1, 2014), and that included all of the information needed to decide compensation.
- Given its focus on processing older claims, as well as “the time and attention required to decide complicated issues of compensation (particularly where claimants seek recovery of economic losses),” the VCF may not be able to begin review of claims submitted after August 1, 2015 until early 2017.
Those with urgent circumstances are paid first once their claim is approved and payment authorized. After that, payments are made in order based on the date the claimant received notification of their award. Once payment information is given to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, it can take up to three weeks for the funds to be received in the claimant’s designated bank account.
While claimants may not have much control over the efficiency and speediness of the VCF’s claim processing procedures, there are ways to limit delays and get claims evaluated and approved faster.
A common reason for victim compensation delays is the failure to submit sufficient information and documentation with the initial application. The Special Master noted in her September 2016 statement that “just over 1,400 Group B claimants have submitted compensation claims but have not provided the necessary information to allow us to make decisions on the claims.”
Reducing delays caused by incomplete applications is just one reason that over 80% of claimants applying for VCF compensation choose to be represented by an attorney.
Let Turley, Hansen & Rosasco Help
Since the passage of the original Zadroga Act in 2010, Turley, Hansen & Rosasco has recovered over $100 million in compensation for 9/11 victims for over 1600 clients. We are the only law firm in the nation that focuses exclusively on representing victims and first responders for their 9/11 related illnesses and injuries. Please call us at 1-855-WTC-INFO (982-4636) or fill out our contact form to schedule a free claim review today.