The purpose of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) is to provide money to individuals and families who suffer from 9/11-related injuries or health conditions. However, those same conditions can also be the basis for compensation and benefits from sources other than the VCF, such as Social Security Disability, workers’ compensation, and life insurance policies. Under the law, the VCF must offset, or deduct, payments received from most, but not all, such “collateral sources” when calculating a VCF compensation award.
For VCF purposes, collateral source payments include payments that the victim, or a deceased victim’s estate or beneficiaries, receive or are entitled to receive as a result of the victim’s 9/11-related injury or death. Examples of collateral source payments include:
- Life insurance
- Disability or death benefits (may be in the form of a pension)
- Disability insurance payments
- Death benefits programs
- Payments by federal, state, or local governments (e.g. Social Security disability benefits, workers’ compensation benefits/VA benefits)
- Settlement payments from lawsuits for damages sustained as a result 9/11
Collateral source payments do not include:
- The value of services or in-kind charitable gifts such as provision of emergency housing, food, or clothing
- Donations from privately funded charitable entities
- Federal tax benefits received as a result of the Victims of Terrorism Tax Relief Act.
You have an obligation when applying for VCF compensation to report all collateral source payments you have received or are expecting to receive. When evaluating whether and how much of any such payments will be deducted from your VCF award, the Special Master will consider many factors, including:
- Whether the particular offsets fall within the definition of collateral sources;
- Whether beneficiaries of the VCF award are “entitled” to receive compensation from those collateral sources;
- Whether the collateral source compensation is certain or can be computed with sufficient certainty to enable its deduction while ensuring that beneficiaries receive the full amount of compensation that is appropriate; and
- The appropriate amount of the compensation that should be deducted, taking into account the time value of money and contributions made by the injured victim or decedent in the nature of investment or savings.
Collateral source offsets do not include monies or other investments in the injured victim’s or decedent’s 401(k) accounts, nor do they include any disability payments for conditions that are not eligible under the VCF.
Not only must you inform the VCF of collateral source payments when you submit your initial application, but you also have an ongoing obligation to report any new collateral source payments you receive, or become entitled to receive, after your claim has been filed – including after any award has been determined or paid – until the VCF closes on December 18, 2020. You will need to complete the VCF’s Collateral Offset Update Form in such a case.
If you have questions about how collateral source payments may affect your 9/11 compensation claim, please contact the experienced 9/11 attorneys at Turley, Hansen & Rosasco. We are the only law firm in the nation that focuses exclusively on representing victims, first responders, and recovery workers 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. We look forward to assisting you and your family.