The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) provides valuable support and compensation for victims of that horrible day as well as for their families. But to obtain compensation you must submit a claim, and that claim needs to be submitted and registered within strict deadlines established by the Fund. You may have a well-supported and ironclad claim for compensation, but if you wait too long, your ability to obtain money you would have otherwise been entitled to will be lost.
A two-year deadline applies to most VCF claims. Generally, that two-year period starts running on the “Registration Start Date,” which is the date on which a claimant knew or reasonably should have known:
- that they suffered a physical harm because of the 9/11 attacks, or debris removal in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, and
- that they were eligible to file a claim with the VCF.
When determining the date on which you knew or should have known that you were eligible to file a claim with the VCF, the VCF will use the date on which a federal, state, or local government entity determined that your physical injury or medical condition was 9/11-related. This means the date that either:
- the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) “certified” a cancer or other condition, or
- the date that a state workers’ compensation board or a government employer (such as the FDNY, NYPD, or NYCERS) found a condition as 9/11-related for purposes of awarding a disability pension.
For claimants who are being treated through the WTC Health Program, the Registration Start Date is based on the earlier of the following two dates:
- the date of the letter from the WTCHP indicating that the individual’s 9/11- related physical injury or condition has been certified for treatment (the “WTC Health Program Certification Letter”), or
- the date on which another government entity determined that the physical injury or condition was 9/11-related.
For individuals not being treated through the WTC Health Program, the Registration Start Date is the earlier of:
- the date on which a government entity determined that the physical injury or condition was 9/11-related, or
- the date on which the individual’s physical injury or condition is verified through the VCF’s Private Physician process.
To make matters more confusing, different deadlines apply for different illnesses and injuries, and those deadlines are also variable depending on whether the Registration Start Date was before or after a date specified by the VCF. You can see a complete chart of all VCF claim filing deadlines on page 8 of the VCF’s Policies and Procedures.
Of course, individuals may be diagnosed with more than one 9/11-related condition, and months or years may pass between those separate diagnoses. Under VCF policy, if you filed your registration on time for any condition or injury, all eligible conditions no matter when determined to be 9/11-related (and regardless of whether there had been a prior timely registration) may be considered for an award, subject to other VCF requirements.
If you have questions or concerns regarding 9/11 victim compensation claims or VCF registration and claim filing deadlines, please call Turley, Hansen & Rosasco, LLP at 1-855-WTC-INFO (982-4636) or fill out our contact form to schedule a free claim review today.