How Do I Check My VCF Claim Status?

How Do I Check My VCF Claim Status with the help of Weisfuse & Weisfuse

The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) was established to compensate individuals who have suffered a 9/11-related health condition. Victims can claim both for economic losses such as medical expenses/lost earnings and the pain and suffering caused by the condition.

Whether seeking compensation for 9/11-related cancer or a less serious condition, claimants first need to register with the VCF. They must submit evidence, affidavits and other documentation and then await the decision from the VCF administrators — which may take some time.

You can check your VCF claim status by following the steps outlined below.

How does the VCF claims process work?

The VCF claims process generally takes over a year to complete. Claims are generally handled on a first-in, first-out basis. However, if a claimant shows proof of a terminal illness or extreme financial difficulty, the claim may be fast-tracked.

During the intervening period, many individuals would like to check the progress of their claims and so it is important to understand how the claims process works.

Once the claim has been received, VCF administrators will review it before finalizing an award decision. The precise steps are outlined below.

Step one: Register with the VCF

Those certified by the WTC Health Program can register for the VCF within two years of the most recent certification of their 9/11-related medical condition. Potential claimants can then file claims any time before the program expires. 

Family members seeking compensation after an individual has died from a 9/11-related medical condition must register within two years of the date of death.

If an individual or deceased person was not enrolled in the WTC Health Program or failed to have the 9/11 condition certified, the registration and filing deadline is October 3, 2090 (which is the VCF’s claim-filing deadline according to the most recent legislation).

Generally speaking, anyone who was exposed to the toxic dust in Manhattan between 9th September 2001 and 30th May 2002 should register with the fund as soon as possible — whether currently sick or not. A claim can be filed later.

Step two: Apply for World Trade Center Health Program benefits

The VCF provides compensation but it works alongside the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP), which is a federal program established from the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.

The program provides lifetime medical monitoring and healthcare for all 9/11 conditions as well as a process for certifying conditions as 9/11-related. This is important when filing a VCF claim because the fund is exclusively for 9-11 related health conditions. As such, the connection between a condition and 9/11 must be proven before any award is granted.

Certifying a condition with the WTCHP is an essential step when filing a VCF compensation claim as this informs the VCF administrators that the claim satisfies one of the main eligibility criteria.

Step three: File the VCF claim

To register with the VCF and file for compensation, claimants must upload evidence and submit the application in the correct format online. 

The required documentation and formats are covered in the VCF’s Regulations and its Policies and Procedures, with checklists provided to ensure that all requirements are covered before submitting the claim.

Some claimants find it easier to hire an attorney to gather documentation, draft affidavits and file the claim, ensuring that nothing is omitted from the process.

Step four: First claim review

The initial review is conducted to ensure that the documentation provided is adequate. During this process, reviewers are looking for documentation that shows:

  • Proof of the claimant’s presence at an eligible site
  • Proof that the health condition is certified 
  • Information from the WTCHP, employers and other third parties required to validate the claim

If any documentation is missing, the claimant will be contacted by administrators and asked to provide more information within 60 days.

Step five: Second claim review

The second review goes deeper to verify key aspects of the claim, checking all documentation provided and verifying the claims made. This deeper review also checks that the claimant is not the subject of a 9/11-related lawsuit. 

If documentation is missing, the claimant has 30 days from the receipt of notification to provide the missing information. Otherwise, the claim will be denied.

Step six: Receipt of the VCF award decision

Once the verification process is complete, the claimant is notified of the fund’s decision.

If the claimant is eligible for compensation, a review of the requested compensation will be conducted, including checks with employers if lost earnings are claimed and a check for existing compensation received from other programs. 

Assessing claims for pain and suffering can be more challenging but, after the process is complete, a suitable compensatory award will be decided on for the claimant. 

If administrators rule that the claim is ineligible for compensation, claimants are informed of the decision in writing. This decision can be appealed within 30 days of the date of the eligibility determination letter.

Adding new conditions to a claim

Sometimes, 9/11 responders and survivors develop symptoms of a 9-11-related illness or condition in addition to those that they have already claimed.

The new condition still requires certification but instead of filing a new application from scratch, an amendment can be submitted. Any potential award is unaffected by the number of other conditions claimed for and is, instead, based on the severity of the condition.

It should be noted that approval for a new condition claim doesn’t always guarantee additional compensation. The VCF does not share how it calculates claim awards but we do know that any compensation received from other channels is considered before an award is made.

An experienced VCF attorney can help victims calculate the value of any new claims made.

Checking Claim Status

Claimants or their attorneys can check the status of claims and, if the VCF requires more information before its decision is finalized, these requests can usually be handled by attorneys.

There are three ways to check the progress of a claim:

    1. Online — through a VCF account
    2. By calling the VCF helpline (a useful resource for any problems involving claims)
    3. By asking an attorney who assisted with the original application

The lawyers at Weisfuse & Weisfuse, LLP can assist if you have a health problem related to 9/11. To discuss your situation and learn more about how we may be able to help you, please call 332-239-2238 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

The lawyers at Weisfuse & Weisfuse, LLP can assist if you have a health problem related to 9/11. To discuss your situation and learn more about how we may be able to help you, please call 332-239-2238 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

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