The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) re-opened yesterday and is accepting new claims after a seven month hiatus. The temporary closure for new claims was necessary to comply with the new James Zadroga Reauthorization Act passed last December. The Fund is now up and running at full speed. All those with new 9/11 illnesses diagnosed since last December, or those who did not complete there claim application prior to December last year, can now file claims through a 9/11 Victim Fund attorney or directly through the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund website.
There are several important things you should know about filing a claim under the new Zadroga 9/11 Reauthorization Act:
- there is a new 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund 16 page claim form which must be used. This single form replaces two prior forms which were used to determine “eligibility” and “compensation” in different steps. The single claim form will relieve claimant’s from having to potentially appeal claims twice;
- the VCF will not begin reviewing any new claim until the application is fully complete (including any any supplementary information required in the separate appendix questions). Essentially, Fund claim attorneys and staff want to review completed applications once “soup to nuts” and not in a piecemeal process. This should streamline and quicken the pace of award determinations in the future;
- the VCF will prioritize claims for victims who are determined by the Special Master to be suffering from the most disabling physical conditions;
- non-economic (pain and suffering) damages for 9/11 related covered cancers will be capped at $250,000;
- non-economic damages for non-cancer 9/11 related conditions are capped at $90,000;
- there no longer are “minimum awards”. Previously, the minimum award amount was $10,000. This means that certain claimants with certain conditions may receive no compensation award despite having a 9/11 related illness. (Note: you should speak to a 9/11 attorney if you think you may fit into the “zero award” category. Many times, these “zero awards” may be caused by “collateral offsets”);
- for purposes of calculating economic loss, caps Annual Gross Income (“AGI”) at $200,000 for each year of loss. This may lower awards for claimant’s earning substantially more than $200,000 per year if their 9/11 illness causes a loss of income or benefits.
If you have questions about the “New 9/11 Victim Compensation Claim Form” , a 9/11 cancer compensation claim or your previously filed claim given the reopening of the VCF, call one of our 9/11 attorneys at 1-855-WTC-INFO (1-855-982-4636).