Congress created the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) to compensate people who suffered physical harm due to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and/or the subsequent debris removal. The original VCF operated from 2001 to 2004, but the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 reactivated the VCF in October 2011 for a period of five years, and a 2016 law reauthorizing the Zadroga Act also allows individuals to submit VCF claims until December 18, 2020. Recently, Rupa Bhattacharyya, the Special Master of the VCF, released a message on the progress made in dispersing the funds Congress has allocated.
Here are a few highlights of the Special Master’s statement:
- VCF has made more than 15,500 compensation determinations amounting to more than $2.48 billion.
- At the end of 2016, nearly 2,500 claims submitted in 2015 or earlier were still pending.
- As of the date of the statement, about 35 percent of those pending claims had been determined.
- VCF is on track to determine all pending claims from 2015 or earlier by the end of 2017.
As for claims submitted in 2016 and 2017:
- A little more than 3,000 compensation claims with approved eligibility are pending.
- Another 3,700 claims are awaiting eligibility review.
- Another 2,500 compensation amendments are pending.
Ms. Bhattacharyya declined to give an estimate of when these claims might be determined, but she cited improvements in the process as a basis for hoping claims could be resolved “as promptly, accurately, and fairly as possible.”
At Barasch & McGarry, we work closely with claimants who urgently need this compensation. For our clients, lost time means lost money. Although any progress in the allocation of funds is welcome, we urge the Special Master to do everything humanly possible to shorten waiting times for VCF claimants.
If you have questions about your eligibility for Zadroga Act benefits, contact the experienced attorneys who have represented 9/11 survivors from the outset. Call Barasch & McGarry at [ln::phone] or contact our office online.