As many claimants continue to await payments from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, some ailing first responders and other victims are becoming increasingly desperate because they need the payments for their medical bills and living expenses. Some companies have responded to this need by offering to float advance payment of VCF benefits to victims with apparently valid claims. But not all of these companies are legitimate, and even those that are may extract higher fees than you realize.
This type of arrangement is common in civil litigation. Many companies offer to make immediate payments to personal injury plaintiffs in exchange for some or all of their eventual settlements. Some companies are now offering the same service to VCF claimants. It is important to keep in mind that these arrangements are not endorsed or approved by the special master of the Victim Compensation Fund or any federal agency.
If you are considering seeking an advance on your expected VCF payment, be cautious. Before signing on for such arrangement, do your research and learn the facts:
- Make sure the company is legitimate
- Know the amount of the VCF benefits you are likely to receive, so you can understand how much the advance actually costs
- Make sure you won’t have to pay back the advance if your claim ultimately is denied
- Make sure you won’t have to pay back any shortfall if your VCF benefits turn out to be less than your advance
If you are a VCF claimant who needs to consider an advance on your benefits, our Zadroga Act lawyers can help you determine whether the lender is legitimate and its fees are reasonable.