New Deadline to File Victim Compensation Fund Claims
Responders and Families Who Missed Prior Deadlines Now Have Until 2021 to File a Claim
The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) recently announced important new rules that will no doubt affect thousands of people in the 9/11 community. The VCF has stringent filing deadline requirements. Injury claims must be filed within two years of certification by the WTC Health Program and families must file wrongful death claims within two years of the victim’s death. Because many victims and widows were unaware of these deadlines, they either missed their time to file a claim or they never even filed a claim. The VCF has now opened a window for those victims and their families to bring claims. Here is what you should know:
• If you were found ineligible by the VCF because you filed your claim after the filing deadline, you now have the right to pursue your claim.
• If you have an appeal pending because you were denied compensation based upon timeliness, that appeal is no longer necessary, and will be cancelled. Your claim will be reconsidered and likely be found eligible if you meet other requirements such as being able to prove that you were in the exposure zone.
• If you did not file a VCF claim because your claim would have been untimely, you may now bring that claim.
• The window for these previously time-barred claims is July 29, 2021. It applies to sick and injured victims, as well as to families who have lost loved ones.
By way of example, last year we were contacted by the widow of a Wall Street trader whose husband died of pancreatic cancer in 2009. We were heartbroken to tell her that there was a strict 2-year deadline to file a claim on behalf of someone who died from a 9/11 illness. There was nothing we could do for her or her family. But thanks to the VCF’s new regulation, imagine how happy this woman was to learn that we could now make a claim on behalf of her and her three young children! Her family will now receive a $1 million-plus VCF award for his pain and suffering, his death, and lost income. We have reached out to the families of dozens of other 9/11 victims whose claims were previously ineligible because of the strict 2-year deadline. We are incredibly grateful to the VCF’s Special Master for extending the registration deadline for the families who lost a spouse, parent, or child.
Another happy example of how this new regulation has changed the lives of so many people in the 9/11 community is our client Kevin S. who was a NYC firefighter. Kevin was certified by the Health Program for his cancer in 2014, but he wanted to focus on his health rather than his legal rights. By the time he called us in 2018, it was well past the 2-year deadline to file a VCF claim. We had to break the tough news to him that he was not eligible. Thanks to the new extension, he is now eligible to receive $250,000 for his kidney cancer. More importantly, he is in remission and doing well!
There are many people who never applied to the VCF at all, because the attorneys they initially consulted told them that they were too late. We are reaching out to the hundreds of people who we know who fit into this category and we urge everyone who never submitted a claim (and the families whose loved one passed away and never filed a claim) to do so immediately.
Please help us to spread the word.
And, as always, please call us if you have any questions. 212-385-8000.