Receiving an adverse decision from the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund can be extremely frustrating. Despite the setback, it’s important to remember that you have options if you believe you are entitled to payment. The VCF guidelines allow individuals to amend or appeal their claims, but determining which process best suits your situation might be confusing.
Sections Four and Five of the VCF Policies and Procedures cover appeals and amendments, respectively. Specific guidelines are discussed for options such as:
- Appealing an eligibility determination — A claimant has 30 days to appeal a VCF eligibility decision that he or she believes was in error, possibly as to whether the medical condition in question was linked to the toxic area around the World Trade Center site. Following completion and submission of the appeals forms, a hearing can be scheduled if no additional relevant documents are available and testimony is the only way to support your belief that you are eligible for benefits.
- Appealing a compensation determination — Compensation appeals can be filed when someone has received an award that does not seem to have been calculated properly. For example, your correct income may not have been used to determine the payment amount. As with eligibility appeals, the filing must occur within 30 days of the decision letter’s receipt.
- Amending a claim when additional information arises — If new facts or materials come to light related to your claim, you can amend your VCF submission with additional information that might justify a revised award. This may include identification of a new medical condition by the World Trade Center Health Program or documentation that demonstrates your presence within Ground Zero exposure zone within between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002.
An attorney familiar with VCF rules can review the circumstances in your situation and advise you on the best remedy to pursue. However, it’s important to act quickly if you seek reverse or modify an eligibility or compensation determination.
Barasch & McGarry handles initial claims, appeals and amendment requests for victims. To schedule a free consultation with a lawyer well versed in these claims, call us at [ln::phone] or contact us online.