After the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) determines that you are eligible for an award, you have the right to accept the amount awarded or appeal if you believe the amount is inadequate. If you accept the award, you receive an initial payment within 20 days from your acceptance date.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) explains that the VCF does not pay your full award in the initial payment. The reason for partially paid awards is to ensure that every claimant entitled to an award receives some amount of payment.
The Zadroga Act dictates the following:
- First payments are portions of the total award amount
- How large a payment you receive depends on the amount of your total award ─ the larger the award, the larger the first payment
- Other determining factors are the total number of claimants and total allocation amount that the VCF has available for awards
- The greatest portion of the payment that claimants receive is at the close of the program
The VCF has $875 million to award during the first five years of the program. Therefore, claimants can expect their first payment to be far less than the total amount awarded.
Final payment disbursements occur during 2016 and 2017. To work with the funding cap under the Zadroga Act, and pay all claimants, the VCF may resort to pro-rating payments.
As in any other legal action, working with an experienced attorney can help you protect your rights. The experienced Zadroga Act attorneys at Barasch & McGarry is aware of the challenges you face and can help you recover deserved compensation through your VCF claim.