This depends. The VCF generally prioritizes claims on the basis of when they received them, meaning they try to address older claims first before moving onto newer ones. The process is sometimes expedited, however, when the victim is critically ill or destitute. If you or a loved one is suffering from a critical illness related to 9/11, or you have received a mortgage foreclosure or eviction notice, we can ask the VCF to expedite your award and payment.
Most other claims simply get added to the queue. The program recently announced that they are working to shorten the timeframe between when a claim is submitted and when a decision is made. Their goal is to issue determinations within one year of receiving a claim form or amendment, but as of now the time frame from submitting a claim to receiving an award is 15-18 months. This is in part because the VCF received a huge number of claims in 2018 and 2019, as people worried that the VCF might permanently close at the end of 2020. The VCF says that claims submitted in late 2017 should soon be receiving award decisions, while claims submitted in early 2018 are “under review.” Claims submitted in mid-2018 should come “under review” by Fall, 2020.
If this seems like a long time, keep in mind that VCF claims take a while to review, in part because each claim is individually calculated. Especially complex claims can take quite a while to work out, especially if the victim is deceased, and the program sometimes has to wait for information from third parties about the other benefits the victim or family may have received.
To compare, most personal-injury lawsuits take 3+ years from the date a lawsuit is filed until trial.