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I Received My VCF Award – Now What? Stay in Touch with Your Lawyer!

December 12, 2020 | Michael Barasch

From the moment we speak to a new client, foremost on our mind is making sure that they get the compensation they deserve, as quickly as possible. That is why the most gratifying moments we experience as attorneys for the 9/11 community are when we hand a 9/11 responder or survivor their Victim Compensation Fund award. Prior to the health crisis, this was usually done in person. These face-to-face meetings were critically important, because we didn’t just give our clients their awards, we also gave them essential information about their future rights.

Unlike a personal injury lawsuit, VCF claimants who receive an award do not waive their future legal rights. They can amend their claims where appropriate, and may receive additional compensation from the VCF. We want to make absolutely sure that our clients understand the circumstances that will trigger a right to additional compensation. If you received an award from the first VCF between 2001 and 2004, you are entitled to amend if you have been diagnosed with any of the 68 cancers linked to 9/11 toxins.

Due to the pandemic, we have had very few clients come to our office, and that is prudent. The 9/11 community must be especially careful to avoid getting sick. Instead, we have been mailing our clients their checks. We always include a letter explaining that there may be a right to additional compensation from the VCF in the future, but we fear that this message does not sink in quite the way that it does when we meet in person.

Therefore, we are reminding all of our clients, especially, those of you who have received your awards, that you or your family may be eligible for additional compensation for any of the following reasons:

  • You are diagnosed with a new 9/11-related illness.
  • A minor condition for which you were awarded minimal compensation progresses to the point where it interferes substantially with your life.
  • You are found disabled from employment.
    • Many responders are eligible for pension reclassification if they develop a disabling 9/11 condition like cancer.
    • Many responders and non-responders are eligible for Social Security disability if their condition prevents them from working.
    • Many private sector workers collect long-term disability due to a disabling illness.
  • Your family will be entitled to substantial compensation if you pass away due to a 9/11 condition, but there are registration deadlines and filing requirements they must meet.

We Are Your Attorneys for Life

Remember that the VCF has been fully funded and permanently extended (to 2090). So, please make sure to stay in touch with us after you receive your initial award.  Let us know if you are diagnosed with a new illness, if your employment status changes, or you are found disabled by a pension board or the Social Security Administration.  Let us know your new address if you move. We stay in touch with our clients to let them know about important 9/11 news that may affect them.  And, please let your spouse or family know to contact us if you are ever too ill to communicate with us.

The likelihood that you or your family will be entitled to additional compensation from the VCF is substantial. Thousands of our clients have received multiple awards from the VCF after we amended their claim. In order to access what you are entitled to, you must understand your rights. We will be here for you every step of the way.

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