The recently enacted extension of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund helps not only individuals who have yet to file a claim but also those who were previously denied due to late filings. Under the previous rules, family members of people who died of a Ground Zero-related illness had only two years from the date of death to seek relief from the VCF. This hard deadline prevented worthy claimants from collecting the substantial compensation that they were entitled to, potentially costing some individual claimants more than a million dollars.
Now, under the revised VCF rules, these bereaved families have been given a second chance. Here is what you need to know regarding the change and how it affects people whose earlier claims for benefits were time-barred:
- Two-year look-back period — Under the VCF permanent reauthorization law, family members have a two-year look-back period in which their claims will now be accepted and reviewed, including claims were that were earlier rejected because of lateness. This means that applications can be submitted through July 29, 2021 regardless of when the victim passed away.
- Appeals related to lateness canceled — Some denied claimants filed appeals with the VCF, asserting they had legitimate reasons for not submitting the necessary materials in a timely manner. Survivors might not have been aware of the relief that was available or that the cause of their family members’ deaths was associated with exposure to the Ground Zero site. Now that these previously excluded claimants can obtain compensation through the normal review process, their pending appeals have been canceled. However, they must take timely action to file new claims.
- Exposure zone and dates — VCF claimants must meet additional eligibility requirements, whether or not they filed earlier applications. The victim must have been within the area of Lower Manhattan south of Canal Street between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002 and suffered physical harm associated with the attack, rescue, recovery or cleanup of the World Trade Center site.
During the period in which the VCF has been in force, additional illnesses have been linked to 9/11 exposure. A proven lawyer who has handled such claims can clear up any questions you have about whether a certain medical condition qualifies or any other related issue.
Barasch & McGarry advises victims of 9/11 illnesses and their families on Victim Compensation Fund matters and other types of benefits available to them. For a free consultation with one of our accomplished New York City attorneys, please call 888-351-9421 or contact us online.