In January of this year, the first September 11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) appeal hearings were held in New York City. Rulings on claims and appeals hearings are finally underway.
For victims of 9/11, the wait for compensation has been trying. After filing a claim and required documentation, many victims have waited years for their claims to be decided.
In recent months, decisions on VCF claims have increased and access to information about claims has improved. Evidence of improvement includes the following:
- By January of this year, 323 claim awards were made, an improvement on the 112 claims decided by November, 2013.
- Conference calls between the VCF and counsel for claimants are held twice weekly. These calls facilitate exchange of information needed to process claims efficiently.
According to Special Master Sheila Birnbaum, individuals whose claims are denied or feel their compensation is inadequate may appeal. The January hearings were held in front of the Special Master or the Deputy Special Master. The proceedings are conducted by Hearing Officers and recorded. Claimants participate by phone or in person.
Since the reactivation of the fund, claimants have been notified of awards totaling $135 million. Because of fund regulations, recipients are paid only 10 percent of their awards at the outset. If funding is insufficient to cover all claims, each award is to be prorated based on the amount of money ultimately available for payout.
Skilled legal assistance helps usher your claim through the VCF process. If you have questions about an appeal or a compensation claim, speak with an experienced 9/11 attorney in New York City.