As hundreds of new claims pour into the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund each month, the total number of people seeking eligibility now exceeds 50,000. Approximately half of these applicants have had their claims approved. The July 29, 2019 signing of the Never Forget the Heroes Act permanently authorized the VCF and brought new attention to the program and its benefits.
The VCF was revived in 2011 to assist first responders, area residents and local workers who developed cancer or other aliments due to to their proximity to the World Trade Center site. Since then, the VCF has been required to report on the claims it has handled. The most recent report, capturing data through June 30, 2019, includes these details:
- Eligibility claims — Of the 50,730 eligibility claims that have been filed, more than 16,000 are still in progress. This highlights the importance of the permanent authorization, because more than $5.2 billion of the existing $7.3 billion allocation have been used. Approximately 1,300 claims were denied and 3,381 were ruled ineligible because required information was not submitted.
- Compensation claims — After someone has qualified for VCF benefits, the amount of their compensation must be calculated. Halfway through the current year, 820 of these claims are in the compensation review process. About 23,000 claimants have received their initial award decisions. More than 9,000 have appealed the decision or have sought to amend their claims.
- Deceased claims — While the vast majority of claims relate to personal injuries, 1,085 cases stemming from fatalities have been approved. With many exposure victims suffering with late-stage cancer, this number has grown substantially. There were 53 decisions on deceased compensation claims in June alone.
Research continues into the connection between harmful contaminants in the World Trade Center area and serious physical problems. Now that the filing deadline has been extended and funding has been secured for decades into the future, we can expect the claim totals to keep rising.
Barasch & McGarry advocates on behalf of first responders, office workers, students, residents and survivors who suffer from 9/11-related ailments because they worked or lived near Ground Zero. To make an appointment for a free consultation, please call [ln::phone] or contact us online.