The VCF has a few restrictions around “timely filing,” which is the amount of time that they allow to pass between a claimant learning of a diagnosis and filing with the fund. Recently, because so many people were not aware they qualified for the fund, the VCF updated their policy on timeliness to make it more expansive and allow the many people who just learned of their eligibility a chance to participate.
According to the new regulations, any claim that is filed within two years of July 29th, 2019 – the date the VCF was permanently extended – will be considered timely. That means that every claim currently on file is considered timely, as will be any claim filed before July 29th, 2021. Any claims that were denied over timeliness issues in the past will be identified by the fund, which will contact claimants to let them know that their claim is being reconsidered. The new policy applies retroactively to all claims. It addresses concerns about claimants who missed prior deadlines because they didn’t know that the VCF existed or was available to them (many survivors mistakenly think that the WTCHP and the VCF are only for responders), or did not know that their illness (or the death of their loved one) was related to 9/11 exposure.
If your claim is in the middle of an appeals process that only related to its timeliness, your hearing will be cancelled but your claim will be reactivated. Hearings related to eligibility because of both timely filing issues and another eligibility issue will continue to be scheduled or take place as planned, but the basis for the hearing will be only the other eligibility issues raised, not the filing deadlines.
To avoid coming up against any timely filing issues in the future, we recommend registering with the VCF, whether or not you are currently sick. Doing so does not require you to waive any rights.