Victim Compensation Fund Update
As America approaches the 20th anniversary of the horrific events of September 11, 2001, we want to provide you with an update on a key aspect of the Federal September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). The White Plains accident lawyers at Worby Vecchio Edelman through its predecessor firm represented over 10,000 First Responders and rescue workers resulting from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and we are proudly continuing our representation twenty years later.
The legislation which created the current Fund is known by many names, perhaps most popularly the “Zadroga” Act. James Zadroga was one of many First Responders who died of 9/11 related respiratory illnesses. The Fund was permanently reauthorized in 2019; the deadline to submit a claim to the Fund is October 1, 2090. That deadline is the same for everyone, regardless of when a particular injury was diagnosed, or any other factor. However, the deadline to register with the VCF is not the same for everyone.
Registering with the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF)
“Registering” with the VCF is a different process than “submitting” a claim to the VCF. Registering with the VCF preserve one’s right to submit a future claim. The difference between these two processes has been the source of much confusion to our clients, so we take this opportunity to review the process.
You may have read or heard many reports in the media or online that the time to register with the VCF expired on July 29, 2021, but that is only partially true. That deadline applied to only two classes of victims. The first set of victims to which that registration deadline applied was those who were certified by the World Trade Center Health Program for a 9/11 related physical health condition before July 29, 2019. The second set of victims to which that registration deadline applied was an individual whom it is believed died of a 9/11 related physical health condition before July 19, 2019.
VCF Registration Deadlines
While the registration deadline may have passed for the above two classes of victims, there are many others who lived, worked, went to school, or were otherwise present in the World Trade Center Zone (generally defined as Manhattan, south of Canal Street), during the required time period (September 11, 2001 to May 30, 2002) who have not been certified by or even admitted to the World Trade Center Health Program. For those individuals, the registration deadline is two years after the date of certification. Further, the deadline to register for any person whom it is believed has died of a 9/11 related illness is two years from the date of death.
We re-emphasize that registering with the VCF is different than submitting or filing a claim with the VCF. For that reason, the VCF encourages anyone who could possibly have a 9/11 related illness to register, even if you are not currently under treatment. You are under no further obligation to actually submit a claim, even after you register.
Over the last year the VCF has become stricter in its proof requirements, and we have been able to determine what proof will or will not most likely be sufficient to present to the VCF in support of an individual claim. The typical VCF claim is simpler than a lawsuit – there are no depositions, no drawn out discovery process, and no testimony in Court, but the process can still be tedious and is much easier to navigate with legal representation.
Contact Our White Plains Victim Compensation Fund Lawyers
Call the White Plains Victim Compensation Fund lawyers at Worby Vecchio Edelman, and we can explain the entire process to you. We can determine after a short conversation whether we think you have a valid claim with the VCF. There is never an obligation, and we work on contingency, so there are no upfront fees. You’ll never receive a bill from us; we only get paid if we recover money on your claim.