Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The Frequently Asked Questions provide additional information about various aspects of the Victim Compensation Fund. Click the section title to expand and collapse the list of questions related to that topic. Click on the specific question to read the complete answer. You can also download the full PDF version for your reference.

If you have questions or need more information, please call our toll-free Helpline at 1-855-885-1555. If you are a TDD user, you can call 1-855-885-1558.


Section 1: General Issues

1.1 What is the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund?

1.2 Who is eligible for the new VCF? Updated: April 4, 2014

1.3 When did the VCF begin accepting claims? Updated: January 24, 2013

1.4 What are the deadlines for filing a claim with the Fund and what forms must be filed by the deadlines? Updated: April 4, 2014

1.5 How is the VCF funded? Updated: October 23, 2013

1.6 How is the VCF different than the World Trade Center Health Program? Updated: May 14, 2013

1.7 Where do I get and submit the appropriate forms for filing a claim with the Fund? Updated: November 22, 2011

1.8 Does it cost anything to file a claim?

1.9 How will I know that my claim has been received? Updated: October 2, 2012

1.10 Can more than one person file a claim for the same individual?

1.11 How do I find out who has submitted a claim?

1.12 My business was impacted by the events of September 11th; can I get money from this fund?

1.13 Can I have someone else talk to the Special Master's office about my claim? Updated: October 23, 2013

1.14 I have heard that LABAT, Garretson Resolution Group, Lockheed Martin, and IBM are working for the Victim Compensation Fund. What do these companies do?

1.15 Why are Claimant and Decedent names published on the DOJ website?

1.16 How can I get assistance with my claim?

1.17 Is it possible to authorize multiple individuals to talk with the VCF about my claim? Updated: February 1, 2013

1.18 When registering on the VCF website and completing the online claim form, how is the information I enter protected? Why does the site not have a lock symbol at the bottom of the screen to indicate it is secure? Added: March 28, 2012

1.19 What is a “Claim Number” or “Claimant Identification Number” and Why Do I Have One? Updated: March 15, 2013

1.20 How can I confirm that I am registered for the VCF and/or that my claim has been submitted? Added: February 22, 2013

1.21 How does the Fund define “first knew or reasonably should have known” for purposes of meeting the registration deadlines? Added: October 23, 2013

1.22 How can I confirm that the VCF has received my registration? Added: October 23, 2013

1.23 In order to meet the October 3, 2013 deadline, I registered using the Interim Registration form or sent or emailed my information to the Fund. What do I need to do next? Added: October 23, 2013

1.24 What happens if I missed the October 3, 2013 deadline? Added: October 23, 2013

1.25 How does the VCF protect the privacy of compensation recipients? Added: December 10, 2013

1.26 How will same-sex marriages be treated in the administration of the Fund? Added: February 11, 2014

Section 2: Eligibility

2.1 Who is an eligible Claimant?

2.2 What are the 9/11 crash sites?

2.3 What is the "immediate aftermath"? When must individuals have been present at the sites to be eligible?

2.4 How do I prove that the individual was present at the site? Updated: April 18, 2014

2.5 If I submit documents such as employer records (confirming that I worked for a particular employer) or proof of residence (such as a rental agreement), do I still need to submit other documents regarding my presence at the site? Updated: April 18, 2014

2.6 How many documents related to my presence at the site do I need to submit? Updated: April 19, 2012

2.7 If the original VCF (VCF1) accepted the proof of presence at the site that I submitted in support of my original claim, do I need to re-submit proof to the VCF to support my current claim? Updated: November 22, 2011

2.8 What type of injury must a Claimant or decedent have suffered to be eligible for compensation? Updated: March 26, 2014

2.9 For purposes of the VCF, who is a Responder? Updated: December 5, 2011

2.10 If I was not a Responder, am I eligible for the VCF?

2.11 What medical records do I need to submit with my Eligibility Form? Updated: May 19, 2014

2.12 If I applied to the original VCF, can I apply again now?

2.13 Can I participate in the VCF if I participated in a lawsuit related to September 11th? Updated: April 4, 2014

2.14 Do I have to live in New York to participate in the VCF?

2.15 If I do not live in New York, how can I participate in the VCF?

2.16 Are foreign nationals or residents eligible for the VCF?

2.17 NO LONGER RELEVANT Updated: April 19, 2012

2.18 If I need to submit a sworn statement/affidavit to show that I was present at a 9/11 crash site, what should that statement/affidavit contain? Updated: November 9, 2012

2.19 I worked in one of the temporary morgues on pier locations on the west side of Manhattan. Will that satisfy the geographical presence requirement, even though the morgue was located outside of the NYC Exposure Zone? Added: April 19, 2012

2.20 I repaired, cleaned or rehabilitated vehicles or equipment that was contaminated by WTC-related debris. Will that satisfy the geographical presence requirement, even if I performed such services outside of the area in lower Manhattan as defined in the Zadroga Act and final regulations? Added: May 16, 2012

2.21 What types of documents will the VCF accept to demonstrate proof of presence at a 9/11 crash site for employees of the FDNY, NYPD or other New York City agency or contractor hired by the City of New York to perform rescue, recovery, demolition, debris cleanup or other related services? Revised: August 19, 2013

2.22 Am I eligible for the VCF if I started working in the NYC Exposure Zone after May 30, 2002? Added: May 25, 2012

2.23 I already submitted information about my presence at the 9/11 crash site for a lawsuit. Do I still have to provide proof of presence at a 9/11 crash site if I was approved for a settlement in my lawsuit? Added: July 17, 2012

2.24 How can I complete the questions in the Eligibility Form that ask the dates that each injury/condition was discovered, first treated, and/or first diagnosed if I do not know the exact date(s) and/or do not have medical records to verify the exact date(s)? Updated: May 19, 2014

2.25 Will the VCF accept as proof of presence at the site the Communications Workers of America’s (“CWA”) “WTC Recovery/Cleanup Effort Exposure Information” forms which were distributed and collected by CWA local unions and provided to the CWA District 1 office in the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and which document a Claimant’s WTC-related exposure? Added: August 13, 2012

2.26 I was employed by the FDNY. What kind of documents do I need to submit to show that I was present at a 9/11 crash site during the relevant time period? Added: August 14, 2012

2.27 If the person who can submit an affidavit to establish presence at the site does not speak English, may I submit an affidavit in another language? Added: December 28, 2012

2.28 What other options are available to assist claimants in obtaining documentation regarding “presence at the site”? Updated: January 7, 2013

2.29 What types of documents will the VCF accept to demonstrate proof of presence at a 9/11 crash site for NYPD claimants? Updated: March 19, 2013

2.30 What types of documents and/or information should claimants who worked for the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey submit to demonstrate proof of presence at a 9/11 crash site, compensation and/or workers’ compensation benefits related to the claimant’s eligible WTC-related injury or condition? Added: January 15, 2013

2.31 Are there other employers or third parties that may have information to help demonstrate my “presence at the site?” Added: May 22, 2013

2.32 Can I participate in the VCF if I was a volunteer in the WTC rescue, recovery, demolition, debris cleanup or other related services and am receiving benefits from the WTC Volunteer Fund administered by the New York State Workers' Compensation Board? Revised: August 19, 2013

2.33 What types of documents should I submit to demonstrate proof of presence at a 9/11 crash site if I worked for a New York City agency that is part of the New York City Employees’ Retirement System (NYCERS), such as the NYC Department of Sanitation, the NYC Department of Transportation or the NYC Department of Corrections? Added: August 19, 2013

2.34 What types of documents should I submit to demonstrate proof of presence at a 9/11 crash site if I worked as an EMT or paramedic for the FDNY? Added: August 19, 2013

Section 3: Physical Injuries or Conditions Eligible for Compensation for Personal Injury or Death

3.1 If I did not experience any physical injury or death as a result of September 11th, but I experienced emotional or mental harms as a result of the events, am I eligible for the VCF?

3.2 If I have a physical condition that was a result of September 11th but is not a common condition, am I eligible for the VCF? Updated: December 5, 2011

3.3 I do not see my injury on the list of presumptively covered conditions. Will the list of covered conditions change? Updated: April 4, 2014

3.4 Is cancer covered by the VCF? Updated: April 4, 2014

3.5 If I have a physical condition that is on the list of presumptively covered conditions, does this mean I am definitely going to be compensated by the VCF?

3.6 How will the VCF determine if a condition was a result of September 11th? Updated: December 5, 2011

3.7 How do I prove that my presumptively covered condition is a result of the crashes or debris removal? Updated: May 19, 2014

3.8 How can I find out if I am eligible for treatment by the WTC Health Program that commenced on July 1, 2011?

3.9 What if I am not being treated by the WTC Health Program that commenced on July 1, 2011? Can I still participate in the VCF?

3.10 Do I need to submit any medical records to the VCF if my condition has been certified for treatment under the WTC Health Program after July 1, 2011? Updated: May 19, 2014

3.11 If I need to submit medical records, do they need to be "certified" medical records? What are "certified" medical records? Updated: July 24, 2012

3.12 If I first developed my presumptively covered condition before September 11th, 2001, but it has gotten worse since then, can I still participate in the VCF?

3.13 If I have suffered a physical injury as a result of September 11th, but I never sought medical treatment for the injury, am I eligible for the VCF?

3.14 If I have suffered a physical injury as a result of September 11th but am still able to work, am I eligible for the VCF?

3.15 Will side effects from taking September 11th-related medications be covered by the VCF?

3.16 If I have multiple conditions as a result of September 11th, will the VCF cover all of them?

3.17 If I am found eligible for the VCF, what treatments are covered?

3.18 What standards apply for an individual who has died? Updated: October 23, 2013

3.19 If I have a condition that has been certified for treatment under the WTC Health Program after July 1, 2011, am I automatically eligible to recover from the VCF for that certified condition? Added: July 24, 2012

3.20 How will the VCF determine whether the injury or condition is “certified” by NIOSH for deceased individuals? Updated: April 4, 2014

3.21 How do I submit a new claim, or supplement my existing claim, to include cancer as a claimed condition? Updated: May 5, 2014

3.22 What is the process that NIOSH will use to determine whether to “certify” a cancer that has been added to the list of WTC conditions? Added: December 13, 2012

3.23 I have been found eligible for some conditions, but I have additional conditions that I believe are eligible and could affect my compensation award. What can I do?Updated: October 23, 2013

3.24 Will Prostate Cancer be added to the list of conditions eligible for compensation from the VCF? Updated: April 4, 2014

3.25 What is the process that the WTC Health Program uses to determine whether to “certify” a non-cancer condition (aero-digestive disorder) for treatment under the WTC Health Program? Added: February 14, 2014

3.26 Will the Rare Cancers added on February 18, 2014 to the WTC Health Program list of covered conditions be added to the list of conditions eligible for compensation from the VCF? Updated: April 4, 2014

3.27 Does the date my condition or disease started matter? Added: August 20, 2014

Section 4: Application Process

Note: FAQs 4.3-4.8 were renumbered on November 22, 2011 and December 5, 2011.

4.1 What do I have to do to apply to the VCF? Which application form should I complete?

4.2 Where do I get the application form and how do I submit it? Updated: November 22, 2011

4.3 NO LONGER RELEVANT Updated: November 22, 2011

4.4 What does it mean to register for the VCF? Updated: August 13, 2013

4.5 NO LONGER RELEVANT Updated: December 5, 2011

4.6 NO LONGER RELEVANT Updated: April 9, 2013

4.7 Which application form should I complete if I am filing on behalf of somebody who suffered a physical injury as a result of the aircraft crashes or debris removal but has since died from an unrelated cause?

4.8 Once I file the claim form, what will happen? Updated: May 5, 2014

4.9 Is it possible for law firms or other organization to submit claimant information in a “group” or “bulk” format so that the law firm can submit multiple claims at the same time? Updated: June 22, 2012

4.10 If I currently have a presumptively covered health condition but I think it may get worse, should I wait until then to file my claim? Updated: August 15, 2014

4.11 Can I print my claim form? Added: August 22, 2012

4.12 How do I upload additional documents to my claim once I have submitted the Eligibility form online? Added: January 24, 2013

4.13 Can I access my claim online if I originally filed on paper? Updated: May 5, 2014

4.14 Are there different forms for responders to the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania sites? Added: April 4, 2014

4.15 What should I do if a claimant dies after filing a Personal Injury Eligibility Claim Form with the VCF? Added: April 4, 2014

4.16 How do I amend my claim? Updated: May 5, 2014

4.17 How do I update my contact information or the contact information for my authorized representative or attorney? Added: May 5, 2014

Section 5: Personal Representative

5.1 Who is the Personal Representative of a deceased individual?

5.2 How do I get appointed Personal Representative by a State court?

5.3 How do I show that I am the proper Personal Representative of the deceased individual for filing a claim with the VCF?

5.4 What is Domicile?

5.5 I was appointed as the Personal Representative of a deceased individual’s estate by a Surrogate’s Court in the State of New York, but the letters of administration contain restrictions on my authority to file, prosecute and compromise a claim. Does this affect my ability to file a claim with the VCF? (Added: March 15, 2013)

5.6 Does the VCF have an expedited process to appoint the Personal Representative of a deceased individual in cases of financial hardship or where there are exigent circumstances? (Added: July 9, 2014)

Section 6: Compensation Computations

6.1 Will the amount of awards be the same as in the VCF's first iteration, or will they be reduced?

6.2 How much money can I receive from the VCF? How do I figure out how much I will get?

6.3 What is economic loss?

6.4 Can I apply for both prior loss and future loss?

6.5 If I have not yet suffered economic harm, but fear that I may suffer economic harms in the future, should I submit a claim to the VCF now? Updated: August 15, 2014

6.6 If I have not yet suffered economic harm, but my condition is expected to worsen, am I eligible for the VCF? Updated: August 15, 2014

6.7 Do I need to list every single medical expense I have incurred as a result of my condition? Updated: August 15, 2014

6.8 Can I seek compensation for medical losses I have incurred even if I was covered by health insurance?

6.9 Can I seek compensation for my health insurance premiums?

6.10 What does "loss of earnings to date" mean?

6.11 What if I missed work but was still paid because of sick leave, vacation days, or comp time?

6.12 What type of documents do I need to submit to prove that I missed work and lost earnings?

6.13 What is included in the definition of income for military personnel?

6.14 What are replacement services? Updated: August 15, 2014

6.15 If my career is cut short as a result of a condition that is compensable under the VCF, will my award take into account lost wages?

6.16 If my career is cut short as a result of a condition that is compensable under the VCF, will my award take into account decreased pension benefits as a result of the shorter career?

6.17 Is the value of the pension earned by a deceased individual taken into consideration in computing claim award amounts?

6.18 Would you provide more information about the procedures for calculating the presumed economic loss?
Updated: October 31, 2012

6.19 What is non-economic loss?

6.20 How will non-economic loss be calculated? Updated: August 19, 2013

6.20.1 What type of documents should I submit to prove the extent of my non-economic loss? Updated: August 15, 2014

6.21 How will the Special Master determine the amount of my collateral source benefits?
Updated: April 4, 2014

6.22 What may be excluded from the definition of a collateral source benefit?

6.23 Will collateral offsets that are paid periodically be reduced for the time value of money?

6.24 Are charitable gifts offset? Will a benefit from a charity managed by a government agency be considered as a collateral offset?

6.25 Are payments made by the various State Victim of Crime Boards funded with federal funds considered collateral offsets?

6.26 Will my workers' compensation be treated as a collateral offset?

6.27 How will the Special Master calculate the appropriate offset for "contingent" benefits?

6.28 Will my Social Security survivor benefits that I am receiving for myself as a surviving spouse and for my children be counted as a collateral offset?

6.29 Will the money the Decedent spent on premiums for his/her life insurance plan be included in the offset?

6.30 Will the money the Decedent contributed to his/her pension be included in an offset?

6.31 How will the VCF determine an individual's level of disability or incapacity for purposes of calculating economic loss?
Added: December 5, 2011

6.32 Are there specific medical records that I must submit with my Compensation Form to demonstrate my economic loss?
Updated: August 15, 2014

6.33 What types of documents will the VCF accept to demonstrate a WTC-related disability for FDNY Claimants?
Added: July 26, 2012

6.34 Are payments made by the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (“PSOB”) Programs considered a collateral offset?
Added: April 8, 2013

6.35 How will the VCF treat payments related to my WTC-related injury or condition from state workers’ compensation programs or other government or private entities that may be subject to liens? Will these payments be deducted or offset from my VCF award? Added: May 22, 2013

6.36 Will an award from the VCF affect my ability to receive or continue receiving benefits from certain government programs? Added: August 19, 2013

6.37 Will the VCF provide reimbursement for future medical expenses that may arise if the WTC Health Program does not receive funding to operate after Fiscal Year 2016? Added: October 28, 2013

6.38 I obtained a statement online from the Social Security Administration that shows my earnings history. Will the VCF accept this statement as proof of my past earnings? Updated: August 15, 2014

6.39 What compensation and disability-related information and documentation does the FDNY provide directly to the VCF in support of a claim? Added: April 18, 2014

6.40 What compensation and disability-related documentation and information does the NYPD provide directly to the VCF in support of a claim? Added: April 18, 2014

6.41 What compensation information and documentation has the VCF obtained from unions to support a claim? Added: April 18, 2014

Section 7: Waiver/Certification

7.1 What does it mean to waive rights to file a lawsuit?
Updated: April 8, 2013

7.2 Whose rights are waived by filing a claim?

7.3 When do I give up my rights to file other claims in court?

7.4 What happens if I file a claim with the VCF and also file a lawsuit against someone who is not a "knowing participant in any conspiracy to hijack any aircraft or commit any terrorist act"? Updated: November 22, 2011

7.5 What documentation is required to demonstrate the timely "withdrawal" of a pending lawsuit related to September 11, 2001 - i.e., withdrawal of the lawsuit on or before January 2, 2012? Updated: April 19, 2012

7.6 Can I file a claim with the VCF and also participate in a September 11th-related lawsuit against terrorists?
Added: April 8, 2013

Section 8: Funds and Awards

8.1 When will I receive my full award? Updated: April 4, 2014

8.2 Will there be a procedure for receiving early payments, or "advance benefits," as they were known in the first VCF? Updated: May 5, 2014

8.3 What are the options for receiving my payment from the Fund? Added: January 15, 2013

8.4 Can direct deposit payments be made to money market or brokerage accounts? Added:January 15, 2013

8.5 If I reside outside the U.S. can payments be made through direct deposit to a foreign bank? Added: January 15, 2013

8.6 How do I provide my bank account information to the Fund? Updated: June 30, 2014

8.7 Where do I find the payment information form? Added: January 15, 2013

8.8 I use an online bank. Since they do not have physical offices, how do I get them to complete the VCF ACH Payment Information Form? Updated: June 30, 2014

8.9 Our law firm has an agreement with our clients that Fund payments will be made directly to the law firm bank account on behalf of the claimant. What information must we provide to the Fund to make payments directly to the law firm account? Updated: June 30, 2014

8.10 I have heard there are groups that offer accelerated funding for VCF claimants so I can receive my entire award now instead of waiting for the final year of the VCF’s operation. Does the VCF recommend or endorse any of these “early payment” programs? Updated: November 21, 2013

8.11 If the claimant is deceased, how and to whom will the payment be distributed? Updated: April 4, 2014

8.12 If the claimant is deceased and a portion of the payment is allocated to a minor child, how will the VCF issue the payment on behalf of the minor child? Added: December 10, 2013

8.13 Is it possible to split VCF payments so a portion is paid directly to the law firm and a portion directly to the claimant? Added: June 30, 2014

Section 9: Hearing/Appeals

Note: FAQs 9.1-9.8 were renumbered on July 14, 2014.

9.1 What is the difference between an appeal and an amendment? Added: July 14, 2014

9.2 Under what circumstances can I request an appeal? Updated: July 14, 2014

9.3 How do I file an appeal and schedule my hearing? Added: July 14, 2014

9.4 How long will hearings last? Updated: March 26, 2014

9.5 Who will conduct the hearings? Updated: March 26, 2014

9.6 Can I present evidence or witnesses at the hearing? Updated: March 26, 2014

9.7 Who can present information or evidence at the hearing? Updated: March 26, 2014

9.8 Will decisions be made on the spot at a hearing?

Section 10: Legal Issues

10.1 Is my VCF award taxable?

10.2 Can my VCF award be seized in a bankruptcy proceeding?

10.3 If I am eligible for the VCF, am I also eligible for veterans benefits?

10.4 Will Medicare assert liens against my VCF award to pursue Medicare Secondary Payer claims? Added: January 23, 2014

Section 11: Attorney Client Issues

11.1 Do I need an attorney to participate in VCF?

11.2 If I choose to use an attorney, how will the attorney be paid?

11.3 If I was a plaintiff in another September 11th lawsuit, and my attorney signed a release before the bill was enacted and I opt in to that settlement, am I eligible for the VCF? Updated: April 19, 2012

11.4 Where can I find out information about the settlements achieved in New York courts?

11.5 Will settlements in civil suits regarding injuries related to September 11th affect my award in the VCF?

11.6 If I no longer want the VCF to communicate with an attorney about my claim, or if I want to change the authorized attorney on my claim, how do I revoke the authorization that I previously provided to the VCF? Updated: October 23, 2013

11.7 How does my attorney provide me access to my online claim if my attorney registered me through the VCF’s online claim system? Added: August 22, 2012

11.8 How do I provide my attorney with access to my online claim if I registered through the VCF’s online claim system? Added: August 22, 2012

11.9 What is meant by the “Primary Attorney” designation on the claim form? Can other attorneys or staff from our law firm be listed as authorized representatives on a single claim? Added: February 1, 2013

11.10 How can I confirm my attorney registered me and/or submitted my claim to the VCF? Added: February 19, 2013

11.11 What types of expenses does the Special Master consider to be “non-routine” and reimbursable to attorneys representing claimants in their VCF claims? Updated: July 28, 2014

Section 12: Registration Process and Filing Deadlines

12.1 NO LONGER RELEVANT Updated: October 23, 2013

12.2 Will the Fund accept registrations after October 3, 2013? Updated: April 4, 2014

12.3 If I was diagnosed with my 9/11-related condition prior to October 3, 2011 but my condition was not on the original list of eligible Fund conditions, what is my registration deadline? Updated: October 23, 2013

12.4 If I was diagnosed with my 9/11-related condition after October 3, 2011, what is my registration deadline? Updated: October 23, 2013

12.5 If I have been diagnosed with a 9/11-related illness but my condition is not on the list of eligible conditions, should I apply just in case the condition is added in the future? Updated: October 23, 2013

12.6 NO LONGER RELEVANT Updated: October 23, 2013

12.7 How do I Register? Added: August 13, 2013

12.8 If I am being treated by the WTC Health Program am I automatically registered with the Victim Compensation Fund? Updated: August 15, 2014

Section 13: Private Physician Process

13.1 Why has a patient asked me to submit a report to the VCF? Added: October 23, 2013

13.2 May a physician send the requested information directly to the VCF rather than returning it to a patient to submit? Added: October 23, 2013

13.3 Will the VCF pay any fees to physicians for providing the report and/or records? Added: October 23, 2013

13.4 Why did I receive the package and the request for information from my physician? Added: October 23, 2013

13.5 I was told that the VCF would reach out to private physicians on my behalf and that I would not need to gather this information. Has that changed? Added: October 23, 2013

13.6 What specifically do I need to do and what does my doctor need to provide? Updated: April 4, 2014

13.7 How many of my doctors need to provide this information and documentation? Updated: April 18, 2014

13.8 Is my doctor allowed to charge me a fee for completing these forms and providing the requested information? Updated: April 18, 2014

13.9 What will happen to my claim if I do not submit the physician information? Added: October 23, 2013

13.10 Once the VCF receives the information from my physician, how long will it take to make a decision on my claim? Added: October 23, 2013

13.11 What happens after the VCF receives my forms and physician information? Added: October 23, 2013

13.12 If I return these forms, will I be found eligible for compensation from the VCF? Added: October 23, 2013

13.13 If I have already submitted medical records to the VCF, do I still need to complete the forms in the Private Physician package? Updated: April 4, 2014

13.14 Are there any other options for providing the information if I cannot submit the Private Physician forms? Added: November 21, 2013




1. General Issues

1.1 What is the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund?

The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) is part of legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by the President to provide compensation for economic and non-economic loss to individuals or relatives of deceased individuals who were killed or physically injured as a result of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes of September 11, 2001. The original VCF operated from December 2001 until June 2004.

On January 2, 2011, President Obama signed into law the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 (Zadroga Act), which reopens the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001. The Zadroga Act expanded the scope of the original VCF to enable more individuals who suffered physical injury or death as a result of the September 11th attacks to obtain compensation from the program.

The Fund is designed to provide a no-fault alternative to tort litigation for individuals who were physically injured or killed as a result of the aircraft hijackings and crashes on September 11, 2001 or debris removal efforts in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. Others, who may have suffered losses as a result of those events (e.g., those without identifiable physical injuries but who lost employment), are not included in this special program. Compensation will be provided only for losses caused on account of personal physical injuries or death.

Like the initial VCF, the Act provides that an individual who elects compensation from the VCF waives his or her rights to pursue litigation to seek damages for the physical injury or death resulting from the September 11th attacks.

The new VCF is being administered by Special Master Sheila Birnbaum, who was appointed by the Attorney General of the United States.

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1.2 Who is eligible for the new VCF? (Updated: April 4, 2014)

The Zadroga Act provides that individuals are eligible if they were present at the September 11th crash sites at the time of the crashes or between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002, and suffered physical harm as a direct result of the crashes or debris removal. Personal Representatives of those who died as a result of the crashes or debris removal are eligible to bring claims on behalf of the deceased individual.

For those individuals who have suffered a physical injury, the VCF's final regulations define eligible physical harm to mean a physical injury to the body that was treated by a medical professional within a reasonable time from the date of discovering the harm. In addition, the physical injury must be verified by the medical professional who provided contemporaneous medical care.

In order to be covered by the VCF, your physical harm (or death) must have been a result of September 11th. Traumatic injuries incurred as a result of the attacks are eligible "physical harm." In addition, certain latent health conditions and diseases are eligible. The final regulations provide that initially, these presumptively covered health conditions and diseases will consist of the physical injuries that the World Trade Center ("WTC") Health Program has determined to be WTC-related health conditions. The WTC Health Program is operated by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and provides medical treatment and monitoring for WTC-related health conditions.

The physical injuries, health conditions and diseases that are presumptively covered under the VCF as of February 18, 2014 (the date the most recent revision was made to the list by the WTC Health Program) are listed below. Note: the list below includes only major categories of conditions and is not meant to represent every type of eligible injury. If your 9/11-related condition or injury does not appear on the list, you should submit your information to the VCF and it will be properly categorized during the review of your claim to determine whether it is an eligible injury.

  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Chronic Respiratory Disorder - Fumes / Vapors
  • Asthma
  • Reactive Airways Dysfunction Syndrome (RADS)
  • WTC-exacerbated Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Chronic cough syndrome
  • Upper airway hyper reactivity
  • Chronic rhino sinusitis
  • Chronic nasopharyngitis
  • Chronic laryngitis
  • Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disorder (GERD)
  • Sleep apnea exacerbated by or related to the above conditions.
  • Low back pain
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)
  • Certain other musculoskeletal disorders occurring in responders and defined as "a chronic or recurrent disorder of the musculoskeletal system caused by heavy lifting or repetitive strain on the joints or musculoskeletal system occurring during" the period between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002 or as determined by the Special Master
  • Traumatic injuries
  • Certain types of cancer, as specified in FAQ 3.4

Claimants who have a presumptively covered physical injury, health condition or disease (and representatives of individuals who have died as a result of such a presumptively covered physical injury, health condition or disease) that was caused as a result of September 11th and who are otherwise eligible may receive compensation from the VCF for economic and non-economic loss as defined in the regulations.

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1.3 When did the VCF begin accepting claims? (Updated: January 24, 2013)

The VCF began accepting registrations on October 3, 2011. Claimants can register online using a web-based system. The registration process allows Claimants and representatives of Claimants to create an account that will be used for the purpose of filing claims and to provide certain information that will help the VCF start the claims review process. After registering, Claimants may begin completing the first part of the claim form: the Eligibility Form.

Both parts of the claim form – the Eligibility Form and the Compensation Form – are available online. The Eligibility and Compensation Forms are designed to be completed and submitted separately. Claimants may, but are not required, to submit both the Eligibility Form and the Compensation Form at the same time.

For a list of documents and information that will be required when submitting the Eligibility and Compensation Forms, please reference the Document Checklists.

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1.4 What are the deadlines for filing a claim with the Fund and what forms must be filed by the deadlines? (Updated: April 4, 2014)

There are two important deadlines for filing a VCF claim:

  • The first deadline is the date by which you must Register with the VCF to be recognized as a Claimant. This deadline is different for each Claimant as it is dependent on individual circumstances as explained below.
  • The second deadline is the date by which you must file your completed Eligibility and Compensation Forms and the required supporting documents. This deadline is October 3, 2016 and is the same for all claimants.

Deadline 1: Register (file a REGISTRATION FORM) with the VCF:
In general, Claimants with a qualified condition who plan to file a claim with the Fund will have two (2) years from the date of diagnosis to file a REGISTRATION FORM in order to preserve the right to file a claim. See FAQ 1.2 for the list of qualified conditions. This chart summarizes the specific deadlines for filing a claim with the VCF depending on individual Claimant circumstances. The Special Master does not have the authority to extend the filing deadlines.

* The applicable deadline is the date by which the required forms must be submitted/uploaded to your online claim or postmarked (if sending by mail). If the date falls on a Sunday or a Federal Government holiday, the forms must be submitted/uploaded or postmarked by the next business day.

To Register with the VCF: In order to meet the applicable two-year deadline, you must do one of the following:

  • Claimants using the ONLINE system must complete and submit the Registration Form (and receive a VCF claim number).
  • Claimants submitting a HARD COPY claim must complete and mail Eligibility Form Part I, even if the remainder of the form is not complete.

Deadline 2: File Complete ELIGIBILITY AND COMPENSATION FORMS and required Supporting Documents:
The Zadroga Act authorizes the VCF to receive claims for five years from the date the VCF opened, which was October 3, 2011. Regardless of the applicable two (2) year deadline for filing your Registration Form with the VCF, all claim forms must be filed by October 3, 2016. This includes your completed ELIGIBILITY AND COMPENSATION FORMS with the properly executed Attestations, Certifications and Exhibits.

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1.5 How is the VCF funded? (Updated: October 23, 2013)

The VCF is a government program, funded by taxpayers. Congress has appropriated a fixed sum of money for the VCF. This fixed sum is $2.775 billion. Congress has also determined that $875 million of that total amount may be paid out in the first five years of the VCF program. The remainder may be paid in the sixth year.

The limitations on funding for the VCF means that in the first five years of the program, Claimants will receive only a portion of the compensation allowed under the rules of the VCF. Depending on the number and type of claims, and in order to ensure that all eligible Claimants receive an award, the Zadroga Act's cap on funding means that that Claimants’ awards will be made in two payments: one pro-rated payment during the first five years, and a second payment during the sixth year when the additional money may be spent.

The funds appropriated by Congress cover both awards made to Claimants and administrative costs. Because every dollar spent on administrative costs is a dollar that cannot be paid to Claimants, the VCF will provide a streamlined, efficient administrative process.

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1.6 How is the VCF different than the WTC Health Program? (Updated: May 14, 2013)

The VCF is a compensation program, not a medical treatment program. The VCF was created to provide compensation for economic and/or non-economic losses of those who were injured or killed as a result of the 9/11 attacks (including injuries based on exposure to airborne toxins).

The WTC Health Program, which is operated by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), was established pursuant to Title I of the Zadroga Act and commenced on July 1, 2011. The WTC Health Program assumed the functions and goals of two prior programs: the WTC Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program and the Environmental Health Center Community Program. Those programs provided treatment at many of the same medical centers that are now providing services under the WTC Health Program.

For further information about the World Trade Center Health Program, please click on the links below or contact the program by phone at 1-888-WTC-HP4U (1-888-982-4748).

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1.7 Where do I get and submit the appropriate forms for filing a claim with the Fund? (Updated: November 22, 2011)

There are two different forms. Claimants who have suffered physical injuries as a result of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes of September 11, 2001 must complete the Eligibility and Compensation Form for Personal Injury Claimants. Personal Representatives of individuals who have died as a result of such aircraft crashes must complete the Eligibility and Compensation Form for Deceased Individuals.

Both forms are accessible through the VCF website at www.vcf.gov. You may submit the claims through an online system, and to help ensure efficient processing and to maximize the funds paid to Claimants, all Claimants are strongly encouraged to help lower administrative costs by submitting their claims electronically through the VCF website. However, those Claimants who are unable to use the electronic process can get the proper form in hard copy by downloading and printing the form from the VCF website or calling the toll-free Helpline at 1-855-885-1555 to ask that a form be mailed to you. Once the hard copy form is complete, mail the form and supporting documents to the VCF at the following address:

By mail to:

September 11th Victim Compensation Fund

P.O. Box 34500

Washington, D.C. 20043

By overnight mail to:

September 11th Victim Compensation Fund

1220 L Street NW

Suite 100 - Box 408

Washington, DC 20005-4018

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1.8 Does it cost anything to file a claim?

No.

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1.9 How will I know that my claim has been received? (Updated: October 23, 2013)

All Claimants will receive an Eligibility Form Acknowledgement Letter to confirm the Eligibility Form has been submitted or received. Claimants who submit their claim electronically will receive the letter once the Eligibility Form is in “Submitted” status. Claimants who submit hard copy claims will receive the letter once the VCF has received your Eligibility Form and entered it into our system. Please allow several weeks for the letter to arrive from the date you submit your form online or the date your mailed form is received by the VCF.

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1.10 Can more than one person file a claim for the same individual?

No. The statute and regulations provide that only one Claimant is eligible to submit a claim. If the Special Master receives more than one claim form for the same individual, the Special Master will delay processing the claim until the appropriate Personal Representative is determined.

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1.11 How do I find out who has submitted a claim?

The list of Claimants and deceased individuals for whom a claim has been filed will be posted on the website at www.vcf.gov for a period of 90 days after filing.

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1.12 My business was impacted by the events of September 11th; can I get money from this fund?

No. The statute does not cover individuals who lost their businesses. The fund only applies to those who were physically injured or killed as result of the terrorist-related air crashes on September 11th or debris removal. Those without identifiable physical injuries are not eligible for the program.

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1.13 Can I have someone else talk to the Special Master's office about my claim? (Updated: October 23, 2013)

Yes. The registration process and the claim forms allow you to designate an authorized individual to talk to the Special Master’s office. You will find this authorization in the “Attorney or Other Authorized Individual” section of the online registration process or in Part I.C. of the hard copy Eligibility Form. In addition to providing the name and contact information for each individual in Part 1.C. of the Eligibility Form, you must also submit a completed “Authorization for Communication and Correspondence”. The “Authorization for Communication and Correspondence” is provided as Attestation G for Personal Injury Claimants or Attestation F for Deceased Claimants. The VCF will not communicate or correspond with anyone regarding your claim unless they are listed in Part 1.C. and a signed authorization is on file.

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1.14 I have heard that LABAT, Garretson Resolution Group, Lockheed Martin, and IBM are working for the Victim Compensation Fund. What do these companies do?

These organizations were selected by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Special Master of the Victim Compensation Fund to provide claims administration services. They have been engaged to support the Special Master in executing her responsibilities under the statute. These responsibilities include provision of claims intake services, document management, operation of a toll-free helpline, operation of a claims-processing center for the initial review of claim materials, creation of an information system to facilitate claims processing, operation of the website, and provision of hearing support to the Special Master.

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1.15 Why are Claimant and Decedent names published on the DOJ website?

As provided in Sec. 104.22(b)(5) of the final regulations, the Special Master may publish a list of individuals who have filed with the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and the names of the individuals for whom compensation is sought, but shall not publish the content of any such form.

The Special Master has determined that this list should be on the Victim Compensation Fund website, www.vcf.gov. The purpose of this list of Claimants and deceased individuals is to notify all potential beneficiaries that a claim is being filed on behalf of a September 11th Claimant. This notice helps to ensure that the appropriate person submits the claim and that all potentially affected individuals are notified of the waiver of litigation rights that occurs upon submission of a substantially complete claim.

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1.16 How can I get assistance with my claim?

The Special Master will provide assistance through scheduled seminars and through online video tutorials and step-by-step instructions. Please check the website for the dates and locations of these programs. In addition, you can contact the VCF Helpline with specific questions. Also, some outside organizations may provide assistance to Claimants. Please check the website for information and dates.

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1.17 Is it possible to authorize multiple individuals to talk with the VCF about my claim? (Updated: February 1, 2013)

Yes. If you want to authorize several different individuals to discuss your claim with the VCF, you must identify each person by name in the “Authorized Persons” section of the Eligibility Form (Part I.C.). If you are submitting a paper claim, you can add additional individuals in Part 1.C. of the form by copying the applicable page of the form and submitting a separate page with completed information for each contact.

If you want to add individuals to the list of authorized individuals after your claim has been filed, then you must update Part 1.C. of the Eligibility Form to include the additional individuals.

If there are several lawyers or other staff at a single law firm working on your claim, you must identify each of those individuals in Part 1.C. of the Eligibility Form. If you are completing the form online, you will be asked to designate one contact at the law firm as your “Primary Attorney”. Please note that if additional lawyers and/or legal staff from the same law firm start helping with your claim after you submit your Eligibility Form, you must submit an updated Part 1.C. naming each of those additional lawyers and/or legal staff members if you would like the VCF to communicate with them.

In addition to providing the name and contact information for each individual in Part 1.C. of the Eligibility Form, you must also submit a completed “Authorization for Communication and Correspondence”. The “Authorization for Communication and Correspondence” is provided as Attestation G for Personal Injury Claimants or Attestation F for Deceased Claimants. The VCF will not communicate or correspond with anyone regarding your claim unless they are listed in Part 1.C. and a signed authorization is on file.

Attestation G (for Personal Injury Claimants) and Attestation F (for Deceased Claimants), are available under Part IV of the online claim form or you may access them here. If you cannot download the appropriate Attestation, you may request that the VCF mail you the Attestation by calling the toll-free Helpline at 1-855-885-1555. For the hearing impaired, please call 1-855-885-1558 (TDD). If you are calling from outside the United States, please call 1-202-353-0356.

Once you have completed and signed the Attestation, please upload it to your online claim or mail it to the VCF at

     September 11th Victim Compensation Fund
     P.O. Box 34500
     Washington, D.C. 20043

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1.18 When registering on the VCF website and completing the online claim form, how is the information I enter protected? Why does the site not have a lock symbol at the bottom of the screen to indicate it is secure? (Added: March 28, 2012)

The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (“VCF”) uses industry-standard encryption, including Secure Socket Layer (SSL), to secure your personal information when it is transmitted and received by the VCF over the Internet. The connection icon area on your browser will change to “HTTPS” instead of “HTTP” when this security feature is invoked. You may notice this when moving from the informational www.vcf.gov web site to the www.claims.vcf.gov web site where your information is collected. Your browser may also display a lock symbol on the task bar at the bottom of your screen to indicate this secure transmission is in place. You should refer to the instructions for your particular Internet browser software to determine how to examine the security certificate from our web site to verify the security of the connection.

The security of all personally identifiable information is of paramount importance to everyone within the VCF. Various security measures have been implemented to protect the security and confidentiality of personally identifiable information. Such measures include access controls designed to limit access to personally identifiable information to the extent necessary to accomplish the VCF’s mission. The VCF also employs various security technologies to protect personally identifiable information stored on VCF systems. The security measures are tested periodically to ensure that they remain operational.

The Fund complies in full with the U.S. Department of Justice privacy policy. That policy is available via the link on the bottom of the www.vcf.gov home page or you may access it by visiting http://www.justice.gov/privacy-file.htm.

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1.19 What is a “Claim Number” or “Claimant Identification Number” and Why Do I Have One? (Updated: March 15, 2013)

The VCF assigns a unique “Claim Number” to every Registration on the VCF website. The claim number includes the letters “VCF” followed by 7 digits (example: VCF1234567). Please keep this number handy because you will need it whenever you contact the VCF to discuss your claim. If you are with a law firm and are registering multiple individuals, each individual will be assigned a different Claim Number.

An individual receives a new and unique Claim Number whenever he or she starts a new Registration on the VCF website. This means that you will receive a VCF Claim Number before you submit a claim and even before you finish and submit your Registration. The fact that you have a Claim Number does not make you a “Claimant” or mean that you have “submitted” your claim. This also means that being assigned a Claim Number does not waive your rights to file a September 11th-related lawsuit. See Section 7 of the FAQs for more information on when your rights to file a lawsuit are waived.

To avoid getting multiple claim numbers, you should start and complete only one Registration. If you start the registration process more than once, you will receive more than one claim number. If you have more than one claim number, the VCF cannot process your claim until the VCF can determine which claim is the correct one. If you have already started more than one Registration and thus have generated more than one Claim Number, please send a letter to the VCF indicating which claim number you would like to pursue and which claim number(s) you would like to withdraw. Please be sure to include your full name, Social Security Number, address, and telephone number in the letter. Please call the VCF Helpline at 1-855-885-1555 if you have any questions about the process.

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1.20 How can I confirm that I am registered for the VCF and/or that my claim has been submitted? (Added: February 22, 2013)

If you would like information on the status of your claim, you may call the toll-free Helpline at 1-855-885-1555. For the hearing impaired, please call 1-855-885-1558 (TDD). If you are calling from outside the United States, please call 1-202-353-0356.

When you call, inform the Helpline representative that you would like to confirm the status of your registration and/or claim. In order to receive information about your claim, you will be asked to provide your VCF claim number. If you do not know the claim number because someone else registered you or submitted your claim, you will need to provide the name of that individual or law firm. You will also be asked several questions to verify your identity.

If you do not know your VCF claim number, the Helpline will only be able to confirm your registration or that a claim has been filed on your behalf. The Helpline can answer more detailed questions about your claim and claim status if you are able to provide your claim number.

As a reminder, if you are represented by an attorney, you may contact your attorney to request that you be copied on any correspondence sent by the Fund. If you have an online account with the VCF, you may also ask your attorney to grant you online access to your claim if desired (see FAQ 11.7).

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1.21 How does the Fund define “first knew or reasonably should have known” for purposes of meeting the registration deadlines? (Added: October 23, 2013)

Section 202 of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 (“Zadroga Act”) outlines the requirements for filing claims and includes the following references to the deadlines for filing with the Fund:

(i) TIMING REQUIREMENTS FOR FILING CLAIMS — An individual (or a personal representative on behalf of a deceased individual) may file a claim during the period described in subsection (a)(3)(B) as follows:

  • (I) In the case that the Special Master determines the individual knew (or reasonably should have known) before the date specified in clause (iii) that the individual suffered a physical harm at a 9/11 crash site as a result of the terrorist related aircraft crashes of September 11, 2001, or as a result of debris removal, and that the individual knew (or should have known) before such specified date that the individual was eligible to file a claim under this title, the individual may file a claim not later than the date that is 2 years after such specified date.
  • (II) In the case that the Special Master determines the individual first knew (or reasonably should have known) on or after the date specified in clause (iii) that the individual suffered such a physical harm or that the individual first knew (or should have known) on or after such specified date that the individual was eligible to file a claim under this title, the individual may file a claim not later than the last day of the 2-year period beginning on the date the Special Master determines the individual first knew (or should have known) that the individual both suffered from such harm and was eligible to file a claim under this title.

In all instances, the statutory language “first knew (or reasonably should have known)” is generally interpreted by the Special Master to be the date the claimant or decedent was first diagnosed with the specific condition for which the claimant seeks compensation.

Claimants with a qualified injury (or a personal representative on behalf of a deceased individual) who plan to file a claim with the Fund will have 2 years from the date of diagnosis of the condition for which they seek compensation to file a REGISTRATION FORM in order to preserve their right to file a claim in the future.

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1.22 How can I confirm that the VCF has received my registration?(Added: October 23, 2013)

If you would like to confirm that your registration information was received by the applicable deadline, you may call the toll-free Helpline at 1-855-885-1555. For the hearing impaired, please call 1-855-885-1558 (TDD). If you are calling from outside the United States, please call 1-202-353-0356.

When you call, inform the Helpline representative that you would like to confirm that your registration information was received by the deadline. In order to receive this information, you will need to provide your full name and either your Social Security Number, National Identification Number or Date of Birth. If someone else registered you, you will need to provide the name of that individual or law firm.

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1.23 In order to meet the October 3, 2013 deadline, I registered using the Interim Registration form or sent or emailed my information to the Fund. What do I need to do next? (Added: October 23, 2013)

By submitting the Interim Registration form or a letter, email or fax with the same information by the deadline, you have preserved your right to file a claim and met the registration requirements for purposes of meeting the October 3, 2013 deadline. Submitting this information does not assign you a claim number and you are still required to register with the Fund if you intend to file a claim in the future. You may complete your registration at any time through the VCF website or by completing and mailing Part I of the hard copy Eligibility Form. If you prefer to wait to complete your registration, you may submit the information at the same time you submit your Eligibility Form.

Your Eligibility and Compensation Forms must be submitted before the Special Master can determine the amount of any compensation for which you may be eligible.

  • If you have not yet been diagnosed with any 9/11-related condition, you do not need to submit any claim forms at this time. If you are diagnosed in the future with a 9/11-related condition, you will then need to submit the Eligibility Form as the first step in filing your claim with the Fund.
  • If you have been diagnosed with a 9/11-related condition, you should complete and submit the Eligibility and Compensation Forms, including the required supporting documents. You may submit both forms and supporting documents at the same time or you may submit the Eligibility Form first and then complete and submit the Compensation Form once you receive your eligibility determination.

It is important to note that because all claims must be filed with the Fund by October 3, 2016, you must submit your Eligibility and Compensation Forms by this date even if it is less than two (2) years from the date your condition was diagnosed or the date the illness was added to the list of eligible conditions. Please see FAQ #1.4 for detailed information on filing deadlines.

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1.24 What happens if I missed the October 3, 2013 deadline? (Added: October 23, 2013)

The October 3, 2013 registration deadline applied only to those individuals who were diagnosed with a 9/11-related condition on or before October 3, 2011. If you were diagnosed with any 9/11-related condition after October 3, 2011, or you have not yet been diagnosed with a 9/11-related condition, the October 3, 2013 deadline does not apply to you.

The October 3, 2013 deadline also does not apply to those who have been diagnosed with an eligible cancer and those who have been diagnosed with a condition that is not on the list of 9/11-related conditions. Please see FAQ #1.4 for detailed information on filing deadlines based on individual circumstances. If the October 3, 2013 deadline applied to you and you missed the deadline, you may still be eligible for compensation for 9/11-related conditions diagnosed after October 3, 2011. You have 2 years from the date of diagnosis to register with the Fund. The Special Master does not have the authority to change the registration and filing deadlines.

There are several eligibility criteria that must be met in order to receive compensation from the Fund. If you choose to register and file a claim after October 3, 2013 for a condition that was diagnosed on or before October 3, 2011, your claim will be reviewed but you will not be considered eligible for compensation for any injury or illness diagnosed on or before October 3, 2011.

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1.25 How does the VCF protect the privacy of compensation recipients? (Added: December 10, 2013)

To maintain the privacy of individual claimants and beneficiaries, the VCF will not list names or any other identifying information that might easily lead to the identification of individuals who have been notified of their compensation decision or have received payment from the VCF.

Over time, the Special Master expects to be able to provide a breakdown of the compensation information by categories of claimants. This information will only be provided after a sufficient number of claims have been received and decided so that it is not possible to use the information to identify an individual claim.

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1.26 How will same-sex marriages be treated in the administration of the Fund? (Added: February 11, 2014)

All lawful same-sex marriages will be recognized if they were valid in the place where the marriage was celebrated. The regulations provide that the Special Master will identify the spouse of a victim by looking to the victim’s Federal tax return. Prior to June 26, 2013, same-sex married couples were prohibited from identifying themselves as married on their Federal tax returns because Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) prohibited the Federal Government from recognizing same-sex marriages. On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court held that Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional in United States v. Windsor, and the Federal Government is no longer prohibited from recognizing same-sex marriages. The Special Master will therefore recognize all same-sex marriages valid in the place where the marriage was celebrated notwithstanding that a victim’s Federal tax return filed before June 26, 2013 could not identify a same-sex spouse.

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2. Eligibility

2.1 Who is an eligible Claimant?

  • Individuals present at a 9/11 crash site at the time of or in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes and who suffered physical harm as a direct result of the crashes or debris removal.
  • The Personal Representatives of individuals who were present at a 9/11 crash site at the time of or in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes and who died as a direct result of the crashes or debris removal.

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2.2 What are the 9/11 crash sites?

Under the Zadroga Act and the final regulations, the 9/11 crash sites include:

  • The World Trade Center site, the Pentagon site and the Shanksville, Pennsylvania site
  • The buildings or portions of buildings that were destroyed as a result of the terrorist-related airplane crashes of September 11, 2001
  • The NYC Exposure Zone which consists of:
  • The area in Manhattan south of the line that runs along Canal Street from the Hudson River to the intersection of Canal Street and East Broadway, north on East Broadway to Clinton Street, and east on Clinton Street to the East River; AND
  • Any area related to, or along, routes of debris removal, such as barges and Fresh Kills

In rare circumstances, the Special Master may identify, based on additional evidence, additional areas that presented a demonstrable risk of physical harm resulting from the impact of the aircraft or any subsequent fire, explosions, or collapse of buildings (generally, the immediate area in which the impact occurred, fire occurred, portions of buildings fell, or debris fell upon and injured persons) as 9/11 crash sites.

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2.3 What is the "immediate aftermath"? When must individuals have been present at the sites to be eligible?

In order to be eligible, individuals had to be present at one of the sites at the time of the crashes or in the immediate aftermath of the crashes. The immediate aftermath of the crashes means any time during the period beginning with the crashes and ending on May 30, 2002.

To be eligible, the Zadroga Act requires an individual's presence at a 9/11 crash site prior to May 30, 2002. An individual's eligibility will not be affected by whether he or she continued to be present at a site after that date. Once an individual is deemed to have been eligible based on presence during the relevant time period, it will not be necessary for the Fund to determine the precise date that the condition was caused.

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2.4 How do I prove that the individual was present at the site? (Updated: April 18, 2014)

You will need to provide documents that establish the presence of the Claimant or decedent at the site at the time or in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. Here are some examples of documents that you can submit to show presence:

  • Employer records confirming that the claimant or decedent was present at the site. Types of documents you can submit include: letter from employer confirming work at the site, an official personnel roster and site credentials confirming work at the site, workers injury reports (documenting injury at the site), pay stub showing dates of work and location at the site.
  • Proof of residence in the area during the relevant time period – such as rent or mortgage receipts, utility bills and proof that the claimant or decedent was physically present at the site between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002. A sworn statement from a witness who can attest to your presence at the residence is sufficient.
  • Any contemporaneous document that shows your location at the site - - such as orders, instructions, confirmation of tasks performed, medical records (documenting treatment as a result of injury that occurred at the site), school or day care records confirming enrollment or attendance during the period.
  • Sworn and notarized affidavits (or unsworn statements complying with 28 U.S.C. 1746) regarding the presence of the claimant or decedent from persons who can attest to the claimant’s or decedent’s presence at a 9/11 crash site.

The documents listed above are examples of the most common types of documents used to demonstrate presence at a 9/11 site. However, this is not intended to be a comprehensive list of the various documents that may be used. If you have a document that you believe can be used to prove your presence at a 9/11 site and it does not meet one of the categories above, you should still submit the document to the VCF to be reviewed.

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2.5 If I submit documents such as employer records (confirming that I worked for a particular employer) or proof of residence (such as a rental agreement), do I still need to submit other documents regarding my presence at the site? (Updated: April 18, 2014)

Possibly. The VCF needs to have proof that you were actually present. If the employer records show that your work site was in the NYC Exposure Zone and also show that you were working at that location at some point during the relevant time period, then these documents will be sufficient. If you lived in the exposure zone, the VCF needs some document showing that you were present at your residence at some point during the relevant time period. See FAQ #2.18 for more information about submitting affidavits.

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2.6 How many documents related to my presence at the site do I need to submit? (Updated: April 19, 2012)

In general, the VCF requires two forms of proof that together or separately are sufficient to establish presence with the following exceptions:

  • a) The VCF will accept a contemporaneous document from an employer confirming that the Claimant was at the site during the relevant time period.
  • b) When an individual’s presence is based on residence in the NYC Exposure Zone, you should submit multiple documents to demonstrate residence in the area during the relevant time period (such as rent/mortgage receipts, leases, homeowners or renters insurance policies, tax returns, utility bills) and at least two documents demonstrating that the individual was present at that residence during the relevant time period (such as affidavits).

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2.7 If the original VCF (VCF1) accepted the proof of presence at the site that I submitted in support of my original claim, do I need to re-submit proof to the VCF to support my current claim? (Updated: November 22, 2011)

No. If the proof of presence at the site that you submitted in support of your original claim to the VCF1 was accepted by the VCF1, you do not need to re-submit proof of presence at the site or submit additional proof of your presence at the site. The VCF will accept the proof you submitted with your original claim as sufficient proof for your current claim. However, you may need to submit additional documents if you are claiming presence in additional locations or at additional times than in your prior claim. Also note that you must still submit other information to support your current claim.

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2.8 What type of injury must a Claimant or decedent have suffered to be eligible for compensation? (Updated: March 26, 2014)

The Zadroga Act requires an individual to have suffered "physical harm or death as a result of" one of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes of September 11, 2001 or debris removal. The VCF will compensate personal injury or death resulting from traumatic physical injuries that occurred as a result of the crashes or debris removal and in addition will compensate personal injury or death resulting from health conditions or diseases that the WTC Health Program has found to be WTC-related health conditions. As of February 18, 2014 (the date the most recent revision was made to the list by the WTC Health Program), the following are presumptively covered health conditions or diseases under the VCF:

  • Interstitial lung diseases
  • Chronic Respiratory Disorder - Fumes/Vapors
  • Asthma
  • Reactive Airways Dysfunction Syndrome (RADS)
  • WTC-exacerbated Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Chronic Cough Syndrome
  • Upper airway hyper reactivity
  • Chronic rhino sinusitis
  • Chronic nasopharyngitis
  • Chronic laryngitis
  • Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disorder (GERD)
  • Sleep apnea exacerbated by or related to the above conditions.
  • Low back pain
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)
  • Certain other musculoskeletal disorders occurring in responders and defined as "a chronic or recurrent disorder of the musculoskeletal system caused by heavy lifting or repetitive strain on the joints or musculoskeletal system occurring during" the period between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002 or as determined by the Special Master
  • Traumatic injuries
  • Certain types of cancer, as specified in FAQ 3.4

Note: the list above includes only major categories of conditions and is not meant to represent every type of eligible injury. If your 9/11-related condition or injury does not appear on the list, you should submit your information to the VCF and it will be properly categorized during the review of your claim to determine whether it is an eligible injury. Please see Section 3 for more information about eligible conditions and injuries

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2.9 For purposes of the VCF, who is a Responder? (Updated: December 5, 2011)

A "Responder" is defined as an individual who performed rescue, recovery, demolition, debris cleanup or other related services at a 9/11 crash site in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, regardless of whether the individual was a state or federal employee or member of the National Guard or performed the services in some other capacity. Therefore, you may be considered a Responder even if you performed the listed services through a private employer or on a volunteer basis. Individuals who began performing cleanup or maintenance work in the NYC Exposure Zone months after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks are not considered Responders.

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2.10 If I was not a Responder, am I eligible for the VCF?

Yes. You do not have to be a Responder to be eligible. Under the Zadroga Act, to receive a payment from the VCF, an individual must have been present at a 9/11 crash site between the time of the crashes and May 30, 2002, and have suffered physical harm or death as a result of the September 11th air crashes or debris removal.

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2.11 What medical records do I need to submit with my Eligibility Form? (Updated: May 19, 2014)

The type of medical documentation required will vary depending on the Claimant’s particular injury or medical condition and on whether or not the Claimant is being treated for the presumptively covered injury by the WTC Health Program.

  • If you have a presumptively covered condition (such as asthma or GERD) and are not submitting a claim for a traumatic injury (such as a broken ankle), you do not need to submit any medical records with your Eligibility Form to demonstrate that your presumptively covered condition was a result of the 9/11 crashes or debris removal. If the VCF needs medical records after reviewing your Eligibility Form, we will contact you and explain the specific records that are needed.

  • Once the VCF receives your Eligibility Form and the original, completed Exhibit A – “Authorization for Release of Medical Records” with original signatures, the VCF will take the following steps to obtain the necessary information:

  • First, the VCF will request information directly from the WTC Health Program to determine whether you have an eligible condition. If the WTC Health Program notifies us that you have been certified for an eligible physical condition, we accept that certification as proof of your eligible condition.
  • If the WTC Health Program does not have the necessary information to determine whether you have an eligible condition (for example, if you have not been certified for treatment under the WTC Health Program for a VCF covered condition), we will contact you to request that you provide information for the VCF “Private Physician” process. The Private Physician process is simply a way to gather information about your treatment by a non-WTC Health Program physician in order to verify your condition as eligible for compensation. These forms and instructions for completing them, as well as more detailed information on the Private Physician process, are available here. The VCF will send you the forms and instructions if needed.

  • If you have a traumatic injury that you claim was a result of the 9/11 attacks, then the VCF will need medical records to document the specific injury and when that injury was first diagnosed and treated. (See FAQ’s 3.7, 3.10 and 3.11 for further information on medical records that might be relevant to the Eligibility Form.)

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    2.12 If I applied to the original VCF, can I apply again now?

    Individuals who submitted claims in the original VCF and who did not receive compensation based on a determination that the individual would remain totally disabled for the remainder of his or her work life, may submit new claims in certain circumstances:

    • The individual suffered a new injury that is eligible under the new VCF;
    • The individual's prior eligible condition has substantially worsened, resulting in damages or loss that was not previously compensated;
    • The individual was not previously eligible for the VCF, but is now eligible as a result of changes contained in the Zadroga Act;
    • The individual's previous claim was based on a condition that was not previously covered by the VCF, but that is now covered.

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    2.13 If I participated in a lawsuit related to September 11th, can I participate in the VCF? (Updated: April 4, 2014)

    Yes – under two circumstances. First, you may participate in the VCF if you participated in a lawsuit related to September 11th as long as you withdrew from or dismissed that lawsuit on or before January 2, 2012. Under 28 C.F.R. § 104.61, any person who has filed or is a party to a lawsuit seeking damages for injuries “sustained as a result of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes of September 11, 2001, or for damages arising from or related to debris removal” may not “file a claim with the Special Master unless they withdraw from such action not later than January 2, 2012.” Second, if you filed a lawsuit for a condition that was not covered by the VCF as of January 2, 2012, then the VCF will accept claims for “newly covered conditions” if you provide proof that your lawsuit has been withdrawn before you submit an Eligibility Form. “Newly covered conditions” means a condition that was added to the list of qualified physical injuries by NIOSH after January 2, 2012 and included in the list of qualified injuries adopted by the VCF. Currently, the newly covered conditions consist of the various cancers identified in the WTC Health Program rule that became final on October 12, 2012; Prostate Cancer, which became final effective October 21, 2013; and Rare Cancers that meet the definition as explained by the WTC Health Program on February 18, 2014.

    2.13 (i). What types of lawsuits related to 9/11 events can I pursue and still file a claim with the VCF?

    There are two types of lawsuits that you can pursue and still file a claim with the VCF. First, you may pursue a civil action to recover collateral source obligations. Second, you may pursue a civil action against any person who is a knowing participant in any conspiracy to hijack any aircraft or commit any terrorist act (see FAQ 7.6 for more information on this exception).

    2.13 (ii). What do I have to submit to show that I withdrew from or dismissed my lawsuit?

    You must submit proof of timely withdrawal with your claim. For purposes of the Eligibility Form, you may submit either a court order establishing that the action has been discontinued and/or dismissed dated on or before January 2, 2012 or a notice/letter of withdrawal filed on the Electronic Case Files (ECF) system in the relevant docket on or before January 2, 2012. For purposes of receiving compensation, you must submit the final order of the court confirming the withdrawal or dismissal of all claims. That order may be dated after January 2, 2012 only if you have provided proof that you filed a notice of withdrawal on the ECF system in the relevant docket on or before January 2, 2012.

    If the condition for which you are seeking compensation from the VCF was added to the list of qualified injuries after January 2, 2012, your proof of timely withdrawal or dismissal from any lawsuit must be dated no later than the date you submit your Eligibility Form. The court order establishing that the action has been discontinued and/or dismissed, or the notice/letter of withdrawal filed on the ECF system in the relevant docket, must be dated on or before the date you submit your Eligibility Form.

    2.13 (iii). Can I participate in the VCF if I settled my lawsuit?

    You can submit a claim with the VCF if you meet the following conditions: If the lawsuit was commenced after December 22, 2003 and a release of claims in such lawsuit was tendered by the individual, or by the individual's attorney (provided the attorney has authority to tender the release) prior to January 2, 2011 and if you dismissed any claims that were not settled on or before January 2, 2012. Some individuals may have settled all their claims and in that case, so long as the release was tendered by January 2, 2011 and the lawsuit was commenced after December 22, 2003, then the individual can submit a claim to the VCF. Some individuals may have settled only some of the claims in the lawsuit. In that case, the individual must have withdrawn/dismissed the unsettled claims on or before January 2, 2012 in order to be eligible for the VCF.

    If you have participated in such a lawsuit, you must certify on your claim form that the above conditions are satisfied. The VCF also generally needs documentation establishing that your settlement complied with the regulations. In many cases, the VCF can obtain that information from third parties. For example, if you were represented by Napoli, Bern, Ripka, Shkolnik (“Napoli Bern”) in your lawsuit, you do not need to submit any documents related to your settlement because the VCF may be able to get all of the necessary information from Napoli Bern. The VCF will notify you if you need to submit any additional documents. For all other Claimants, the VCF generally needs proof documenting the amount of your settlement and the dates of commencement and release of all claims in the lawsuit. If an attorney signed and submitted the release on behalf of the individual or the individual's dependent, spouse or beneficiary, a copy of the retainer agreement with the attorney in the settled lawsuit must be submitted as proof that the attorney was authorized to sign the release. If you do not have any of these documents, you may still submit your claim form because the VCF may be able to obtain them from third parties. The VCF will notify you if it needs additional information.

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    2.14 Do I have to live in New York to participate in the VCF?

    No. You do not have to live in New York to participate in the VCF.

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    2.15 If I do not live in New York, how can I participate in the VCF?

    Claimants will be able to submit information to the VCF over the internet or through the mail. If a Claimant would like a hearing to appeal his or her award, the VCF will make every effort to accommodate long-distance hearings through video-conference or where necessary, telephone conferences.

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    2.16 Are foreign nationals or residents eligible for the VCF?

    Yes. The Zadroga Act permits both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals who satisfy the VCF's eligibility criteria to participate in the VCF.

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    2.17 NO LONGER RELEVANT (Updated: April 19, 2012)

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    2.18 If I need to submit a sworn statement/affidavit to show that I was present at a 9/11 crash site, what should that statement/affidavit contain? (Updated: November 9, 2012)

    Primary and contemporaneous documents are the best evidence that an individual was present at a 9/11 crash site. However, the Special Master recognizes that such documents may no longer exist or may be impossible to obtain. If you are unable to submit these types of documents, the Special Master will consider sworn affidavits from people who can attest to the individual’s presence at a 9/11 crash site. These affidavits will serve as acceptable proof only if official or primary forms of proof are not available and the VCF determines that such affidavits are sufficiently reliable.

    The person who signs an affidavit is known as an “affiant.” Affiants must have personal knowledge of the individual’s presence at a 9/11 crash site. As a general matter, affidavits should contain as much detail as possible about how the affiant knows that the individual was physically present at a 9/11 crash site and when the individual was present at the site. For example, affidavits should describe what the affiant and the individual were doing at the 9/11 crash site, why they were at the 9/11 crash site, how long and often they were together there, and how the affiant knows and remembers that the individual was present on the particular dates and at the particular locations. In general, the VCF expects that you may need several sentences to explain these details, though the length is not as important as the content.

    If you submit affidavits to demonstrate the Claimant’s or Decedent’s presence on 9/11, you must submit affidavits from a minimum of two people and at least one must be from an individual who is not related to the Claimant, Decedent, or the Decedent’s Personal Representative. Affidavits must either be notarized or include the following language to comply with 28 U.S.C. 1746:

    • If signed within the United States, its territories, possessions, or commonwealths, add this language: “I declare (or certify, verify, or state) under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on [date affidavit is signed]. [Affiant’s Signature]”
    • If signed outside the United States, add this language: “I declare (or certify, verify, or state) under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on [date affidavit is signed]. [Affiant’s Signature]”

    All affidavits must contain:
    • A description of how the affiant knows that the individual was present. For example, an affiant may know that the individual was at the site because the affiant was the supervisor or co-worker of the individual and accompanied the individual to the site or personally saw the individual at the site.
    • As much detail as possible about the precise times and locations that they know the Claimant or Decedent was at a 9/11 crash site. This may include specific dates, times, addresses, or buildings.
    • The reason why the individual was present (if known by the affiant).
    • A description of how the affiant knows the Claimant or Decedent and whether they are related to the Claimant, Decedent or Personal Representative of the Decedent. If the affiant and Claimant/Decedent worked together, the affidavit should include the name of the organization they were working for and describe how long they worked together, their respective job titles and relationship during the time they worked together (including whether one person supervised the other), and whether the affiant is still employed by that entity.
    • The affiant’s contact information, including address, phone number, email address or other contact information. In some cases, the VCF may request proof of the affiant’s address and/or relationship to the Claimant or Decedent or may contact the affiant.

    When an individual’s presence is based on residence in the NYC Exposure Zone, affiants should provide the information listed above and also provide:

    • The Claimant’s or Decedent’s exact address during the time they were living in the exposure zone.
    • The time period that the individual lived at that address (if known by the affiant).
    • A statement describing whether the affiant knows if the individual actually resided at that address for some period between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002 and whether the affiant is aware of any time during that period that the individual was out of town or not living at that address.

    Affidavits that do not comply with these requirements are not sufficient to establish a Claimant’s or Decedent’s presence. If the Special Master determines that an affidavit lacks the required level of detail, the claim may be denied on that basis.

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    2.19 I worked in one of the temporary morgues on pier locations on the west side of Manhattan. Will that satisfy the geographical presence requirement, even though the morgue was located outside of the NYC Exposure Zone? (Added: April 19, 2012)

    Yes. If you were an employee of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York City (OCME) involved in the examination and handling of human remains from the World Trade Center attacks, or were a morgue worker who performed similar functions for the OCME staff during the period beginning on September 11, 2001 through May 30, 2002, and you submit sufficient proof of employment and presence at that location within the statutory timeframe, you will be deemed to satisfy the presence requirement, even if those functions were performed outside of the NYC Exposure Zone.

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    2.20 I repaired, cleaned or rehabilitated vehicles or equipment that was contaminated by WTC-related debris. Will that satisfy the geographical presence requirement, even if I performed such services outside of the area in lower Manhattan as defined in the Zadroga Act and final regulations? (Added: May 16, 2012)

    Yes. In order to be eligible for compensation under the Fund, an individual must have been present at a 9/11 crash site at the time of or in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes. Under the Zadroga Act and final regulations, the 9/11 crash sites include, among other things, the NYC Exposure Zone, which is defined to include

    • The area in Manhattan south of the line that runs along Canal Street from the Hudson River to the intersection of Canal Street and East Broadway, north on East Broadway to Clinton Street, and east on Clinton Street to the East River; AND
    • Any area related to, or along, routes of debris removal, such as barges and Fresh Kills.

    For purposes of establishing presence at the site, work involving the repair, cleaning or rehabilitation of vehicles or equipment, including emergency vehicle radio equipment owned by the City of New York, that was contaminated by WTC-related debris at or along one of the official routes for the transfer of debris will be considered to involve work at an area related to, or along, routes of debris removal, even if those services were performed outside of the area in Manhattan south of the line that runs along Canal Street. Because different routes of debris removal were in use at different time periods, you must submit proof not only that you performed those services during the statutory timeframe (at some point on or between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002), but also that you performed those services before the operations at the identified locations terminated.

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    2.21 What types of documents will the VCF accept to demonstrate proof of presence at a 9/11 crash site for employees of the FDNY, NYPD or other New York City agencies or contractors hired by the City of New York to perform rescue, recovery, demolition, debris cleanup or other related services? (Revised: August 19, 2013)

    As a general rule, the VCF requires two documents to establish presence at the site, along with a verification process. All documents submitted for a claim are subject to verification and authentication procedures undertaken independently by the VCF. The types of acceptable documents may vary from agency to agency and the VCF is working with the individual New York City agencies and pension funds to identify those documents that may best provide proof of a Claimant’s presence at the site. In addition, the VCF is attempting to obtain direct access to such documents/information so that the Claimant does not need to submit the documents.

    For FDNY Claimants: Currently, the VCF has an arrangement with the FDNY in which the FDNY will provide documents directly to the VCF regarding proof of a FDNY Claimant’s presence at the site. As a result, FDNY Claimants do not need to submit any documents as proof of presence at the site unless the VCF specifically requests such documents. (See FAQ 2.26 for more information.)

    For NYPD Claimants: The NYPD will not be able to provide direct access to required documents. Accordingly, the Claimant will have to submit NYPD documents to establish presence at the site. Please refer to FAQ 2.29 for detailed information regarding acceptable types of proof of presence for NYPD Claimants.

    For Employees of Other NYC Agencies: Currently, the VCF has an arrangement with New York City Employees’ Retirement System (NYCERS) to obtain and verify information and/or documentation that may support presence for NYCERS members. NYCERS is the public retirement system for most civilian and uniformed NYC employees other than firefighters and fire officers, police and teachers. This includes but is not limited to employees of the NYC Department of Sanitation, the NYC Department of Corrections and the NYC Transit Authority, among others, as well as EMS personnel employed by the FDNY in the immediate aftermath of the September 11th attacks.

    If you worked for a New York City agency that is part of NYCERS and filed a WTC Notice of Participation form with NYCERS in order to preserve your right to file for disability under the World Trade Center (WTC) disability law, you do not need to submit any documents as proof of presence at the site unless the VCF specifically requests such documents. In order to facilitate this process, please be sure to indicate clearly (1) the name of the NYC agency that you worked for in Part II of your Eligibility Form and (2) that you are a member of NYCERS in Exhibit B1 of your Eligibility Form.

    If you worked for a NYC agency that is part of NYCERS but did not file a WTC Notice of Participation form with NYCERS, you generally need to submit two forms of proof to demonstrate that you were present at the site. See FAQs 2.4, 2.18, 2.33 and 2.34 for more information about proving presence at the site. For more information on NYCERS, see http://www.nycers.org/(S(qvecv355xae0hjr522dmd555))/about/index.aspx.

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    2.22 Am I eligible for the VCF if I started working in the NYC Exposure Zone after May 30, 2002? (Added: May 25, 2012)

    No. To be eligible, individuals must have been present at one of the sites at the time or in the “immediate aftermath” of the September 11th air crashes. The Zadroga Act defines “immediate aftermath” as “any period beginning with the terrorist-related aircraft crashes of September 11, 2001 and ending on May 30, 2002.” Therefore, if the first time that you began working in the area was after May 30, 2002, you are not be eligible for compensation for any physical injuries sustained during that work, even if that work was related to cleanup activities. The VCF must apply the time limitations that Congress established in the Zadroga Act.

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    2.23 I already submitted information about my presence at the 9/11 crash site for a lawsuit. Do I still have to provide proof of presence at a 9/11 crash site if I was approved for a settlement in my lawsuit? (Added: July 17, 2012)

    Yes. The VCF has specific requirements that are set forth by statute. The requirements to qualify for a settlement may be different from the VCF requirements. For this reason, the VCF asks that everyone submit their proof of presence information so that the VCF can determine whether you meet the specific presence requirements. For more information on satisfying this requirement, see FAQ 2.4.

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    2.24 How can I complete the questions in the Eligibility Form that ask the dates that each injury/condition was discovered, first treated, and/or first diagnosed if I do not know the exact date(s) and/or do not have medical records to verify the exact date(s)? (Updated: May 19, 2014)

    If you do not know the exact date(s) that each injury/condition was discovered, first treated, and/or first diagnosed, and do not have medical records documenting such date(s), put in the best approximate date(s) you can to the best of your personal knowledge and recollection when answering these questions on the claim form. You do not need to get your medical records to answer these questions. After reviewing your claim, the VCF will notify you if specific records are needed.

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    2.25 Will the VCF accept as proof of presence at the site the Communications Workers of America’s (“CWA”) “WTC Recovery/Cleanup Effort Exposure Information” forms which were distributed and collected by CWA local unions and provided to the CWA District 1 office in the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and which document a Claimant’s WTC-related exposure? (Added: August 13, 2012)

    Yes. Based on discussions with the CWA District 1 office regarding the process for distributing, collecting and maintaining the World Trade Center Recovery/Cleanup Effort Exposure Information forms, the VCF has concluded that it will accept these forms as proof of presence at the site if the form:

    (a) clearly identifies a VCF-qualifying date and location of service;

    (b) was created contemporaneously with your alleged exposures (i.e., you completed the form between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002); and

    (c) includes a signed and notarized statement by Micki Siegel de Hernandez, the Occupational Safety and Health Director of CWA District 1, verifying the authenticity and safekeeping of the form.

The CWA District 1 office has advised the VCF that it collected the World Trade Center Recovery/Cleanup Effort Exposure Information forms which had been distributed by CWA local unions (1101, 1102, 1103, 1104, 1105, 1106, 1108, 1109, 1123 and 1126) to members who were part of the response activities in the immediate aftermath of September 11, 2001 and has consistently maintained these forms in its files since that time. If you are a CWA member and completed this form, please contact Micki Siegel de Hernandez at 212-509-6994 to see if your form is on file and to obtain the form and the accompanying signed and notarized statement. All documents are subject to verification and authentication procedures undertaken independently by the VCF.

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2.26 I was employed by the FDNY. What kind of documents do I need to submit to show that I was present at a 9/11 crash site during the relevant time period? (Added: August 14, 2012)

You do not need to submit any documents unless the VCF specifically requests documents from you. The VCF has entered into an agreement under which the FDNY will provide documents regarding proof of a Claimant’s presence at the site. Because VCF can now obtain these documents directly from the FDNY, you do not have to compile all the material and you do not have to ask the FDNY to provide the documents to you. We hope that this will reduce your burden, avoid duplication of efforts and allow the VCF to have a more efficient process. If you have already compiled documentation, you may submit it to the VCF; however, such documentation is not necessary to process your claim. If you do not have documentation in your possession, you should not contact the FDNY or other related entities to obtain this information. Contacting the FDNY directly will not expedite the processing of your claim and, in fact, may delay claims processing by tying up limited resources at the FDNY. If the VCF needs additional information from you after reviewing the eligibility form and documentation, the VCF will notify you.

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2.27 If the person who can submit an affidavit to establish presence at the site does not speak English, may I submit an affidavit in another language? (Added: December 28, 2012)

Yes. To help to establish that a Claimant was present at a 9/11 crash site in the relevant time period, you may submit affidavits from individuals with personal knowledge of the Claimant’s presence, even if those affiants do not speak English. In these cases, you should submit the affidavit in the affiant’s native language, along with a certified English translation. You must also include a certification signed by the translator that includes a statement that the translator is competent to translate the document, and that the translation is true and accurate to the best of the translator’s abilities. The certification must also include the translator’s address and phone number. See FAQ 2.18 for further instructions that apply to all affidavits.

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2.28 What other options are available to assist claimants in obtaining documentation regarding “presence at the site”? (Updated: January 7, 2013)

The VCF is working with the WTC Health Registry to obtain information that might assist claimants. The WTC Health Registry was established in 2002 to track and monitor the health of people directly exposed to the September 11th terrorist-related attacks. Enrollment in the WTC Health Registry was voluntary and includes people who lived, worked or went to school in the area of the WTC disaster, or were involved in rescue and recovery efforts. To enroll, people completed surveys in 2003 or 2004 that included questions about the timing and location of their WTC-related exposure and their health, among other things, along with follow-up surveys in subsequent years.

For those VCF claimants who are enrolled in the WTC Health Registry, the VCF has an arrangement with the WTC Health Registry to obtain direct access to the claimant’s survey responses related to the timing and location of the claimant’s exposure, if appropriate and with the consent of the WTC Health Registry enrollee. This information may constitute one form of proof that the claimant was present at the site for purposes of establishing eligibility under the VCF. Because WTC Health Registry survey responses are protected by federal confidentiality laws, claimants must first give their permission to release these responses to the VCF. Therefore, where appropriate, the WTC Health Registry will provide the claimant with an authorization form that authorizes the WTC Health Registry to release this information to the VCF. If you do not know if you are enrolled in the WTC Health Registry or have questions about the authorization form, you can contact the WTC Health Registry by calling 866-692-9827.

Please note that enrollment in the WTC Health Registry does not in and of itself demonstrate that a claimant was present at the site for VCF purposes. However, the survey responses may help to establish presence at the site.

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2.29 What types of documents will the VCF accept to demonstrate proof of presence at a 9/11 crash site for uniformed NYPD claimants? (Updated: March 19, 2013)

The following are the types of documents that the VCF will consider as acceptable proof of presence at the site for NYPD claimants. As a general rule, the VCF requires NYPD claimants to submit at least two (2) documents to establish presence at the site. Those NYPD claimants who were active members of the NYPD at some point during the period September 11, 2001 through May 30, 2002 (“NYPD Claimants”) generally will be able to establish presence by providing the VCF with the relevant excerpts of his/her Memo Book/Activity Log as well as at least one (1) other document listed below in order to demonstrate presence. We understand that some NYPD claimants will not have Memo Books/Activity Logs (for example, members of the service above the rank of Lieutenant, members assigned to administrative positions and members required to prepare an Investigator’s Daily Activity Report). Such claimants should submit at least two (2) of the other documents listed below.

The documents submitted must clearly pertain to the named claimant and identify the date(s) and location(s) of the claimant’s WTC-related service. A complete copy of each document must be submitted, unless otherwise specified below. The VCF will review these submissions on a case-by-case basis and will notify claimants of any additional information required. All documents submitted for a claim are subject to verification and authentication procedures undertaken independently by the VCF. Please note that the NYPD will not be able to provide the VCF direct access to the below listed documents.

The VCF will continue to update this list with additional guidance when appropriate.

    • Memo Book/Activity Log (must include cover page and excerpts of relevant portions with consecutive pages)
    • Line of Duty Injury Report (must include an injury date within the relevant time period)
    • Line of Duty Control Log
    • Firearms Discharge/Assault Report
    • Aided Report Worksheet
    • Overtime Report
    • Unscheduled Overtime Report
    • Roll Call
    • Detail Roster Assignment Sheet
    • NYPD Consultation Referral – Medical Division/NYPD Surgeon Form
    • Statement of Illness/Injury
    • Daily Activity Report
    • Command Log entry
    • Exposure Report (49)
    • Medical Board Report
    • Affidavit (see FAQ 2.18 for more detail regarding affidavits)
    • WTC Notice of Participation
    • NYPD Rescue Detail badge (must include claimant's name and photo)

For civilian NYPD Claimants, please refer to FAQ’s 2.4, 2.5, 2.6, 2.18 and other related FAQ’s for more information about proving presence at the site.

If you need help obtaining documents to demonstrate that you were present at the site, please contact the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association at 212-298-9144.

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2.30 What types of documents and/or information should claimants who worked for the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey submit to demonstrate proof of presence at a 9/11 crash site, compensation and/or workers’ compensation benefits related to the claimant’s eligible WTC-related injury or condition? (Added: January 15, 2013)

The VCF has developed a process with Risk Management Planning Group (RMPG), the third party claims administrator of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey’s (“Port Authority”) self-insured workers’ compensation program, to obtain and verify certain documents and information for claimants who assert that they worked for the Port Authority at some point during the period beginning September 11, 2001 through May 30, 2002 (“Port Authority Claimant”) and who have filed a claim for workers’ compensation based on an eligible WTC-related injury or condition. For these Port Authority Claimants (including both uniformed and non-uniformed personnel), RMPG has agreed to provide the VCF with direct access to information and documents that may be useful in demonstrating (a) that a Port Authority Claimant was present at the site during the relevant time period; (b) the Port Authority Claimant’s compensation prior to sustaining the eligible WTC-related injury or condition; and (c) any workers’ compensation benefits that a Port Authority Claimant has received or is entitled to receive as a result of his/her eligible WTC-related injury condition. As a result, Port Authority Claimants who have filed a claim for workers’ compensation through RMPG based on an eligible WTC-related injury or condition do not need to submit any documents establishing presence at the site or demonstrating compensation earned from the Port Authority unless the VCF specifically requests such documents. However, RMPG does not maintain information regarding employer-provided benefits and therefore Port Authority Claimants will need to contact their human resources department to obtain that information. Moreover, if a Port Authority Claimant is also claiming a secondary source of income – i.e., additional income from a source other than the Port Authority – he/she must still submit proof of such additional income.

Please note: This process does not include the following claimants: (a) Those claimants who have not filed a workers’ compensation claim through RMPG as a result of WTC-related injuries or conditions sustained during the course of employment with the Port Authority within the relevant period (September 11, 2001 through May 30, 2002). Such claimants will need to contact their human resources department to obtain that information; and (b) Those claimants asserting presence at the site as a PATH employee during the relevant period.

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2.31 Are there other employers or third parties that may have information to help demonstrate my “presence at the site?” (Added: May 22, 2013)

The VCF is working with a number of third-party entities, such as employers and government agencies, to obtain and verify information related to Claimants’ employment and presence at a 9/11 crash site. The chart below lists those entities from whom the VCF may be able to obtain direct access to information/documentation to support presence at the site. If your employer or another entity that may have information related to your presence at a 9/11 crash site appears in the chart, please follow the specific instructions indicated. Please note that these are general guidelines and that, in some cases, the VCF may need to request additional documentation from you to establish presence at the site. The VCF will update this chart on an ongoing basis.


Entity

Who Is Covered

What Claimants Should Submit

Empire BlueCross BlueShield (“EBCBS”)

Individuals who worked for EBCBS at the World Trade Center on September 11th.

The VCF is working with EBCBS (now a subsidiary of WellPoint Inc.) to directly obtain information for Claimants who assert that they were working for EBCBS at the World Trade Center on September 11th. However, while EBCBS may be able to confirm whether a Claimant was assigned to work at the World Trade Center, it does not have attendance records that would confirm whether a Claimant was actually present at the site on September 11th. Therefore, Claimants who allege presence based on employment at EBCBS will still need to submit other evidence (such as affidavits or contemporaneous records) demonstrating that they were physically present in the NYC Exposure Zone during the period beginning on September 11, 2001 through May 30, 2002. See FAQ’s 2.4, 2.5 and 2.18 for further information.

Marriott

Individuals who worked at the Marriott located in the World Trade Center and who made a Workers’ Compensation claim

The VCF is working with Marriott to directly obtain information for Claimants who assert that they were working for Marriott in the World Trade Center on September 11th. Claimants do not need to submit any documents as proof of presence at the site, unless the VCF specifically requests such documents.

Morgan Stanley

Individuals who worked for Morgan Stanley and were present at the World Trade Center on September 11th.

The VCF is working with Morgan Stanley to directly obtain information for Claimants who assert that they were working for Morgan Stanley at the World Trade Center on September 11th. Claimants do not need to submit any documents as proof of presence at the site, unless the VCF specifically requests such documents.

Claimants who allege presence based on employment at Morgan Stanley but who were not present on September 11th will need to submit other evidence (such as affidavits or contemporaneous records) demonstrating that they were physically present in the NYC Exposure Zone during the period beginning on September 11, 2001 through May 30, 2002. See FAQ’s 2.4, 2.5 and 2.18 for further information.

New York State National Guard

Individuals who participated in the World Trade Center response while on State Active Duty

The VCF is working with the National Guard to directly obtain information for Claimants who assert that they participated in the World Trade Center response while on State Active Duty. However, while the National Guard may be able to confirm whether a Claimant was on Active Duty, it does not have records that would confirm the actual location of the work. Therefore,Claimants who allege presence based on work with the National Guard will still need to submit other evidence (such as affidavits or contemporaneous records) demonstrating that they were physically present in the NYC Exposure Zone during the period beginning on September 11, 2001 through May 30, 2002. See FAQ’s 2.4, 2.5 and 2.18 for further information.

New York State Workers’ Compensation Board (“WCB”)

Individuals who have made a Workers’ Compensation claim based on their September 11th-related work

The VCF may be able to obtain records from the WCB confirming that Claimants were physically present in the NYC Exposure Zone during the period beginning on September 11, 2001 through May 30, 2002. To do so, the VCF needs the WCB number associated with the Claimants’ Workers Compensation claim. Therefore, Claimants should submit documents reflecting their WCB number and do not need to submit any other documents as proof of presence at the site, unless the VCF specifically requests such documents.

Verizon

Individuals who participated in the World Trade Center response while working for Verizon

The VCF is working with Verizon to directly obtain information for Claimants who assert that they participated in the World Trade Center response while working for Verizon. Claimants should submit the name of their supervisor at the time they participated in the World Trade Center Response if known. Additionally, Verizon may not be able to confirm the actual location of the Claimant’s work in all cases but may be able to verify that a Claimant worked for the company during the time period. Therefore, if possible, Claimants who allege presence based on work with Verizon should also submit other evidence (such as affidavits or contemporaneous records) demonstrating that they were physically present in the NYC Exposure Zone during the period beginning on September 11, 2001 through May 30, 2002. See FAQ’s 2.4, 2.5 and 2.18 for further information.

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2.32 Can I participate in the VCF if I was a volunteer in the WTC rescue, recovery, demolition, debris cleanup or other related services and am receiving benefits from the WTC Volunteer Fund administered by the New York State Workers' Compensation Board? (Revised: August 19, 2013)

The WTC Volunteer Fund, created in 2002 and funded by the federal government, provides workers’ compensation benefits (medical and lost time/wages) for volunteers who participated in WTC-related efforts and are disabled as a result of injuries or conditions sustained in those efforts. See http://www.wcb.ny.gov/content/main/WTCVolunteerFund/Overview.jsp. Individuals participating in the WTC Volunteer Fund may be eligible to participate in the VCF if there is documentation that shows that he/she performed WTC-related services at a VCF-qualifying location and date, and that he/she has a WTC-related physical injury or condition that is covered under the VCF. See FAQ 1.2, 2.2 and 2.3 regarding VCF-qualifying locations, dates, and conditions. The VCF has an arrangement with the WTC Volunteer Fund to obtain direct access to documents in the claimant’s WTC Volunteer Fund claim file related to the timing and location of the claimant’s exposure, if appropriate. This information may establish that the claimant was present at the site for purposes of establishing eligibility under the VCF. Please note, however, that participation in the WTC Volunteer Fund does not in and of itself demonstrate that a claimant was present at the site for VCF purposes

In some cases, an individual may be receiving or may be entitled to receive benefits from the WTC Volunteer Fund for injuries or conditions that are not covered under the VCF. Individuals with multiple WTC-related physical injuries or conditions can participate in the VCF even if they have an ineligible injury or condition, so long as at least one of the injuries is eligible under the VCF.

The VCF calculates economic loss differently from the way the WTC Volunteer Fund calculates economic loss. For example, benefits paid under the WTC Volunteer Fund are calculated based on the individual’s earnings in the year prior to the injury or condition. The VCF will calculate lost earnings based on the facts and circumstances of each individual’s situation and may consider compensation from several years combined or specific years before the decrease in his/her earnings capacity as a result of his/her disability due to the eligible condition(s). See FAQ 6.18 for more detailed information about how the VCF computes economic loss. The economic loss awarded by the VCF will not be based on the amount of benefits the individual is receiving from the WTC Volunteer Fund. Also, the VCF does not have a cap on the amount of payments that can be made for an individual economic loss (in contrast to the WTC Volunteer Fund, which does have such a cap.) Additionally, the VCF provides compensation for non-economic loss, which is not included in benefits issued by the WTC Volunteer Fund. See FAQs 6.19, and 6.20 for more information about how the VCF computes non-economic loss.

Since the VCF will compute economic loss based on the date of onset of disability, the VCF will offset prior payments made by the WTC Volunteer Fund for wages lost as a result of the same injury.

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2.33 What types of documents should I submit to demonstrate proof of presence at a 9/11 crash site if I worked for a New York City agency that is part of the New York City Employees’ Retirement System (NYCERS), such as the NYC Department of Sanitation, the NYC Department of Transportation or the NYC Department of Corrections? (Added: August 19, 2013)

If you worked for a New York City agency that is part of the New York City Employees’ Retirement System (NYCERS) and you filed a WTC Notice of Participation form with NYCERS in order to preserve your right to file for disability under the World Trade Center (WTC) disability law, you do not need to submit any documents as proof of presence at the site unless the VCF specifically requests such documents. NYCERS is the public retirement system for most civilian and uniformed NYC employees other than firefighters and fire officers, police and teachers. This includes but is not limited to employees of the NYC Department of Sanitation, the NYC Department of Transportation, the NYC Department of Corrections and the NYC Transit Authority, among others, as well as EMS personnel employed by the FDNY in the immediate aftermath of the September 11th attacks. See FAQ 2.34 for more information about proof of presence for EMS personnel.

Currently, the VCF has an arrangement with NYCERS to obtain and verify information and/or documentation that may support presence for its members who file claims with the VCF. In order to facilitate this process, please be sure to indicate clearly (1) the name of the NYC agency that you worked for in Part II of your Eligibility Form and (2) that you are a member of NYCERS in Exhibit B1 of your Eligibility Form.

If you worked for a NYC agency but did not file a WTC Notice of Participation form with NYCERS, you need to submit two forms of proof to demonstrate that you were present at the site. See FAQs 2.4 and 2.18 for more information about proving presence at the site.

For more information on NYCERS, see http://www.nycers.org/(S(qvecv355xae0hjr522dmd555))/about/index.aspx.

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2.34 What types of documents should I submit to demonstrate proof of presence at a 9/11 crash site if I worked as an EMT or paramedic for the FDNY? (Added: August 19, 2013)

If you worked as an EMT or paramedic for the FDNY and filed a WTC Notice of Participation form with the New York City Employees’ Retirement System (NYCERS) in order to preserve your right to file for disability under the World Trade Center (WTC) disability law, you do not need to submit any documents as proof of presence at the site unless the VCF specifically requests such documents. Currently, the VCF has an arrangement with NYCERS to obtain and verify information and/or documentation that may support presence for EMS personnel. In order to facilitate this process, please be sure to indicate clearly on your Eligibility Form (1) that you were employed by the FDNY as an EMT or paramedic in Part II and (2) that you are a member of NYCERS in Exhibit B1 of your Eligibility Form.

If you did not file a WTC Notice of Participation form, the VCF may be able to directly obtain information and/or documentation from the FDNY on your behalf that may support presence at the site. The VCF and FDNY will evaluate these claims on a case-by-case basis and will advise you accordingly. In the meantime, in order to expedite the processing of your claim, you should compile and submit two affidavits or other forms of proof to demonstrate that you were present at the site. See FAQs 2.4 and 2.18 for more information about proving presence at the site.

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3. Physical Injuries or Conditions Eligible for Compensation for Personal Injury or Death

3.1 If I did not experience any physical injury or death as a result of September 11th, but I experienced emotional or mental harms as a result of the events, am I eligible for the VCF?

No. When Congress first created the VCF in 2001, it directed that only Claimants who have a "physical injury" can be eligible for the VCF, and then-Special Master Ken Feinberg interpreted that phrase to mean "a physical injury to the body," thus excluding claims for psychological conditions. In the Zadroga Act, Congress did not change how the VCF treats psychological conditions. As a result, the VCF is not able to accept claims solely for psychological conditions. This means that claims for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder are not eligible for compensation in the VCF.

The WTC Health Program does provide options for treatment of psychological conditions. For information about whether you may be eligible for treatment for emotional or mental harms by the WTC Health Program, you may contact them by phone at 1-888-WTC-HP4U (1-888-982-4748), or on the web at www.cdc.gov/wtc.

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3.2 If I have a physical condition that was a result of September 11th but is not a common condition, am I eligible for the VCF? (Updated: December 5, 2011)

Yes. Individuals who suffered injuries as a result of September 11th and who meet the other eligibility requirements may submit a claim, even if their condition is not common across the population.

The Special Master has identified an initial list of presumptively covered physical injuries and conditions. (See FAQ 1.2). Generally, these are the only physical injuries or conditions that the VCF will compensate. However, in rare, extraordinary circumstances, individuals with other physical conditions may also be eligible for an award.

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3.3 I do not see my injury on the list of presumptively covered conditions. Will the list of covered conditions change? (Updated: April 4, 2014)

The VCF will consider modifications to the list of presumptively covered conditions based on the determinations of the WTC Health Program. The initial list of presumptively covered conditions has been modified three times since the VCF reopened on October 3, 2011 – first on October 12, 2012 when certain cancers were added, a second time on October 21, 2013 when Prostate Cancer was added, and a third time on February 18, 2014 when the definition of Rare Cancers was revised. In all instances, the VCF added the conditions after they were added to the list of conditions eligible for treatment under the WTC Health Program.

The list includes only major categories of conditions and is not meant to represent every type of eligible injury that falls within each category. If your 9/11-related condition or injury does not appear on the list, you should still submit your Eligibility Form with details about your 9/11-related diagnosis to the VCF for review.

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3.4 Is cancer covered by the VCF? (Updated: April 4, 2014)

Yes. The Zadroga Act did not include cancer in its initial list of conditions that were eligible for monitoring or treatment under the WTC Health Program. However, on October 12, 2012, the WTC Health Program added certain cancers to the List of WTC-Related Health Conditions. This list was then updated on October 21, 2013 when Prostate Cancer was added and again on February 18, 2014 when the definition of Rare Cancers was revised and examples of certain Rare Cancers meeting the definition were added. Click here for the complete list of cancers certified to date by the WTC Health Program.

According to the WTC Health Program:

[L]isting a cancer as a WTC-related health condition does not necessarily mean that a cancer in an individual WTC responder or survivor will be determined to be WTC-related. Each WTC responder and survivor enrolled in the Program will go through a physician's determination and Program certification process to assess whether their individual cancer meets the statutory definition of a WTC-related health condition. When determining whether an individual's cancer has been contributed to, aggravated by, or caused by their exposures at the 9/11 sites, individual medical history and exposure assessment are used as part of the determination and certification process. Guidelines for physician determinations regarding WTC-related health conditions are jointly developed by the Clinical Centers of Excellence (CCEs) and the WTC Health Program for all conditions currently on the List. The CCEs and WTC Health Program will develop additional assessment information for use by physicians in making determinations regarding whether an individual's 9/11 exposure may have contributed to, aggravated, or caused their cancer.

The VCF will accept cancers that are certified for treatment by the WTC Health Program. Individuals who have been diagnosed with one of the specified cancers are eligible for compensation from the VCF provided the cancer is certified for treatment by the WTC Health Program and provided the claimant meets the VCF’s other eligibility criteria. You do not have to participate in the WTC Health Program in order to submit your claim to the VCF. If you are being treated by another program or by another physician for a covered cancer, the VCF will provide you with specific forms and instructions to use to obtain information from that physician and will then seek guidance from the WTC Health Progam as to whether your condition meets the standards adopted for certification. For further information on the VCF’s eligibility criteria, see Section 2 of the FAQs.

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3.5 If I have a physical condition that is on the list of presumptively covered conditions, does this mean I am definitely going to be compensated by the VCF?

No. In order to be eligible for compensation, individuals must establish that they were present at a 9/11 crash site (as defined in the regulations) between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002, that their physical harm is a direct result of the terrorist-related crashes or the debris removal, and that their physical injury was treated by a medical professional within a reasonable time from the date the injury was discovered. Thus, a Claimant who has one of the covered conditions will be eligible if these other conditions for compensation are met.

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3.6 How will the VCF determine if an injury or condition was a result of September 11th? (Updated: December 5, 2011)

The VCF will apply guidelines consistent with those adopted by the WTC Health Program. The WTC Health Program relies on the best available science to determine whether a particular condition is related to September 11th and provides a protocol for doctors to determine whether a particular individual's condition is a WTC-related health condition.

To be compensable, the injury must be a direct result of the crashes or debris removal. The VCF will have to examine the facts of each claim to determine whether the claimed injury qualifies for compensation. Injuries that are not directly caused by the attacks or debris removal will not be eligible for compensation. For example, if an individual assigned to help with cleanup activities in nearby buildings was injured in an automobile accident on the way home from work, the injuries sustained in that accident might not be compensable. However, if that same individual also suffered from one of the presumptively covered conditions, then that condition might be compensable if all other eligibility requirements are met.

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3.7 How do I prove that my presumptively covered condition is a result of the crashes or debris removal? (Updated: May 19, 2014)

Anyone who is certified for treatment under the WTC Health Program for a physical injury meets this proof requirement. You will still need to satisfy all other eligibility requirements in order to be compensated by the VCF. (Not all conditions that can be certified by the WTC Health Program are compensable under the VCF. For more information see FAQ 3.19.).

If you are not being treated by the WTC Health Program for a condition for which you are seeking compensation from the VCF, you will need to provide information for the VCF “Private Physician” process. The Private Physician process is simply a way to gather information about your treatment by a non-WTC Health Program physician in order to verify your condition as eligible for compensation. The forms and instructions for completing them, as well as more detailed information on the Private Physician process, are available here. The VCF will send you the forms and instructions if needed. You have two options in terms of the timing for submitting this information:

  • 1. You may wait to hear from the VCF regarding your eligibility for the conditions listed in your claim form. The VCF will request information directly from the WTC Health Program about your claimed conditions before making an eligibility determination. If the WTC Health Program is not able to certify your condition, you will be notified and will then have the opportunity to submit the private physician information in support of your claim.

  • 2. You may submit this information with your Eligibility Form if you know that the WTC Health Program will not have a record of you in their database or will not be able to provide information to confirm the specific condition you are claiming is compensable under VCF guidelines (see FAQ 3.6).

If the information submitted by your physician(s) does not provide all of the information the VCF needs, we will contact you and request additional medical records. Once all of the information is received, the VCF will work closely with an independent medical expert and the WTC Health Program to review the information and make a determination.

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3.8 How can I find out if I am eligible for treatment by the WTC Health Program that commenced on July 1, 2011?

Consult the WTC Health Program website at www.cdc.gov/wtc for information about the monitoring and treatment programs.

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3.9 What if I am not being treated by the WTC Health Program that commenced on July 1, 2011? Can I still participate in the VCF?

Yes, you can still file a claim and seek to participate.

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3.10 Do I need to submit any medical records to the VCF if my condition has been certified for treatment under the WTC Health Program after July 1, 2011? (Updated: May 19, 2014)

Eligibility Form: In general, you will not need to submit medical records with your VCF Eligibility Form if your condition has been certified for treatment by the WTC Health Program (and if your condition is a presumptively covered condition under the VCF rules). After reviewing your claim form, the VCF will advise you if any particular medical records are necessary in order to process your claim. Please see FAQ 2.11 for more information on when you may need to submit medical records with your Eligibility Form.

Compensation Form: You will need to submit medical records if you are claiming a disability. In general, the VCF will need documents and records that demonstrate that you have a disability and the cause of the disability. In some cases, the VCF will also need additional medical records to assist in the evaluation of the disability claim. The VCF will provide guidance to Claimants and will make specific requests for medical records as necessary. See FAQ 6.32 for information on specific medical records that you must submit with your Compensation Form.

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3.11 If I need to submit medical records, do they need to be “certified” medical records? What are “certified” medical records? (Updated: July 24, 2012)

If you are required to submit medical records (for example, if you are claiming a traumatic injury in your VCF claim), you will be required to submit certified medical records. Certified medical records are records with a certificate attached, usually signed by the custodian of records for the particular office or facility, affirming that the pages are true and accurate copies of records in the patient’s file.

If you have already gathered your medical records and they are not certified, you may submit those along with a signed affidavit or statement explaining when and from whom you collected those records. The VCF will notify you if additional records are needed or if it is necessary for the VCF to obtain confirmation from the original custodian of the records.

For information on whether you might need to submit medical records and when to do so, see FAQ 2.11 (for general information), FAQ 3.10 (for information when your condition has been certified for treatment under the WTC Health Program after July 1, 2011), and FAQ 6.32 (for information on determination of economic loss and records that should be submitted with the Compensation Form).

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3.12 If I first developed my presumptively covered condition before September 11th, 2001, but it has gotten worse since then, can I still participate in the VCF?

If you developed your condition before September 11, 2001, you may still be eligible for compensation if your condition has gotten worse since that time and the VCF determines that your exposure to airborne toxins, other hazards or adverse conditions resulting from the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks is substantially likely to be a significant factor in aggravating the condition.

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3.13 If I have suffered a physical injury as a result of September 11th, but I never sought medical treatment for the injury, am I eligible for the VCF?

The Zadroga Act and the final rules limit compensation to individuals who were "treated by a medical professional within a reasonable time from the date of discovering" the physical harm. A "reasonable time" will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

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3.14 If I have suffered a physical injury as a result of September 11th but am still able to work, am I eligible for the VCF?

Yes. Individuals who are still able to work may receive compensation for other economic losses they may have suffered, such as medical expenses, or for non-economic losses.

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3.15 Will side effects from taking September 11th-related medications be covered by the VCF?

This may depend on the circumstances of your particular condition. The Zadroga Act provides for the VCF to base awards on the losses that each Claimant has suffered as a direct result of September 11th. Whether side effects arising out of medications taken to treat a covered condition are themselves directly related to September 11th will depend on the type of condition, the nature of the medication and the side effects, and other factors that may vary from individual to individual.

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3.16 If I have multiple conditions as a result of September 11th, will the VCF cover all of them?

As long as each condition was caused as a direct result of September 11th, the VCF will consider all of the conditions suffered by each eligible Claimant in determining the economic and non-economic loss. However, the method for determining compensation will depend on proof of economic loss. The VCF will not provide multiple awards or awards for each condition.

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3.17 If I am found eligible for the VCF, what treatments are covered?

The VCF does not provide treatment. The VCF will consider the cost of treatment - to the extent that it is not reimbursed - in determining economic loss.

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3.18 What standards apply for an individual who has died? (Updated: October 23, 2013)

The same standards regarding physical injury apply. That is, if an individual died as a result of a presumptively covered physical injury, health condition or disease that was a direct result of the September 11th crashes, then the Personal Representative of that individual may file a claim with the VCF. If the individual died of causes unrelated to September 11th, a claim may still be filed by the Personal Representative if the decedent was diagnosed with a 9/11-related condition prior to his or her death and if the other eligibility criteria are met.

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3.19 If I have a condition that has been certified for treatment under the WTC Health Program after July 1, 2011, am I automatically eligible to recover from the VCF for that certified condition? (Added: July 24, 2012)

Not necessarily. First, the VCF can only provide compensation for physical injuries. If you have a mental health condition, including PTSD, that is certified for treatment under the WTC Health Program, that condition is not eligible for compensation by the VCF. Second, even if you have a certified physical condition, you must also meet all the other eligibility requirements of the VCF in order to be compensated by the VCF. For example, you will need to submit proof to show that you were present at the crash sites as defined in the VCF regulations, and you must submit proof that you timely settled or withdrew from a September 11th related lawsuit.

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3.20 How will the VCF determine whether the injury or condition is “certified” by NIOSH for deceased individuals? (Updated: April 4, 2014)

If the Decedent had a condition that was certified for treatment under the WTC Health Program: The VCF may be able to obtain the necessary records directly from the WTC Health Program. In order for the VCF to obtain these records, you must submit Exhibit A to the Eligibility Form - "Authorization for Release of Medical Records". Please note you must mail an original version of the form with your original signatures (no copies) to the VCF. It is possible that the VCF will need additional records and if so, the VCF will notify you and provide instructions.

If the Decedent’s injury or condition was treated by physicians or programs other than the WTC Health Program: You will need to complete the “Assessing Exposure Worksheet” and the “Treating Physician Information Form" and provide any relevant records to support the diagnosis. This information will enable the VCF (with the assistance of the WTC Health Program) to determine whether the Decedent had a condition resulting from the air crashes or debris removal.

The instructions for completing the forms are available here. You have two options in terms of the timing for submitting this information:

1. You may wait to hear from the VCF regarding the Decedent's eligibility for the conditions listed in the claim form. The VCF will request information directly from the WTC Health Program about the Decedent's claimed conditions before making an eligibility determination. If the WTC Health Program is not able to certify the condition(s), you will be notified and will then have the opportunity to submit the private physician information in support of your claim.

2. You may submit this information with your Eligibility Form if you know that the WTC Health Program will not have a record of the Decedent in their database or will not be able to provide information to confirm the specific condition(s) claimed is compensable under VCF guidelines (see FAQ 3.6).

Once all of the information is received, the VCF will work closely with an independent medical expert and the WTC Health Program to review the information and make a determination. If the records obtained from the physician(s) do not provide all of the information the VCF needs, the VCF will contact you and request additional medical records.

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3.21 How do I submit a new claim, or supplement my existing claim, to include cancer as a claimed condition? (Updated: May 5, 2014)

The Personal Injury and Deceased Individual claim forms include cancer in the list of eligible conditions included in Part III of the form. If you have already started or submitted your claim and you need to add one of the covered cancers, please follow the guidance below:

Claimants who have started an online claim but have not yet submitted it: Go to the “Part III – Physical Injury” tab and select the appropriate cancer from the list. If you are claiming a Rare Cancer or Childhood Cancer, please select “Rare Cancer” or “Childhood Cancer” from the list and enter the specific type of cancer in the text field. Please be sure to review all of the previously entered data to confirm it is still accurate and make any necessary updates as you work through the claim form.

Claimants who have already started a hard copy claim form and do not want to start a new one: In Part III of the claim form, mark the appropriate cancer on the list. If you need a new page of the claim form, you can download and print it here or call the toll-free Helpline at 1-855-885-1555 to request that a copy of the claim form page be mailed to you. Once completed, mail the page to the Fund with your complete claim form package.

Claimants who have already submitted their claim form online: Follow the directions in FAQ 4.16 to amend your claim to add cancer as a claimed condition.

Claimants who have already submitted their hard copy claim form: If you want to amend your claim online, follow the directions in FAQ 4.13 to access the online system and in FAQ 4.16 to amend your claim to add cancer as a claimed condition. If you want to amend your claim by mail, send a letter to the Fund requesting that the specific cancer(s) be added to your claim. The letter to the Fund must include your claim number, full name, Social Security Number, contact information, and the claimed cancer from the list of eligible cancers.

To speed processing time and reduce administrative costs, you are encouraged to upload completed documents to your online claim. If mailing the documents, please send them to:

      By mail:
      September 11th Victim Compensation Fund
      P.O. Box 34500
      Washington, D.C. 20043

      By overnight mail:
      September 11th Victim Compensation Fund
      1220 L Street NW
      Suite 100 - Box 408
      Washington, DC 20005-4018

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3.22 What is the process that NIOSH will use to determine whether to “certify” a cancer that has been added to the list of WTC conditions? (Added: December 13, 2012)

NIOSH has issued guidelines that it will follow in determining whether to certify a cancer for treatment under the WTC Health Program.

The NIOSH guidance states: “Before a claimant can receive treatment or monitoring for a type of cancer, a physician must first determine whether the type of cancer is included in the List of WTC-Related Health Conditions and whether the member’s exposure to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks was substantially likely to have been a significant factor in aggravating, contributing to or causing the type of cancer.”

The NIOSH guidelines contain date of diagnosis information for each category of cancer. Cancers diagnosed before the specified date generally will not be eligible.

For further details on the NIOSH process, guidelines and dates of diagnosis please see the World Trade Center Health Program Instructions for Requesting Certification for Types of Cancer.

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3.23 I have been found eligible for some conditions, but I have additional conditions that I believe are eligible and could affect my compensation award. What can I do? (Updated: October 23, 2013)

If the VCF finds that you have satisfied all eligibility requirements, it will notify you as to which conditions are eligible. The VCF determines your eligible conditions based on information it receives from the WTC Health Program. That is, any physical condition that the WTC Health Program certifies for treatment will be eligible in the VCF. Conditions that the WTC Health Program does not certify for treatment are not eligible. If you are not being treated by the WTC Health Program, or if you are being treated by the WTC Health Program for only some of your conditions, then the VCF will need to obtain information from your private physician and submit that information to the WTC Health Program for a determination as to whether the condition(s) satisfy the standard for certification for treatment under that program.

The list of eligible conditions in your notification letter may not exactly match the list of conditions you claimed on the claim form for several reasons. For example, there may be several alternative descriptions for the same injury. Also, your condition may not appear in the eligibility letter if the WTC Health Program has recently certified it for treatment. The VCF regularly receives updated information from the WTC Health Program, and you will be notified if additional conditions have been found eligible.

The VCF will determine the amount of your compensation based solely on the conditions that have been found eligible. Once you receive your compensation calculation letter, you have the right to appeal. As part of this appeal, you may request that the VCF consider whether additional injuries should be eligible. To consider the appeal, the VCF may request additional information or records from the physicians treating those conditions. If the VCF determines that the additional injuries are eligible, it will revise your compensation calculation to reflect any losses caused by the additional eligible injuries.

Note: The Zadroga Act requires that you must file a claim within two years of the date you were diagnosed with a 9/11-related condition. (See FAQ #1.4 for more information on the deadlines). The VCF will consider all conditions listed in your eligibility form to be filed as of the date of your registration – even if these conditions are not considered eligible by the VCF for purposes of determining the amount of your compensation.

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3.24 Will Prostate Cancer be added to the list of conditions eligible for compensation from the VCF? (Updated: April 4, 2014)

On September 19, 2013, the WTC Health Program issued a Final Rule adding Prostate Cancer to the list of covered conditions effective October 21, 2013. Since the Health Program issued a final rule adding Prostate Cancer, the Fund has implemented procedures to add that cancer to the list of covered conditions. The Fund will follow the determination of the Health Program as to the requirements for determining whether a particular individual’s Prostate Cancer is causally related to the 9/11 events.

All claimants who have a covered condition must meet the Fund's other eligibility criteria, such as proving presence at the World Trade Center site between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002, that their physical harm is a direct result of the terrorist-related crashes or the debris removal, and that their physical injury was treated by a medical professional within a reasonable time from the date the injury was discovered.

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3.25 What is the process that the WTC Health Program uses to determine whether to “certify” a non-cancer condition (aero-digestive disorder) for treatment under the WTC Health Program? (Added: February 14, 2014)

On December 16, 2013, the WTC Health Program published the guidelines that it follows in determining whether to certify an aerodigestive disorder for treatment under the program. The term “aerodigestive disorder” includes the following specific types of WTC-related health conditions: Interstitial lung disease; chronic respiratory disorder—fumes and vapors; asthma; reactive airways dysfunction syndrome (RADS); WTC-exacerbated chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); chronic cough syndrome; upper airways hyperreactivity; chronic rhinosinusitis; chronic nasopharyngitis; chronic laryngitis; gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD); and sleep apnea exacerbated by or related to one of the other listed conditions.

The WTC Health Program guidance states: “In order for a health condition to be certified, a Clinical Center of Excellence (CCE) or Nationwide Provider Network (NPN) physician must first make a determination that an individual's WTC exposure to airborne toxins, other hazards, or adverse conditions resulting from the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks (9/11 exposure) is substantially likely to be a significant factor in aggravating, contributing to, or causing an individual’s health condition.” This guidance is consistent with earlier certification guidance provided by the WTC Health Program.

The recently published guidelines provide information about the maximum amount of time allowed between the individual’s WTC exposure and the onset of symptoms of an aerodigestive disorder for purposes of determination and certification of the disorder as a WTC-related health condition. That guidance states: “To determine whether a condition meets the time period set forth in the guidance, the WTC Health Program looks at the period of time between the last day of the individual’s 9/11 exposure and the earliest date of symptoms of the aerodigestive disorder under consideration.”

As the Special Master has frequently stated, the VCF will follow the WTC Health Program’s determinations of eligible diseases and conditions. The VCF will accept the WTC Health Program’s certification as proof that the claimant has an eligible condition. For claimants who are not members of the WTC Health Program, the VCF will use the same guidelines to verify whether an aerodigestive disorder is WTC-related. To be eligible for compensation from the VCF, the claimant must also satisfy the other VCF eligibility requirements.

For further details on the WTC Health Program process and guidelines, please see the World Trade Center Health Program Time Intervals for New Onset Aerodigestive Disorders.

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3.26 Will the Rare Cancers added on February 18, 2014 to the WTC Health Program list of covered conditions be added to the list of conditions eligible for compensation from the VCF? (Updated: April 4, 2014)

Yes. On February 18, 2014, the WTC Health Program issued a Final Rule revising the definition of Rare Cancers and added examples (not a complete list) of Rare Cancers that meet the definition to the list of covered conditions. Since the WTC Health Program issued an interim final rule adding these cancers, the Fund will implement procedures to add them to the list of covered conditions. The Fund will follow the determination of the WTC Health Program as to the requirements for determining whether a particular individual’s Rare Cancer is causally related to the 9/11 events.

All claimants who have a covered condition must meet the Fund's other eligibility criteria, such as proving presence at the World Trade Center site between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002, that their physical harm is a direct result of the terrorist-related crashes or the debris removal, and that their physical injury was treated by a medical professional within a reasonable time from the date the injury was discovered.

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3.27 Does the date my condition or disease started matter? (Added: August 20, 2014)

Yes. The WTC Health Program has set specific minimum and maximum timeframes between an individual’s 9/11 exposure and the onset of symptoms related to an eligible condition. These timeframes are different for each category of injuries. The WTC Health Program general guidelines are summarized below. We encourage you to visit the WTC Health Program website to understand the complete details on your specific condition and the process used to evaluate each individual’s unique circumstances.

  • Cancers: The WTC Program Administrator has determined minimum time periods for five types or categories of cancer eligible for coverage in the WTC Health Program. The Administrator has determined that a minimum time period – referred to as “latency’ – must have elapsed between the initial date of an individual’s exposure and the date of initial diagnosis of the individual’s cancer. Details on the latency periods for cancer can be found here.
  • Aerodigestive Disorders: The WTC Program Administrator has determined maximum time intervals for four of the five categories of eligible aerodigestive disorders - obstructive airways, upper respiratory diseases, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) co-occurring with another WTC-related aerodigestive disorder, and isolated GERD. The time interval is measured based on the last day of an individual’s 9/11 exposure and the earliest date of an individual’s symptoms of the aerodigestive disorder. The fifth category, interstitial lung disease, has no associated maximum time interval. Details on the maximum time intervals for aerodigestive disorders can be found here.
  • Musculoskeletal Disorders: There is a statutory deadline of treatment on or before September 11, 2003 for musculoskeletal disorders. See 42 U.S.C. § 300mm-22(a)(4).

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4. Application Process

Note: FAQs 4.3-4.8 were renumbered on November 22, 2011 and December 5, 2011.

4.1 What do I have to do to apply to the VCF? Which application form should I complete?

To apply for compensation from the VCF, you must complete one of two forms:

  • Claimants who have suffered personal injuries as a result of the aircraft crashes or debris removal should complete the Eligibility and Compensation Form for Personal Injury Claimants.
  • Personal Representatives of individuals who have died as a result of such aircraft crashes or debris removal must complete the Eligibility and Compensation Form for Deceased Individuals.

These forms will collect information about your eligibility for the program and about the amount of your economic and/or non-economic loss.

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4.2 Where do I get the application form and how do I submit it? (Updated: November 22, 2011)

The application forms are available online and for those who do not have access to a computer, the VCF will mail a form upon request. In order to ensure efficient processing of your claim, the Special Master strongly encourages you to complete and submit the form electronically through the VCF's website at www.vcf.gov. However, those Claimants who are unable to use the electronic process can download and print the forms from the VCF.gov website or request a hard copy form by calling the toll-free Helpline at 1-855-885-1555. Once you have completed your hard copy claim forms, please maile the forms and supporting documents to:

By mail to:

September 11th Victim Compensation Fund

P.O. Box 34500

Washington, D.C. 20043

By overnight mail to:

September 11th Victim Compensation Fund

1220 L Street NW

Suite 100 - Box 408

Washington, DC 20005-4018

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4.3 NO LONGER RELEVANT (Updated: November 22, 2011)

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4.4 What does it mean to register for the VCF? (Updated: August 13, 2013)

The registration process allows individuals who may be interested in filing a claim to create an online account and begin the process of providing information that will be required to file a claim with the VCF. This registration process does not create a claim and you are not waiving any rights or claims by registering. By submitting the information requested, you will be registering with the VCF either as a potential claimant or a representative of a potential claimant. Please see FAQ #1.4 for information on the deadlines for registering and filing a claim.

The registration process will ask you to provide basic information on (i) the potential Claimant who was injured or harmed, or the deceased individual who died as a result of the air crashes of September 11, 2001 or the subsequent debris removal, (ii) if applicable, the authorized guardian or representative who would be filing the potential claim on behalf of such individual (such as the guardian of a minor child or Personal Representative of a deceased individual), and (iii) if applicable, the attorney or other individual who is assisting the potential Claimant or authorized representative. In addition, the registration form requests basic information about the status of the potential Claimant, including the potential Claimant’s “presence” at a 9/11 crash site during the period between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002.

Click here to begin your online registration. You will be guided through a series of steps to set up an online account and complete the registration information. If you are not able to register online, you can register by completing Part I of the hard copy Eligibility Form and mailing it to the Fund.

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4.5 NO LONGER RELEVANT (Updated: December 5, 2011)

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4.6 NO LONGER RELEVANT (Updated: April 9, 2013)

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4.7 Which application form should I complete if I am filing on behalf of somebody who suffered a physical injury as a result of the aircraft crashes or debris removal but has since died from an unrelated cause?

You should complete the Eligibility and Compensation Form for Personal Injury Claimants and explain the situation in Section I.B of that form.

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4.8 Once I file the claim form, what will happen? (Updated: May 5, 2014)

Click here for a detailed overview of the steps in the claim review process. The VCF will begin reviewing and evaluating your claim once it receives your filed Eligibility Form and required supporting documents. If you are deemed ineligible, you will have the opportunity to appeal that decision to the Special Master. If you are deemed eligible, the VCF will begin reviewing and evaluating your Compensation Form once it is submitted. You will be notified in writing of the amount of your calculated loss and the VCF will process your initial pro-rated payment. You may appeal the calculated amount if you believe that the amount is incorrect.

If your circumstances change after receiving your loss calculation letter (for example, you are diagnosed with a new injury or you incur additional economic losses as a result of your eligible conditions), you may amend your claim at any point up until October 3, 2016. Please see FAQ 4.16 for information on how to amend your claim.

If you appeal or amend your claim, you will be notified in writing of the outcome and any change to the amount of your calculated loss. If the amount of your calculated loss increases as the result of an appeal or amendment, you will receive an additional pro-rated payment.

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4.9 Is it possible for law firms or other organization to submit claimant information in a “group” or “bulk” format so that the law firm can submit multiple claims at the same time? (Updated: June 22, 2012)

Yes. The VCF website offers a Bulk Upload feature to allow law firms the ability to upload claimant information for a large number of claimants efficiently. This feature can be used for the Registration portion of the claim. Please reference the Bulk Upload webpage for the latest details on this feature.

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4.10 If I currently have a presumptively covered health condition but I think it may get worse, should I wait until then to file my claim? (Updated: August 15, 2014)

No, file your claim now. You must register no later than two (2) years from the date you were first diagnosed with your 9/11-related condition. Please see FAQ #1.4 for detailed information on the deadlines for registering and filing a claim.

After registering, the next step is to submit your Eligibility and Compensation Forms. If your injury or condition gets worse or if you have additional economic losses due to your eligible condition, you may then amend your claim. See FAQ #4.16 for directions on how to amend your claim.

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4.11 Can I print my claim form? (Added: August 22, 2012)

The online system includes the ability to print your claim form at any point in the process. This means that you can print a full copy of the completed or partially completed claim form for your records. To print a copy of the form:

1. Select either “Claimant Registration” or “Claims Process” from the main menu bar.

2. Click on the “Print Form” link located next to your claim number.

3. The form will open as a PDF file and any information you have entered into the online application will be populated into the appropriate places on the form.

4. Use your computer’s print function to print the entire form or specific pages. You may also save a copy of the file to your computer.

Please note that in order to use the print feature, the system will first download and store on your computer a PDF file containing your claim form responses. You can then print this file for your records. If you are using a public or shared computer, you may want to delete the file after you print it, since it contains personal information.

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4.12 How do I upload additional documents to my claim once I have submitted the Eligibility form online? (Added: January 24, 2013)

After submitting your Eligibility form online, you can continue to upload documents to your claim by following these steps:

1. Log into the claims system and click on the “Claimant Search” tab on the main menu bar.

2. On the Claimant Search screen, you will see a table with your claim number and a “View Details” icon to the far right.

3. Click on the “View Details” link.

4. A screen will open showing details about your claim. Click on the “Document Upload” tab.

5. Browse for the file you would like to upload, choose the file from your computer, and then click “Select” to identify the type of document you are uploading. Be sure to carefully read the full list of document types before choosing the one that most accurately describes the type of document you are uploading to your claim.

6. Click “Upload File”. Once the file has uploaded, you should see the message “File Uploaded Successfully” in the bottom of the Document Upload box.

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4.13 Can I access my claim online if I originally filed on paper? (Updated: May 5, 2014)

Yes. If you filed your claim on paper and would like to access your claim online, you must first register in the online system, including creating a user name and password. Click here to access the online system. Follow the directions to register and create an online account.

Once you have a user name and password, please call the toll-free Helpline at 1-855-885-1555 to request online access to you claim. For the hearing impaired, please call 1-855-885-1558 (TDD). If you are calling from outside the United States, please call 1-202-353-0356. Please be sure to have your claim number when you call. Your claim number should have been mailed to you when you first submitted your Eligibility Form.

Once your online access is granted, log in to your online account and click on the “Claims Process” tab, which is the third button from the left in the gray bar beneath the banner. You will see a table with your VCF number, your name, and the status of your Registration, Eligibility and Compensation forms. You can access your claim and submit new information by clicking on the appropriate link from this table.

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4.14 Are there different forms for responders to the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania sites? (Added: April 4, 2014)

No. The Eligibility and Compensation Forms are the same for all claimants. The forms include questions where you will indicate the specific location and details of your 9/11-related activity. The only form that is different based on the location of your 9/11-related activity is the “Assessing Exposure to the September 11, 2001 Attacks” form that is used as part of the Private Physician process. If you are required to complete this form, you will be asked to use the version specifically for Pentagon and Shanksville, PA responders.

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4.15 What should I do if a claimant dies after filing a Personal Injury Eligibility Claim Form with the VCF? (Added: April 4, 2014)

If a claimant who has filed a Personal Injury claim dies, the VCF will stop processing the Personal Injury claim. When a claimant dies, the VCF cannot process the claim until a Personal Representative of the deceased claimant is appointed. Then, the Personal Representative of the deceased claimant will need to file a new claim using the Eligibility Form for Deceased Individuals. Please see FAQ 5.3 for information about what a Personal Representative should submit.

If any documents were mailed to the VCF or uploaded as part of the Personal Injury claim, they do not need to be resubmitted when filing the new claim as the VCF will transfer them to the new claim once it has been submitted.

Please note that the VCF will not be able to communicate with anyone regarding the status of the previously filed claim until the Personal Representative has been established by the appropriate court and the required documentation has been submitted to the VCF (see FAQ 5.3).

The Personal Representative may complete the Eligibility Form for Deceased Individuals using the online claims system or the form can be downloaded here. If the Personal Representative already has a user account for the online system, he/she can begin the new claim form by logging into the existing account and clicking on “New Registration”. Once an answer is provided for the Registration question that asks if the Claimant is deceased, the system will guide you to the appropriate portions of the claim form to complete, including information about the authorized Personal Representative and the applicable Attestations, Certifications and Exhibits.

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4.16 How do I amend my claim? (Updated: May 5, 2014)

You may amend your claim after submitting your Eligibility and/or Compensation Forms if you meet one of the following circumstances:

  • You are diagnosed with a new 9/11-related injury or condition;
  • Your injury or condition substantially worsens, resulting in economic loss that was not previously compensated;
  • You have incurred additional economic losses due to your eligible injury or condition;
  • You have information in support of your claim that was not submitted to the VCF when your loss amount was determined and that you believe would impact the amount of your calculated loss.

In some instances, the Special Master may wait to render the initial Eligibility or Compensation decision on your claim before reviewing any new information submitted as an amendment.

Follow the guidance below to amend your claim:

Claimants who have already submitted their claim form online: Log in to your claim. Go to the “Claims Process” screen to check the current status of your Eligibility or Compensation Form and then take one of the following actions:

  • If the status of your Form is “Submitted”: Click on the “Submitted” status under “Eligibility Status” or “Compensation Status” (depending on the nature of your amendment). Go to the part of the form you need to change and add or modify the existing information. You may also upload any new documents to the claim. Please be sure to click “SUBMIT CLAIM FORM” on the right hand side of the screen under “Section Status” so that your claim returns to a “Submitted” status and the VCF knows it is ready for review. If the “Submit Claim” option does not show on the screen, it means the information you added or changed was not properly saved and you should review and complete the missing information.

  • If the VCF has started to review your Form or has already rendered a decision: Because you will not be able to edit the information previously submitted with your claim form, go to the “Claims Process” screen and click on the number in the “# of Amendment(s)” column. If the column shows “N/A”, it means the amendment feature is not available and you should follow the instructions above for claims in “Submitted” status. If this is your first amendment to the claim, the number “0” will show in the column. You will be taken to the Amendments screen where you can view previously submitted amendments or submit a new amendment. Please note that previously submitted amendments can be viewed by clicking on the amendment number but cannot be edited.

  • To Add a New 9/11-related Condition: Click on “Add Condition(s)”. Select “Yes-Amend Claim” to confirm you want to amend your claim. Select the new condition from the drop down list and click “Save Injury”. If you have more than one condition to add, click “Add Another Condition” and continue to add and save the injuries until you have entered all of the new conditions. Once all new conditions have been entered, you may enter comments into the text field provided. Click “Submit Change” to submit your amendment. You will return to the “Amendments” screen where you can amend your Compensation Form (if applicable) or click “Return to Claims Process”.
  • To Add New Compensation Information or Claim Additional Losses: Click on “Compensation Change”. Select “Yes-Amend Claim” to confirm you want to amend your claim. Select one or more categories from the list to indicate the type of change you would like the Special Master to consider: Medical Expenses, Loss of Earnings, Replacement Services or Collateral Offsets. In the text box, provide details of the changes you are requesting to your previously submitted Compensation Form. Click “Submit Change” to submit your amendment. You will return to the “Amendments” screen where you can add a new condition to your Eligibility Form (if applicable) or click “Return to Claims Process”.

You will know your amendment has been submitted when the number in the “# of Amendment(s)” column in the “Claims Process” screen increases.

If you have documents to support your amendment: Once you have submitted the amendment, you can upload supporting documents to your claim. If you are adding a new injury or condition to your Eligibility Form - select “Request for Consideration of Additional Conditions” as the document type. If you are uploading documents to your Compensation Form, please select the document type that most closely matches to the type of document being uploaded. Please see FAQ #4.12 for instructions on uploading documents to your claim.

Claimants who have already submitted a hard copy claim form: Please write a letter to the VCF requesting to amend your claim and mail it with any supporting documents to:

      September 11th Victim Compensation Fund
      P.O. Box 34500
      Washington, D.C. 20043

      By overnight mail:
      September 11th Victim Compensation Fund
      1220 L Street NW
      Suite 100 - Box 408
      Washington, DC 20005-4018

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4.17 How do I update my contact information or the contact information for my authorized representative or attorney? (Added: May 5, 2014)

If you filed your claim online: Log in to your account and go to the “Claims Process” screen. Click on “Submitted” under “Registration Status”. Update the information directly into the appropriate tab and click “Save and Continue”. The information will be updated and saved and the system will automatically move you to the next tab. Although you will be taken to the next tab, you are not required to edit the previously entered information unless it has changed. Once you have completed all updates, select from the options on the Main Menu at the top of the screen to continue working with your claim or to log out of the system.

If you submitted a hard copy claim form: Send a letter to the VCF with the following information: Claim Number, Claimant Name, Representative Name (if applicable), the contact information originally submitted with the claim, and the new or updated contact information you would like changed. We will update our records to reflect the new information.

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5. Personal Representative

5.1 Who is the Personal Representative of a deceased individual?

The Personal Representative is the individual authorized to submit a claim on behalf of a deceased individual. The Personal Representative is normally the individual who is appointed by a court of competent jurisdiction - such as a State surrogate or probate court - as one of the following:

  • The Personal Representative of the Decedent's will or estate;
  • The Executor of the Decedent's will; or
  • The Administrator of the Decedent's estate.

In many or most cases, the identity of the "Personal Representative" will not be in dispute. In very limited circumstances, the Special Master has the authority to appoint a Personal Representative for the VCF where a court has not done so. See FAQ 5.3.

Note: The Personal Representative is not necessarily the person who ultimately will receive the award. The Personal Representative is required to distribute the award in a manner consistent with the law of the Decedent's domicile or any applicable rulings made by a court of competent jurisdiction. However, in order to assure that the families of deceased individuals receive adequate compensation, the regulations further provide that the Personal Representative shall, before payment is authorized, provide to the Special Master a plan for distribution of any award received from the VCF. Notwithstanding any other provision of these regulations or any other provision of State law, in the event that the Special Master concludes that the Personal Representative's plan for distribution does not appropriately compensate the Decedent's spouse, children, or other relatives, the Special Master may direct the Personal Representative to distribute all or part of the award to such spouse, children, or other relatives.

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5.2 How do I get appointed Personal Representative by a State court?

Since State law governs the designation of Personal Representatives, the Special Master generally advises Claimants to work with the probate or surrogate court in the State or country where the Decedent lived to become the Decedent's Personal Representative. The process varies by State and country.

In general, to be designated as the Personal Representative when there is a will, you will be required to bring the Decedent's will to court. If there was no will, you may need to provide other relevant documentation to prove your relationship to the Decedent.

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5.3 How do I show that I am the proper Personal Representative of the deceased individual for filing a claim with the VCF?

In most cases, if you have been appointed as the Personal Representative, executor, or administrator by a court, you should provide copies of relevant legal documents, such as court orders, letters testamentary, letters of administration, or similar documentation.

If you have not been appointed by a court as the Personal Representative of the Decedent or as the executor or administrator of the Decedent's will or estate, and you believe you cannot get such an appointment, you may ask the Special Master to appoint you as the Personal Representative for the VCF. To do so, you will need to show why you were unable to get a court appointment, and you will need to provide additional documents showing you satisfy one of two additional requirements. If you were named as the executor in the Decedent's will, you will need to provide the will. If there is no will, you will need to demonstrate you were next in line of succession under the laws of the Decedent's domicile governing intestacy. Documents demonstrating proof of your relationship to the Decedent may include:

  • For a spouse, a copy of the marriage certificate or joint tax return;
  • For a child, a copy of the child's birth certificate or Decedent's tax return;
  • For a parent, a copy of the Decedent's birth certificate;
  • For a brother or sister, a copy of the brother's or sister's birth certificate and the Decedent's birth certificate.

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5.4 What is Domicile?

A "domicile" is a permanent home. Although a person may have more than one residence, he or she may only have one domicile at any time. While residence means living in a particular locality, domicile means living in that locality with intent to make it a fixed and permanent home. Proof that someone intends to remain indefinitely in a particular location may include: voting registration, place of employment, current residence, location of real and personal property, location of the spouse and family, driver's license, automobile registration, location of bank accounts, payment of taxes and the tax return address. For example, if a Claimant entered the Navy and left New York temporarily to live in a home in Ohio during the course of service, but he or she always intended to return to New York after the service, the domicile would be New York. A Claimant from England, who maintained a permanent address in England, but resided in New York on an extended business trip, would be a domiciliary of England.

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5.5 I was appointed as the Personal Representative of a deceased individual’s estate by a Surrogate’s Court in the State of New York, but the letters of administration contain restrictions on my authority to file, prosecute and compromise a claim. Does this affect my ability to file a claim with the VCF? (Added: March 15, 2013)

No. The September 11th Victims and Families Relief Act (enacted May 21, 2002) removes many of the limitations from the letters of administration issued by Surrogate’s Courts in the State of New York. The law provides that a Personal Representative appointed by a Surrogate’s Court can file, prosecute and compromise a claim even if there are restrictions in the letters of administration. See 2002 N.Y. Laws Ch. 73 (S.7356). Specifically, the law states “Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, or any restrictions set forth in letters relating to any decedent who dies as a result of wounds or injury incurred as a result of the terrorist attacks on September eleventh, two thousand one, a duly appointed personal representative is authorized to file and prosecute a claim with the fund, and the filing of such a claim for an award from the fund, and the resulting compromise of any cause of action pursuant to the act, shall not violate any restriction on the powers granted to the personal representative relating to prosecution or compromise any action, the collection of any settlement, or the enforcement of judgment.” Id. § 4(e)(3), amending N.Y. EST, POWERS & TRUSTS § 11-4.7(e)(3). The VCF will process claims submitted by Personal Representatives who have letters with restrictions.

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5.6 Does the VCF have an expedited process to appoint the Personal Representative of a deceased individual in cases of financial hardship or where there are exigent circumstances? (Added: July 9, 2014)

In general, the VCF prefers that claimants obtain a court appointment as Personal Representative prior to filing a claim on behalf of a deceased individual. However, the VCF understands that some families face substantial expenses and that court procedures can take a long time and be costly. In particular, families may face hardship when an individual who filed a Personal Injury claim with the VCF passes away before the claim is finalized and the family does not have the resources to seek a court appointment or faces immediate expenses related to the death of the individual. For those (and similar) situations, the VCF has an expedited Personal Representative appointment process.

Expedited Personal Representative Appointment Process

If you believe that you are the proper Personal Representative for a deceased individual’s VCF claim, and you are facing exigent circumstances (such as the situation described above), you should take the following steps:

First, you must file an Eligibility Form for Deceased Individuals. Please note that if the deceased individual had already filed a Personal Injury Eligibility Form before his or her death, the VCF will stop processing that Personal Injury claim and wait to receive the new Eligibility Form for Deceased Individuals. (See FAQ 4.15 for more information.) If the deceased individual had submitted documents in support of the Personal Injury claim, you will not need to re-submit those same documents.

Second, you must submit the following documentation:

  • A written explanation describing why you were unable to obtain a court appointment.
  • A written explanation describing your financial hardship or exigent circumstances.
  • A statement indicating whether or not you know of anyone else who has been named executor of the deceased individual’s will or who has been appointed or has applied to be appointed as (a) Personal Representative, (b) the executor of the deceased individual’s will, or (c) the administrator of the deceased individual's estate, and if so, explain.
  • Submit a copy of the will if the deceased individual had one.
  • If you were not named as the executor of the will or if there is no will, you must demonstrate you are next in line of succession under the laws of the deceased individual’s domicile governing intestacy. To do so, you should submit the following documents (as appropriate):
  • If the deceased individual was your spouse, a copy of your marriage certificate or joint tax return;
  • If the deceased individual was your parent, a copy of your birth certificate or deceased individual’s tax return showing your relationship;
  • If the deceased individual was your child, a copy of his or her birth certificate;
  • If the deceased individual was your brother or sister, a copy of your birth certificate and the deceased individual’s birth certificate.

If the Special Master appoints you as the Personal Representative for the deceased individual’s claim, you sufficiently document your financial hardship, and the individual died from an eligible injury, you may also request that the Special Master issue an expedited award for non-economic loss and/or burial expenses. For more information on non-economic loss for deceased individuals, please see FAQs 6.20 and 8.11. The Special Master will review these requests on a case-by-case basis and the appointment of a Personal Representative pursuant to the process outlined above will not guarantee the issuance of an expedited award.

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6. Compensation Computations

6.1 Will the amount of awards be the same as in the VCF's first iteration, or will they be reduced?

The methodologies for computing economic loss will be based on those from the original VCF, with certain updates in the components of the economic loss calculation assumptions as appropriate. The Special Master will publish guidance on an ongoing basis regarding these computations. The amount that each Claimant will receive will depend on the amount of documented economic loss (if any), the non-economic loss, the offsets applied, the number of Claimants, and the aggregate amount of eligible awards. In the Zadroga Act, Congress appropriated $2.775 billion to pay all of the awards, which means that the VCF cannot pay out any more than that amount. This means that if the aggregate amount of awards and administrative costs exceeds this capped amount, the awards will have to be reduced. The VCF cannot determine whether such a reduction will be necessary until it receives and evaluates all the claims.

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6.2 How much money can I receive from the VCF? How do I figure out how much I will get?

All awards will generally consist of the same three components and will be calculated as follows:

Economic Loss plus Non-economic loss minus Collateral source payments

To determine economic loss, the Special Master will consider any prior loss of earnings or other benefits related to employment, medical expense loss, replacement services loss, and loss of business or employment opportunity. The final regulations provide set presumed non-economic awards for deceased individuals, but because every physical injury is unique, the Special Master may determine presumed non-economic losses on a case-by-case basis for physically injured Claimants. The Special Master must then subtract any collateral offsets received or eligible to be received.

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6.3 What is economic loss?

Economic loss is an estimate of the compensation that would have been available to the family or eligible survivors of the deceased individual or the injured individual if the tragedy had not occurred and may include:

  • Medical and other out-of-pocket expense loss;
  • Loss of earnings or other benefits related to employment because of disability or death; and/or
  • Replacement services loss.

Economic loss consists of two aspects - prior loss and future loss. Prior loss includes non-reimbursed expenses that the Claimant or Decedent has already incurred as a result of the qualified injury, as well as earnings and other compensation that the Claimant or Decedent has already lost due to work he or she has missed as a result of the qualified injury. Future loss represents an estimate of the future compensation (including wages, salary, and benefits) that an individual would have earned if he or she had not died or sustained an injury resulting in an ongoing disability or reduction in future compensation. Future loss also includes future medical expenses and replacement services that a disabled Claimant will incur in the future.

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6.4 Can I apply for both prior loss and future loss?

Physically injured Claimants may apply for both past and future loss but should only do so if they actually have sustained past losses and if their qualified injury results in an ongoing disability. Claims submitted on behalf of deceased individuals may seek compensation for any out-of-pocket expenses incurred before the individual's death, as well as for lost future compensation and/or replacement services.

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6.5 If I have not yet suffered economic harm, but fear that I may suffer economic harms in the future, should I submit a claim to the VCF now? (Updated: August 15, 2014)

Yes. You must register no later than two (2) years from the date you were first diagnosed with your 9/11-related condition. This requirement applies whether or not you have suffered economic harm as a result of your condition. For detailed information on claim filing deadlines, please see FAQ #1.4.

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6.6 If I have not yet suffered economic harm, but my condition is expected to worsen, am I eligible for the VCF? (Updated: August 15, 2014)

Yes. You must register no later than two (2) years from the date you were first diagnosed with your 9/11-related condition. This requirement applies whether or not you have suffered economic harm as a result of your condition. For detailed information on claim filing deadlines, please see FAQ #1.4.

After registering, the next step is to submit your Eligibility and Compensation Forms. If your injury or condition gets worse or if you have additional economic losses due to your eligible condition, you may then amend your claim. See FAQ #4.16 for directions on how to amend your claim.

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6.7 Do I need to list every single medical expense I have incurred as a result of my condition? (Updated: August 15, 2014)

You will need to identify every expense for which you seek compensation from the VCF and provide supporting receipts, invoices or other documentation. When submitting invoices and receipts, it helps speed the review of the claim if you provide the following information:

  • Categorize the expenses by eligible condition
  • Explain very clearly what the expenses are for
  • Add the expenses up by category and make sure subtotals are correct
  • Confirm that the expense has not been paid by another entity (for example, insurance, prior health programs, workers comp)
  • If providing a list of pharmacy expenditures, identify the actual prescription(s)
  • If you are not sure if the expense is eligible, include it and add a note that you would like the VCF to review the expense and determine whether or not it is eligible

If the expense is covered by the WTC Health Program, it is not eligible and you should not include it with your claim.

Please be careful to only submit receipts for expenses that are directly related to your 9/11 condition. If you submit receipts for ineligible or unrelated conditions, it slows our review process and the expenses will be denied.

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6.8 Can I seek compensation for medical losses I have incurred even if I was covered by health insurance?

You may seek compensation for out-of-pocket losses. If your health insurance paid for the medical treatment, then you do not have an out-of-pocket loss.

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6.9 Can I seek compensation for my health insurance premiums?

If you are determined to be permanently and totally disabled and unable to work as a result of the qualified injury, then the computation of economic loss will include any benefits provided by your employer that you will lose because of your injury. You will need to submit documents to support the health insurance premium costs.

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6.10 What does "loss of earnings to date" mean?

Claimants who have previously missed work due to their physical condition may be compensated for their loss of earnings from that missed work. This consists of salaries, tips, bonuses, benefits, and other compensation.

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6.11 What if I missed work but was still paid because of sick leave, vacation days, or comp time?

The VCF will not compensate you for time you missed from work but for which you were still paid as sick leave, personal days, comp time, or other similar payments.

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6.12 What type of documents do I need to submit to prove that I missed work and lost earnings?

You will have to submit documentation showing that you in fact missed work as a result of the qualified injury. Such documentation may include letters from employers, documentation from an employment file, or documentation or determination from a workers' compensation board. In addition, you will need to document the amount of compensation lost. In general, such documentation will consist of documents from your employer.

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6.13 What is included in the definition of income for military personnel?

Military service members' and uniformed service members' compensation includes all of the various components of compensation, including, but not limited to, basic pay (BPY), basic allowance for housing (BAH), basic allowance for subsistence (BAS), Federal income tax advantage (TAD), overtime bonuses, differential pay, and longevity pay.

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6.14 What are replacement services? (Updated: August 15, 2014)

Replacement services are household services that the Claimant provided to the household. Such services include cleaning, cooking, child care, home maintenance and repairs, and financial services, among many others.

In order to be compensated for replacement services, you must demonstrate that you performed the service prior to having your eligible condition and that the eligible condition in fact now prevents you from performing the service. Replacement services loss is intended to replace something that was lost – that is, something you used to do and now cannot do because of your eligible condition. If you are claiming replacement services loss, it is helpful if you submit a checklist of services (identifying hours per week) and/or a narrative statement. Please also review the Compensation Form Tip Sheet.

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6.15 If my career is cut short as a result of a condition that is compensable under the VCF, will my award take into account lost wages?

Yes. The Zadroga Act provides for the VCF to take into account a Claimant's future loss of earnings as a result of a physical injury caused by September 11th.

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6.16 If my career is cut short as a result of a condition that is compensable under the VCF, will my award take into account decreased pension benefits as a result of the shorter career?

Yes. The Zadroga Act provides for the VCF to take into account a Claimant's loss of earnings and other benefits related to employment.

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6.17 Is the value of the pension earned by a deceased individual taken into consideration in computing claim award amounts?

Yes. The value of the pension that the Decedent would have received but for his or her death is considered as an income component as part of the Decedent's employer-provided benefits.

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6.18 Would you provide more information about the procedures for calculating the presumed economic loss? (Updated: October 31, 2012)*

The calculation of presumed economic loss will generally follow the guidelines established in the original VCF. The Special Master will continue to review relevant developments that may affect the calculation of economic loss and will post any comments or updates. In general, the presumed economic loss both for claims on behalf of Deceased individuals and for claims of injured Claimants who are unable to work or whose earnings capacity has decreased as a result of the Claimant's disability due to the eligible conditions will be determined based on the individual's previous work history, compensation level and age.

In general, the VCF will use the following procedures and assumptions for determining economic loss:

1. Establish the Decedent's or injured Claimant's age and compensable income at death or at the time the Decedent or injured Claimant was unable to work or had to reduce work as a result of eligible conditions.1 Income will be determined based on the documents submitted with the claim. Generally, the Special Master will consider the three calendar years of employment history before the Decedent's death or decrease in the Decedent's or injured Claimant's earnings capacity as a result of the Decedent's or injured Claimant's disability due to the eligible condition(s). However, the Special Master may consider other factors or other years or combinations of years in evaluating the claim.

2. Determine after-tax compensable income by applying the average effective combined Federal, State and local income tax rate for the Decedent's or injured Claimant's income bracket currently applicable in the State of the Decedent's or injured Claimant's domicile for tax purposes. The Special Master will consider the Decedent's or injured Claimant's tax returns as well as effective income tax rates derived from published Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data on selected income and tax items for Individual Income Tax Returns by State.2 Effective income tax rates derived from IRS data for New York are attached as Table 1.

3. Add the value of employer-provided benefits. These benefits will be set at actual levels if data are provided. If the claimant does not provide data, the VCF will apply the same assumptions that were used in VCF1. The VCF will assume that the pension is 4% of pension-eligible compensable income and that medical benefits are $2,400 per year in current year dollars and will be adjusted for applicable inflation. (To prepare the presumed award tables, the Special Master assumed that individuals would have benefits equal to 4% of compensable income and medical benefits of $2,400 per year.)

4. Determine a measure of the Decedent's or injured Claimant's expected remaining years of workforce participation using the tabulated work-life expectancies for the Decedent's or injured Claimant's age at the time of death or at the time the Decedent or injured Claimant was unable to work or had to reduce work as a result of eligible conditions contained in the publication, "Worklife in a Markov Model with Full-time and Part-time Activity" by Kurt V. Krueger, Gary R. Skoog, and James E. Ciecka in the Journal of Forensic Economics, 19 (1) 2006, pp.61-82. These are the most recent and generally accepted tables of work-life expectancy regarding the general population available.

Work-life expectancies are based on actual experiences and behavior of the general population and measure the estimated remaining time in years an individual of a given age will be in the labor force (either employed or actively seeking work), allowing for age-specific mortality risks and rates of workforce transitions. The Special Master will use the expected work-life for Active Males, with a full-time beginning labor force state, to compute expected remaining years of workforce participation for both male and female Decedents and injured Claimants. The work-life expectancies are attached as Table 2. Because published estimated work-life expectancies by gender are lower for women than men, this specification increases the duration of estimated foregone earnings, and thus presumed economic losses, for female Decedents and injury Claimants and was implemented by the Special Master to accommodate for potential increases in labor force participation rates of women.

5. Project compensable income and benefits through the Decedent's or injured Claimant's expected work-life using growth rates that incorporate an annual inflationary or cost-of-living component, an annual real overall productivity or scale adjustment in excess of inflation, and an annual real life-cycle or age-specific increase derived using data on average full-time year around earnings by age bracket from the 2010 Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly survey of households conducted by the Bureau of the Census for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This survey is widely recognized as the primary source of data on employment status and workforce characteristics of the civilian non-institutional population ages 16 years and older. Because age-specific observed life-cycle increases for all males were higher than observed life-cycle increases for both men and women combined, the Special Master elected to incorporate the life-cycle increases for males into earnings growth for all Decedents or injured Claimants, both male and female.

Independent of life-cycle increases, inflation and real overall productivity increases of 2% and 1%, respectively, were applied each year. These rates of increase are consistent with the long-term relationship between economy-wide wage growth and risk-free interest rates, which currently reflect lowered inflationary expectations. A schedule containing age-specific earnings growth rates reflecting the combined inflation, overall productivity and life-cycle increases is attached as Table 3. The Special Master has determined that individual age-specific growth rates, rather than growth independent on a particular age bracket at death, better reflects the expected pattern of earnings over one's career3 and results in more equitable and consistent projections for Decedents or injured Claimants close to each other in age with otherwise similar family and employment characteristics.

6. To better reflect contingencies that the Decedents or injured Claimants would have faced, all future earnings amounts will be adjusted for a factor to account for the risk of unemployment because lifetime jobs are not representative of the modern economy. This adjustment is made because work-life expectancies are based on years of expected workforce participation, which, as defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, include periods an individual is either working or seeking work. Historical unemployment rates were examined and a reduction factor of 6% was applied to presumed earnings to account for this risk.4

7. For claims for Deceased individuals, subtract from annual projected compensable income and benefits the Decedent's share of household expenditures or consumption as a percentage of income, using expenditure data by income level obtained from "Table 2. Income before taxes: Average annual expenditures and characteristics, Consumer Expenditure Survey, 2009," published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This subtraction is a standard adjustment in evaluating loss of earnings in wrongful death claims because some amount of the income the Decedent would have contributed to the household would have been consumed personally by the deceased and not available to other household members. A Decedent's expenditures were calculated as a share, based on household size, of certain expenditure categories. For married or single with dependents, these expenditure categories include Food, Apparel & Services, Transportation, Entertainment, Personal Care Products and Services, and Miscellaneous. For single without dependents, Housing, Education and Health are also included.5 For lower income categories where total expenditures exceed income, expenditures were scaled to income, so as not to reduce income for expenses potentially met by other forms of support. This approach was intended to avoid a penalty to the claimant. Table 4 shows calculated consumption rates by income bracket and for various household sizes.

In determining household size for claims for deceased individuals, the Special Master will assume that children will remain in the household through age 18. Consumption rates calculated using alternative techniques were considered but found to produce higher personal consumption rates and were not ultimately used to determine the Decedent's household consumption offset. Although the consumption rates determined from BLS data actually represent household expenditures as a percent of before-tax household income, the actual consumption reduction used to determine the Decedent's personal expenditures was calculated as a percent of lower after-tax income, which significantly reduces the resulting offset.6 In addition, the Decedent's or injured Claimant's consumption is determined as a share of the Decedent's or injured Claimant's own earnings only, rather than the standard share of total household earnings. This further lessens the resulting subtraction, compared to personal consumption offsets typically applied in litigation, if there are other earners in the household.

8. Calculate the present value of projected compensable income and benefits using discount rates based on a weighted average of historical yields on mid- to long-term U.S. Treasury securities, adjusted for income taxes using a mid-range effective tax rate.7 Because the period of presumed economic losses is either longer or shorter, depending on the Decedent's or injured Claimant's age, the present value calculations are performed using yields on a blend of securities with longer or shorter times to maturity. For computational efficiency, three blended after-tax discount rates were used, depending on the Decedent's or injured Claimant's age as of date of death or time the Decedent or injured Claimant was unable to work or had to reduce work as a result of eligible conditions, and assumed to apply for all years forward. These rates are shown on Table 5, attached.8 The present value adjustments will be based on the period of presumed economic loss (which is in turn based on the age of the Decedent or injured Claimant).

9. The computation methodology adopts a number of assumptions implemented to facilitate analysis on a large scale. When viewed in total, these assumptions are designed to benefit the claimants and are more favorable than the standard assumptions typically applied in litigation. For example, the Special Master considered that over the course of their projected careers, younger Decedent's or injured Claimant's could expect to cross into higher income brackets, and be subject to corresponding higher income tax rates, on account of experience-based real lifetime earnings growth in excess of economy-wide national wage increases. To calculate presumed economic losses, however, whatever income tax rate corresponded to the Decedent's or injured Claimant's determined compensable income bracket as of date of death or time the Decedent or injured Claimant was unable to work or had to reduce work as a result of eligible conditions was assumed to apply for the remainder of the Decedent's or injured Claimant's career, without increase. Likewise, the calculations of presumed economic losses also assume that the personal consumption percent corresponding to the Decedent's or injured Claimant's determined compensable income bracket as of date of death or time the Decedent or injured Claimant was unable to work or had to reduce work as a result of eligible conditions applies for the remainder of the Decedent's or injured Claimant's career, without decrease. It was determined that the net effect of these and other facilitating assumptions was to increase the potential amount of presumed economic loss to the benefit of the claimant.

Please click here for detailed Economic Loss Illustrations.



* These revisions are necessary to ensure that these factors are implemented in a manner consistent with VCF1.

1 Income up to the IRS 98th percentile of wage earners is considered.

2 Average combined effective income tax rates by earnings bracket were calculated based on an analysis of IRS data for the most recent tax years available: 2007, 2008, and 2009.

3 Real life-cycle increases are typically higher in the earlier stages of one's career, one reason being unrealized opportunities for advancement and promotion that individuals in later stages of their careers have already experienced. During the course of an individual's career, the rate of annual real life-cycle growth tends to gradually decline until a peak real earnings level is attained. Although CPS and other data used to study lifetime earnings profiles indicate that peak real earnings typically decline at some point, in calculating life-cycle earnings growth in excess of inflation and overall productivity adjustments for Decedents and injured Claimants, the Special Master has assumed that peak earnings are maintained.

4 Application of individualized unemployment rates by age or occupation was infeasible and determined to be unnecessary.

5 Other standard expenditure categories sometimes included in litigation, namely Reading, Cash Contributions, Alcoholic Beverages, and Tobacco Products, were excluded.

6 These alternative techniques included an analysis of BLS data on household expenditures reported by household size, with expenditure categories allocated equally among household members or allocated according to the methodology suggested by authors Robert Patton & David Nelson in their 1991 Journal of Forensic Economics article, "Estimating Personal Consumption Costs in Wrongful Death Cases."

7 The tax rate used to determine after-tax interest rates is the computed combined Federal, State and Local income tax rate of 15.1% for New York for the $70,000 earnings bracket. Although it is recognized that a different after-tax interest rate could theoretically be calculated for each age, income, and state combination, such a computation was impracticable for the large-scale valuations to be undertaken here. It was determined that the benefit to the claimants of calculating the Decedent's personal consumption offset as a percent of after-tax individual earnings more than outweighed the potential effect of discounting future amounts by income-specific after-tax discount rates. Moreover, computation of the after-tax discount rate using a relatively high combined New York income tax rate, compared to other states, results in a lower after-tax discount rate. The lower the after-tax discount rate, the higher the present value of presumed economic loss.

8 The blended discount rates, before tax adjustment, shown on Table 5 imply real interest rates in excess of inflation of 2.1%. 1.8%, and 1.2%, depending on the average time to maturity consistent with the average duration of presumed losses.


Table 1
Table 2
Table 3
Table 4
Table 5

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6.19 What is non-economic loss?

The Zadroga Act defines non-economic loss as losses for physical and emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, mental anguish, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of society and companionship, loss of consortium (other than loss of domestic service), hedonic damages, injury to reputation, and all other non-pecuniary losses of any kind or nature.

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6.20 How will non-economic loss be calculated? (Updated: August 19, 2013)

Each person who was killed or injured in the September 11th attacks suffered grievous harm, and each person experienced the unspeakable events of that day in a unique way. Some individuals experienced terror for many minutes, as they were held hostage by terrorists on an airplane or trapped in a burning building. Some individuals had no warning of what was coming and died within seconds of a plane hitting the building in which they worked. While these circumstances may be knowable in a few extraordinary circumstances, for the vast majority of individuals these circumstances are unknowable.

After extensive fact finding, public outreach, and review of public comments in the original VCF, the Special Master and the Department of Justice concluded that the most rational and just way to approach the imponderable task of placing a dollar amount upon the pain, emotional suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and mental anguish suffered by the thousands of individuals killed or injured by the September 11th attacks was to assess the non-economic losses for categories of Claimants. The most obvious distinction is between those who died and those who suffered physical injury but survived. The regulations therefore set a presumed award for non-economic losses sustained by individuals who died as a result of the September 11th aircraft crashes or subsequent debris removal: $250,000, plus an additional $100,000 for the spouse and each dependent of the deceased individual. The latter figures - $100,000 for the spouse and each dependent - included a non-economic component of "replacement services loss." For the new VCF, the Special Master and the Department of Justice determined that no change from these figures is warranted, and so the presumed non-economic awards for deceased individuals will remain the same.

As before, non-economic awards are not pre-determined for physically injured Claimants, since each injury is unique. Instead, non-economic awards are determined based on the extent of physical harm – measured by the impact on the Claimant’s ability to work and to conduct activities of daily living. The non-economic loss is not based on the number of eligible conditions. As an example, a Claimant who suffered a severe traumatic injury that is permanently disabling and will require ongoing treatment will have a greater non-economic loss than a person who suffered a short term injury that has been treated and resolved. A Claimant who has a respiratory condition that prevents full-time work and that restricts the Claimant’s ability to participate in activities of daily living and recreational activities will have a higher non-economic award than a Claimant who has a milder respiratory condition that has not resulted in reduced work and has had a mild effect on daily activities. The current VCF will calculate non-economic awards as they were calculated in the original VCF. In the original VCF, the vast majority – around 90% - of non-economic awards for respiratory conditions ranged from $25,000 to $125,000. In some cases, the awards were lower (as low as $2,000) and in a few cases, the awards were higher (greater than $150,000). Again, the difference in the awards is based on the unique facts and circumstances in each claim, though the same general methodology is applied consistently across all claims. In general, when the eligible physical conditions have a consistent, sustained and severe impact on a Claimant’s daily life (such as when the eligible conditions disable the Claimant from working), the non-economic award will generally range between $90,000 and $125,000. When the claim demonstrates mild impairment on daily life, or if the eligible conditions are reasonably well-controlled through medication, the non-economic award will generally be in the range of $40,000. In other situations, the award will generally be $25,000 or less. Again, these are general benchmarks and awards may vary as each claim is evaluated individually.

It is important to note that the Zadroga Act does not permit the Fund to compensate individuals for mental or emotional injuries. Only physical injuries are eligible for compensation from the Fund.

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6.20.1 What type of documents should I submit to prove the extent of my non-economic loss? (Updated: August 15, 2014)

The types of documents listed below are commonly used to demonstrate the extent of non-economic loss. Please only submit documents that are related to your eligible conditions. Please also review the Compensation Form Tip Sheet.

  • Documents that show the medical treatments you have had for your condition, including hospitalization and surgery or reports of chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
  • Test results that show the extent of your condition. For example, many people with respiratory injuries have pulmonary function tests. If you have had such tests, please submit the test results. Other examples include computed tomography scans, x-rays, endoscopies, esophagogastroduodenoscopies, laryngoscopies, somnography studies, or other diagnostic and treatment procedures.
  • If you are taking medications for your condition, please list those medications and describe how often you take them.
  • If your condition has limited your activities, please submit any explanation or documentation that explains this effect of your condition. For example, you could submit letters or reports from specialists who treated your eligible conditions.
  • Records of state and federal agency proceedings or private insurance records that address your medical condition.

You do not have to submit all your medical records. Your physician may have summarized the history of your condition and treatment. A document summarizing your medical history will often be sufficient to prove the extent of your non-economic loss. If you submit medical records, it is very helpful if you highlight the relevant information in the records so the VCF can easily find the pertinent information.

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6.21 How will the Special Master determine the amount of my collateral source benefits? (Updated: April 4, 2014)

The statute defines collateral sources to mean all such sources, including life insurance, pension funds, death benefit programs, treatment costs incurred by the WTC Health Program, settlement payments from September 11th-related lawsuits, and payments by Federal, State, or local governments related to the terrorist-related aircraft crashes of September 11, 2001 or debris removal. The statute and regulations require the Special Master to reduce the total amount of compensation by the amount of the collateral source compensation the physically injured Claimant or the Decedent's beneficiaries have received or are entitled to receive as a result of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes or subsequent debris removal.

The Special Master will exercise discretion in valuing the appropriate deductions for collateral offsets including by determining:

1. Whether the particular offsets fall within the definition of collateral sources;

2. Whether beneficiaries of the VCF are "entitled" to receive compensation from those collateral sources;

3. Whether the collateral source compensation is certain or can be computed with sufficient certainty to enable its deduction while ensuring that beneficiaries receive the total compensation that is appropriate; and

4. The appropriate amount of the compensation that should be deducted, taking into account the time value of money and contributions made by the injured Claimant or Decedent in the nature of investment or savings.

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6.22 What may be excluded from the definition of a collateral source benefit?

While it is not possible to define in advance every possible collateral source deduction, a few general illustrations should provide guidance.

1. The Special Master has discretion to exclude from consideration life insurance proceeds that are distributed to persons other than the beneficiaries of the VCF.

2. The Special Master has the discretion to adjust the amount of offsets to exclude premiums or assets that were accumulated by the injured Claimant or Decedent through self-contributions paid into a life insurance program to build up a tax-deferred cash value.

3. The Special Master may reduce the amount of the offset for a pension to take account of self-contributions to that plan over the injured Claimant's or Decedent's lifetime.

4. The collateral source offsets will not include monies or other investments in the injured Claimant's or Decedent's 401(k) accounts.

Moreover, the final regulations provide that tax benefits received from the Federal government as a result of the enactment of the Victims of Terrorism Tax Relief Act of 2001 (Pub. Law No. 107-134) will not be treated as collateral source compensation.

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6.23 Will collateral offsets that are paid periodically be reduced for the time value of money?

Yes. The Special Master will only offset the present value of collateral source compensation. This has the effect of decreasing offsets and, thus, increasing the amount of awards. As an example, in the case of Social Security children's benefits, the Special Master would determine the monthly benefit to the child, multiply that benefit by the number of months remaining until the child reaches age 18 (taking into account possible limits such as maximum family benefits available), include - if consistent with Social Security guidelines - a factor for inflation, and then discount the total to present value to determine the amount of the offset.

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6.24 Are charitable gifts offset? Will a benefit from a charity managed by a government agency be considered as a collateral offset?

No. The final regulations clarify that benefits from charities (privately-funded charitable entities) disbursing private donations will not be treated as collateral source compensation, even if such charities were created or managed by governmental entities.

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6.25 Are payments made by the various State Victim of Crime Boards funded with federal funds considered collateral offsets?

No.

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6.26 Will my workers' compensation be treated as a collateral offset?

The Special Master has determined that workers' compensation benefits that are contingent on future events will only be offset to the extent they have already been paid.

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6.27 How will the Special Master calculate the appropriate offset for "contingent" benefits?

Some survivors may be eligible for benefits or payments from certain programs that provide periodic payments subject to adjustment or termination depending on potential future events that cannot be predicted. Examples include Social Security survivor benefits to the spouse of the Decedent. Such benefits are paid only under certain conditions and only for certain periods of time. Further, the benefits are paid periodically over a period of years.

Where the benefits to be paid due to death of the Decedent are uncertain, unpredictable or contingent on unknown future events, the amount of compensation to which the survivor is entitled can be impossible to compute with accuracy. In those instances, the Special Master has discretion not to require a full deduction where the amount of the collateral source compensation cannot be determined with reasonable certainty.

Thus, for example, the Special Master has determined that workers' compensation benefits that are payable only if the spouse does not remarry will only be offset to the extent they have already been paid. Likewise, Social Security and similar benefits payable to a surviving spouse only if the spouse does not remarry or does not earn income above a certain threshold will be offset only to the extent they have already been paid. By contrast, survivor benefits from the Social Security Administration and from the military to children of Decedents - who generally are entitled by law to periodic payments until they reach the age of 17 or 18 - can reasonably be computed and will be offset.

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6.28 Will my Social Security survivor benefits that I am receiving for myself as a surviving spouse and for my children be counted as a collateral offset?

Social Security and similar benefits payable to a surviving spouse only if the spouse does not remarry or does not earn income above a certain threshold will be offset only to the extent they have already been paid. Survivor benefits from the Social Security Administration and from the military to children of Decedents - who generally are entitled by law to periodic payments until they reach the age of 17 or 18 - can reasonably be computed and will be offset.

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6.29 Will the money the Decedent spent on premiums for his/her life insurance plan be included in the offset?

The Special Master has discretion to adjust the amount of offsets to exclude premiums or assets that were accumulated by the Decedent through self-contributions paid into a life insurance program to build up a tax-deferred cash value.

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6.30 Will the money the Decedent contributed to his/her pension be included in an offset?

The Special Master may reduce the amount of the offset for a pension to take account of self-contributions to that plan over the Decedent's lifetime.

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6.31 How will the VCF determine an individual's level of disability or incapacity for purposes of calculating economic loss? (Added: December 5, 2011)

For purposes of calculating economic loss, the VCF will consider whether the claimed injury or condition caused temporary or permanent disability or incapacity as well as whether the disability or incapacity is partial or total. The VCF may consider determinations of disability made by certain government agencies and private insurance companies in evaluating the claim.

For example, if an individual is claiming a total permanent disability due to a covered injury or condition, the VCF may accept a determination of disability made by the Social Security Administration - provided that determination is based on the same covered injury or condition - without further medical evidence or review. The VCF may also consider a determination of permanent disability made by other government agencies (e.g., state workers' compensation programs) or private insurers in evaluating the claim. In some cases, the VCF may require an additional medical evidence to support a claim of disability. Claimants should therefore submit to the VCF for review and consideration any disability determinations made by the Social Security Administration and other government agencies, as well as any evaluations performed by private doctors, insurers or institutions.

If an individual is claiming a temporary disability, the VCF may consider evidence regarding the length of time the Claimant was absent from his or her employment.

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6.32 Are there specific medical records that I must submit with my Compensation Form to demonstrate my economic loss? (Updated: August 15, 2014)

Economic loss consists of two aspects – prior loss and future loss. Your past economic loss will be based on actual documented out-of-pocket expenses resulting from an eligible condition. Any projected future losses will be based on the circumstances of your condition and a showing of the likelihood that you will continue to incur losses or expenses in the future. For example, if you are disabled as a result of the eligible injury/condition and cannot work at all or cannot work as much or in the same capacity as you did before the onset of the eligible injury/condition, then the VCF will compute an economic loss based on the reduced work capacity.

  • If you are not disabled or you do not claim that you will suffer economic loss in the future as a result of your injury:
  • You do not need to submit medical records unless those records are necessary to document your past and future medical expenses and losses. There are records one could give for future medical loss – for example, a prognosis for use of a particular medication for a prescribed period of time.
  • If you are claiming past economic loss due to lost wages, then you should submit employer statements, determinations of temporary disability and receipts for expenses.
  • For purposes of determining your non-economic loss, please provide medical records and/or a sworn narrative statement explaining how the eligible conditions have affected your activities of daily living and how those conditions are managed. For example, if you are required to take a number of medications to manage your condition and to enable you to work or if you must use equipment such as a CPAP machine to manage your condition, please identify the medications or equipment used and describe how the condition affects your daily life.

  • If you are claiming a disability and believe that you will have lost wages or expenses in the future as a result of your eligible injury/condition:
  • You will need to submit documents that show your disability. The types of documents that will help you to show disability are: disability determinations from the Social Security Administration (SSA), a state workers compensation board, an employer (like the FDNY) or a private insurer. The VCF will review these documents and will advise you if additional records or information is required. Please remember that you will be eligible for future economic loss only if that loss is caused by an eligible injury/condition.
  • If you are claiming a disability with the VCF but you believe that the disability determination that you have received from another organization does not accurately show your current injury/condition, then the VCF will likely need additional records such as an updated disability determination from a treating physician or an organization such as the SSA, workers compensation, or private insurer. The VCF will provide guidance after reviewing your claim.

If you submit medical records, it is very helpful if you highlight the relevant information in the records so the VCF can easily find the pertinent information.

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6.33 What types of documents will the VCF accept to demonstrate a WTC-related disability for FDNY Claimants? (Added: July 26, 2012)

FDNY Claimants should submit the following three (3) documents to demonstrate that they have been found to be disabled as a result of a VCF-eligible condition or injury. Please note: Proof of disability is only required if you are claiming a loss of future earnings and/or replacement services:

1. The FDNY Medical Board Committee Report: This is a report from the Chief Medical Officer of the FDNY on FDNY letterhead regarding the “Result of Medical Committee,” which summarizes the FDNY member’s WTC-related exposure, medical history, diagnosis and the Medical Board Committee’s recommendation as to the extent of the member’s disability and fitness for firefighting duty.

2. Recommendation of the FDNY Pension Fund re: Accident Disability – Lung Bill + WTC Bill: This is a recommendation of the 1-B Medical Board on FDNY letterhead regarding whether the Claimant should be awarded an accident disability retirement under the Lung Bill and/or the WTC Bill.

3. Letter from the Board of Trustees of the Fire Department Pension Fund Regarding Award of Accident Disability Retirement: WTC Bill: This is a letter issued to the Claimant on FDNY letterhead from the Director of the Board of Trustees of the Fire Department Pension Fund regarding whether the Board approved or disapproved the Claimant’s application for accident disability retirement under the WTC bill.

Failure to submit these three (3) documents will delay the processing of your claim. If you have already submitted these documents with your Eligibility Form, you do not need to re-submit them with your Compensation Form. All documents are subject to verification and authentication procedures undertaken independently by the VCF.

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6.34 Are payments made by the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (“PSOB”) Programs considered a collateral offset? (Added: April 8, 2013)

Yes. Congress recently amended the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Act (42 U.S.C. 3796) to provide that the benefits paid under the Act “shall be in addition to any other benefit that may be due from any other source, except . . . payments under the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001 . . . .” This means that if you have received a PSOB benefit for an injury related to the terrorist-related aircraft crashes of September 11, 2001 or the debris removal efforts, that payment will be offset from your VCF award.

If you have applied or plan to apply to PSOB Programs for a September 11th-related injury, you should note the PSOB application in the Collateral Offsets section of the Compensation Form (Part VIII.B of the Physical Injury Compensation Form or Part VIII.E of the Deceased Individual Compensation Form). You should note PSOB applications here even if that application is pending or has been denied, or if you plan to apply for PSOB benefits in the future.

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6.35 How will the VCF treat payments related to my WTC-related injury or condition from state workers’ compensation programs or other government or private entities that may be subject to liens? Will these payments be deducted or offset from my VCF award? (Added: May 22, 2013)

In determining whether a particular benefit from a government or private entity will be deducted or offset from a VCF award, the VCF will evaluate (a) the nature of the payment, (b) whether it is related to a VCF-eligible injury or condition, (c) whether it can be computed with sufficient certainty and (d) in the case of families of Decedents, whether the recipient of the payment is a beneficiary of the VCF award. In general, where benefit payments related to a VCF-eligible injury or condition are uncertain, unpredictable or contingent on unknown future events, or where the payor has asserted or could assert a lien on a VCF payment, the VCF will not deduct or offset such benefits from the VCF award except, in some instances, to the extent they have already been paid.

Where benefit payments related to a VCF-eligible injury or condition are potentially subject to liens asserted by governmental entities (such as state workers’ compensation programs) or private entities (such as health insurers) the VCF generally will not offset any payments – including those already paid and any future payments – to the Claimant or family members of a Decedent who are beneficiaries of the VCF award. How the VCF will treat such payments will depend on the facts and circumstances of each individual’s situation.

Some workers’ compensation laws, both domestic and foreign, contain provisions which would allow the insurance carrier to assert a lien against an award issued from the Fund.

For those who receive workers’ compensation benefits from New York State: New York State amended its workers’ compensation statute in 2002 to prohibit insurance carriers from asserting liens against awards from the Fund. Specifically, the NY Workers’ Compensation law, Section 29(1-b) provides as follows:

"1-b. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter to the contrary, the state insurance fund, if compensation and/or medical benefits be payable therefrom, or otherwise the person, association, corporation, insurance carrier or statutory fund liable for the payment of such compensation and/or medical benefits: (a) shall not have a lien on the proceeds of any award from the September eleventh victim compensation fund of two thousand one established pursuant to title IV of the federal air transportation safety and system stabilization act, public law 107-42, as amended; and (b) shall not terminate or reduce such compensation and/or medical benefits based upon the submission of a claim for an award from such federal fund, and/or the waiver or compromise of any cause of action resulting from such submission."

As a result of this amendment, if a Claimant or family member of a Decedent has received or is entitled to receive payments from the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board related to an eligible condition, in general, the VCF will offset those payments.

Other state workers’ compensation programs have not enacted similar legislation. Thus, there is a possibility in those states that payments to a Claimant or family member of a Decedent might ultimately be subject to repayment from the VCF award. As a result, if a Claimant or family member of a Decedent is eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits in a state where a lien has been or could be asserted, the VCF typically will not offset past or future payments to that individual. The VCF will review these benefits on a case-by-case basis.

Similarly, payments from other government or private entities that are potentially subject to liens will typically not be offset from the VCF award. The VCF will evaluate these types of payments on a case-by-case basis and will publish additional guidance, as appropriate.

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6.36 Will an award from the VCF affect my ability to receive or continue receiving benefits from certain government programs? (Added: August 19, 2013)

The VCF is not able to advise claimants as to whether receipt of a payment from the VCF will affect benefits that the claimant may be receiving from any federal, state or local program that determines eligibility based on income or resources. Since each program is different and each claimant’s situation is different, you should contact the relevant programs to seek guidance on how an award from the VCF may affect your qualification for benefits.

Please note that the Zadroga Act requires the VCF to deduct or offset from any VCF award certain payments received for injuries related to the terrorist-related aircraft crashes of September 11, 2001 or the debris removal efforts, including certain payments made by federal, state or local governments. Please refer to FAQs 6.21-6.30 and 6.34-6.35 for more information about collateral source benefits.

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6.37 Will the VCF provide reimbursement for future medical expenses that may arise if the WTC Health Program does not receive funding to operate after Fiscal Year 2016? (Added: October 28, 2013)

At present the VCF does not provide compensation for expenses being paid by the WTC Health Program or expenses that are, or would be, covered by the claimant’s health insurance. Since it is not possible at this time to know whether the WTC Health Program will continue beyond Fiscal Year 2016, the VCF will not provide compensation for potential future expenses that are necessarily speculative. The VCF will reexamine this issue if the status of the WTC Health Program changes.

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6.38 I obtained a statement online from the Social Security Administration that shows my earnings history. Will the VCF accept this statement as proof of my past earnings? (Updated: August 15, 2014)

Yes. The VCF will accept and consider online statements from the Social Security Administration (SSA) as proof of your earnings history. However, the VCF will still obtain earnings information directly from SSA as necessary because the VCF receives additional information from SSA that is not provided in the online statements.

Additionally, the statute and regulations require that you still submit copies of all tax return information (including W-2 forms and other attachments) for the period beginning three years prior to any claimed decrease in your earnings capacity as a result of your disability or if no such decrease is claimed, three years prior to the year your claim is filed. If you have difficulty obtaining your tax returns, you may submit a tax transcript, which is easier to obtain.

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6.39 What compensation and disability-related information and documentation does the FDNY provide directly to the VCF in support of a claim? (Added: April 18, 2014)

1. What does the FDNY provide the VCF directly?

For each FDNY claimant who is claiming loss of future earnings and/or replacement services and has provided authorization, the FDNY sends us a printout that is used to calculate the claimant’s pension and contains the following information, which the VCF uses to calculate economic loss:

  • Historical earnings:
  • This includes last 5 years total earnings prior to retirement, including salary, holiday pay, night shift differential pay and overtime

  • 1/60th calculation (for those who served over 20 years)

  • Total annual retirement salary (i.e., pension amount)
  • In general, this is based on the higher of Year 5 earnings or 3-year-average. However, if Year 5 total earnings exceed 120% of average, the pension basis will be capped at 120%.
  • For those who have been granted a WTC disability or reclassification, the pension value is 75% of the higher value, with the exception noted above.
  • Type of plan (tier)

  • Date of appointment

  • Date of retirement

2. What do FDNY claimants need to submit?

The FDNY does not provide us with documentation that identifies the basis of the disability. The FDNY claimant should submit that documentation. FAQ 6.33 (below) identifies the three (3) documents that an FDNY claimant should submit if claiming loss of future earnings and/or replacement services.

6.33 What types of documents will the VCF accept to demonstrate a WTC-related disability for FDNY Claimants? (Added: July 26, 2012)

FDNY claimants should submit the following three (3) documents to demonstrate that they have been found to be disabled as a result of a VCF-eligible condition or injury. Please note: Proof of disability is only required if you are claiming a loss of future earnings and/or replacement services:

1. The FDNY Medical Board Committee Report: This is a report from the Chief Medical Officer of the FDNY on FDNY letterhead regarding the “Result of Medical Committee,” which summarizes the FDNY member’s WTC-related exposure, medical history, diagnosis and the Medical Board Committee’s recommendation as to the extent of the member’s disability and fitness for firefighting duty.

2. Recommendation of the FDNY Pension Fund re: Accident Disability – Lung Bill + WTC Bill: This is a recommendation of the 1-B Medical Board on FDNY letterhead regarding whether the Claimant should be awarded an accident disability retirement under the Lung Bill and/or the WTC Bill.

3. Letter from the Board of Trustees of the Fire Department Pension Fund Regarding Award of Accident Disability Retirement: WTC Bill: This is a letter issued to the claimant on FDNY letterhead from the Director of the Board of Trustees of the Fire Department Pension Fund regarding whether the Board approved or disapproved the claimant’s application for accident disability retirement under the WTC bill.

Failure to submit these three (3) documents will delay the processing of your claim. If you have already submitted these documents with your Eligibility Form, you do not need to re-submit them with your Compensation Form. All documents are subject to verification and authentication procedures undertaken independently by the VCF.

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6.40 What compensation and disability-related documentation and information does the NYPD provide directly to the VCF in support of a claim? (Added: April 18, 2014)

1. What does the NYPD provide the VCF directly?

The NYPD sends us two categories of documents for each NYPD claimant who is claiming loss of future earnings and/or replacement services and has provided authorization:

  • (a) Earnings/Pension Information: A spreadsheet that includes the following information for each NYPD claimant, which the VCF uses to calculate economic loss:
  • Historical earnings: this includes last 5 year total earnings and 3-year average of highest 3 of 5 years

  • 1/60th calculation (for those who served over 20 years)

  • Pension amount: In general, this is based on the higher of Year 5 earnings or 3-year average

  • Type of retirement: WTC Accidental or Reclassification, Accidental Disability (not WTC-related), Ordinary Disability (not WTC-related) or Service Retirement

  • Date of appointment

  • Date of retirement and, if reclassified, Date of WTC reclassification

  • Basis of disability determination generally: e.g., pulmonary, GERD, cancer, orthopedic

  • (b) Disability Information: The NYPD also sends us the underlying Medical Board Police Pension Fund Article II Reports that identify the basis of the disability determination for claimants who have retired on a WTC disability. This generally includes the final Medical Board report that identifies the final diagnosis and recommends approval of a WTC disability, as well as any prior Medical Board reports issued that address the claimant’s conditions and recommend approval, disapproval or deferral on the claimant’s disability application. It may also include documentation that was included in the claimant’s pension file and was reviewed in the course of the disability determination process.

2. What do NYPD claimants need to submit?

Generally speaking, a NYPD claimant who has been granted a WTC disability pension does not need to submit any additional compensation/pension documentation.

However, NYPD claimants who retired on a non-WTC-related accidental pension, ordinary disability pension or service pension will not be eligible for lost earnings unless they can provide a disability determination from a third party entity – such as the Social Security Administration or a treating physician – that identifies a VCF-eligible condition as a basis of the disability determination.

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6.41 What compensation information and documentation has the VCF obtained from unions to support a claim? (Added: April 18, 2014)

The VCF has obtained compensation/benefit information for the unions listed below. Outlined below is the information the VCF has obtained from the unions and the information that union claimants still need to submit for purposes of establishing the amount of lost earnings/benefits. Note that claimants associated with these unions must still submit disability information. The information the VCF has obtained from these unions is limited to the amount of earnings/benefits. The VCF may request additional information depending on the particular circumstances of the claimant

The VCF has obtained the pension plan documents for the following unions: General Building Laborers’ local 79, Cement Masons local union 780, United Derrickman local union 197 and Plumbers local union 1.

In order to calculate lost earnings/benefits (including pension benefits), claimants associated with these unions must submit the following:

  • Work history showing the hours worked in every year of work. This report should include regular hours and overtime hours. If possible, overtime hours should be broken down into “time and a half” and “double time”.
  • Wage card
  • Claimant’s start date with union
  • If applicable, the monthly amount and start date of pension being received
  • If possible, pension credits earned
  • If the pension offers different payment options, provide the document the claimant received outlining those options

In general, if the union is not listed above, the claimant should submit all of the above listed documentation as well as the documents describing the union’s pension plan.

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7. Waiver/Certification

7.1 What does it mean to waive rights to file a lawsuit? (Updated: April 8, 2013)

  • For injured claimants, once your Eligibility Form is submitted and deemed substantially complete, you have waived your right to file a lawsuit against any entity seeking compensation for the injury sustained as a result of the September 11th attacks or subsequent debris removal. This waiver does not apply to a civil action to recover collateral source obligations or to a civil action against any person who is a knowing participant in any conspiracy to hijack any aircraft or commit any terrorist act (see FAQ 7.6 for more information on this exception).
  • For deceased individuals, by filing a substantially complete Eligibility Form, the Personal Representative will waive rights to file an action seeking compensation for the Decedent's death. This waiver does not apply to a civil action to recover collateral source obligations or to a civil action against any person who is a knowing participant in any conspiracy to hijack any aircraft or commit any terrorist act (see FAQ 7.6 for more information on this exception). The statute may be interpreted to mean that the submission of a claim for a deceased individual will waive the rights of other beneficiaries of that individual to file a lawsuit.

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7.2 Whose rights are waived by filing a claim?

The Claimant's rights are waived. The statute may be interpreted to mean that the submission of a claim for a deceased individual will waive the rights of other beneficiaries of that individual to file a lawsuit.

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7.3 When do I give up my rights to file other claims in court?

You waive your rights once your submission of an Eligibility Form is deemed substantially complete based on the determination of a Claims Evaluator. When submitting your Eligibility Form, you will sign an acknowledgment that your right to file a lawsuit is waived once your Eligibility Form is deemed substantially complete. After the VCF receives your signed attestations and certifications (including this acknowledgment), a Claims Evaluator will begin evaluating your claim. Your Eligibility Form will be deemed substantially complete before or at the time that you receive an eligibility determination. Thus, be advised that you may waive your rights to file other claims before you find out whether you are eligible for compensation from the VCF.

You may submit both portions of the claim form - the Eligibility Form and the Compensation Form - at the same time, or you may choose to file the Eligibility Form before filing the Compensation Form. Even if you file both Forms together, the VCF will make separate determinations about when each portion is substantially complete. That is, your Eligibility Form will likely be deemed substantially complete before your Compensation Form. Regardless of whether you file the Forms together or separately, your right to file a lawsuit is waived once your Eligibility Form is deemed substantially complete.

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7.4 What happens if I file a claim with the VCF and also file a lawsuit against someone who is not a "knowing participant in any conspiracy to hijack any aircraft or commit any terrorist act"? (Updated: November 22, 2011)

Section 405(c)(3)(C)(i) of the statute states that a Claimant to the VCF "waives the right to file a civil action (or to be a party to an action) in any Federal or State court for damages sustained as a result of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes of September 11, 2001, or for damages arising from or related to debris removal" and makes exceptions only for lawsuits "to recover collateral source obligations" and lawsuits against a defendant that is a "knowing participant in any conspiracy to hijack any aircraft or commit any terrorist act." If you file a claim with the VCF and later file a lawsuit against someone who is not a "knowing participant in any conspiracy to hijack any aircraft or commit any terrorist act," you are still eligible for compensation from the VCF, but your lawsuit will be dismissed. Please be advised that in order to file a claim with the VCF, all pending and prior September 11th-related lawsuits must be settled or withdrawn in accordance with the rules described in FAQ 2.13.

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7.5 What documentation is required to demonstrate the timely "withdrawal" of a pending lawsuit related to September 11, 2001 - i.e., withdrawal of the lawsuit on or before January 2, 2012? (Updated: April 19, 2012)

You must submit a copy of the notice of withdrawal/dismissal filed on or before January 2, 2012 by the Claimant (or on behalf of the Claimant). This proof must include confirmation that the notice was filed with the court. For example, you can submit the actual notice showing the file stamp or a confirmation from the ECF system. In addition, the VCF will not issue payment on any claim (assuming the claim is eligible) until it receives the final order of the court confirming the withdrawal and dismissal of all claims.

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7.6 Can I file a claim with the VCF and also participate in a September 11th-related lawsuit against terrorists?
(Added: April 8, 2013)

The Zadroga Act and the regulations generally prohibit individuals from filing both a VCF claim and participating in lawsuits related to September 11th. However, an exception to this rule is a lawsuit against a defendant that is a "knowing participant in any conspiracy to hijack any aircraft or commit any terrorist act." This includes lawsuits based on theories of aiding and abetting or assisting an attempt to commit a terrorist act. Examples of lawsuits that fall into this category include (but are not limited to):

- Gallop v. Riggs National Corp. et al. (Docket No. 1:04-cv-07281-GBD-FM)

- Burnett, et al v. Al Baraka Investment (Docket No. 1:03-cv-05738-GBD)

- Ashton, et al v. Al Qaeda Islamic, et al (Docket No. 1:02-cv-06977-GBD

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8. Funds and Awards

8.1 When will I receive my full award? (Updated: April 4, 2014)

You will receive a payment equal to 10 percent of the amount of your total loss calculation within approximately 30 days of the date of your decision letter. This includes up to 20 days for the Special Master to authorize the payment and up to two weeks for the United States Treasury to disburse the money into your designated bank account. The VCF cannot issue your payment unless all required documents have been submitted, including the properly completed ACH Payment Information Form. If you are represented by an attorney and have an agreement in place to have the money deposited into the law firm account, we must also have the original document with your signature authorizing the payment.

The Zadroga Act provides that $875 million will be available to pay claims in the VCF’s first five years. The Act provides that the remainder of the calculated loss may be paid five years after the VCF opens. This means that each claimant will only receive a portion of the total loss calculation in the first five years of the program. On January 29, 2013 the Special Master issued an “Explanation of First Payments”. Based on the analysis completed at that time, the Special Master estimated the initial percentage distribution to claimants at 10 percent. This means that for each claim, the VCF will calculate a total award, but the first payment will be only 10 percent of the award. If your compensation amount is increased as a result of an appeal or amendment, and you have already received the initial 10% payment on the original amount, the VCF will issue a second payment equal to the difference between 10% of the original loss amount and 10% of the revised amount. This payment percentage has been set to help ensure that there is enough money to make a first payment to every Claimant who is entitled to receive a payment.

Claimants can expect to receive an additional payment in 2016-2017. Depending on the number and type of claims, and in order to ensure that all eligible Claimants receive an award, the Zadroga Act’s cap on funding means that it is possible that those payments will be less than 100% of the remaining amount of the calculated loss.

Because initial payments will reflect only a portion of the total payment that a Claimant can expect to receive, the Claimant may wish to consult with a financial planner regarding how to make best use of the payments as they are received.

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8.2 Will there be a procedure for receiving early payments, or "advance benefits," as they were known in the first VCF? (Updated: May 5, 2014)

No. The Zadroga Act requires claims to be paid in at least two payments: an initial pro-rated payment following the review of the claim during the VCF’s first five years, followed by a second payment in the VCF’s sixth year once all claims have been received and reviewed. Although the VCF will not offer early “advance” payments, if it becomes apparent that sufficient funding is available for additional payments before the sixth year, the final regulations give the Special Master discretion to make such additional payments.

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8.3 What are the options for receiving my payment from the Fund? (Added: January 15, 2013)

If the payee resides in the United States, payment will be made via an electronic deposit directly to a regular checking or savings account. Payments will be made by the U.S. Department of the Treasury using the Automated Clearing House (ACH) electronic payment system.

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8.4 Can direct deposit payments be made to money market or brokerage accounts? (Added: January 15, 2013)

No. The U.S. Department of the Treasury only uses ACH payments. Thus, the Fund can only make direct deposit payments to a regular checking or savings account.

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8.5 If I reside outside the U.S. can payments be made through direct deposit to a foreign bank? (Added: January 15, 2013)

No. Payments to offshore recipients cannot be made through direct deposit. These payments must be in the form of checks. The U.S. Department of the Treasury will issue the checks and forward them to the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice will then send the check to you via express mail.

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8.6 How do I provide my bank account information to the Fund? (Updated: June 30, 2014)

You will need to complete the “VCF ACH Payment Information Form”. Please download the form here and mail it on the same day that you submit your Compensation Form. You will need to complete the first part of the ACH form and have a representative from your financial institution complete the second part of the form. A representative of the financial institution must sign the ACH form to confirm the account information is accurate. Once the form is complete, you must mail the completed form directly to the Fund. DO NOT upload the ACH form to your online claim.

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8.7 Where do I find the payment information form? (Added: January 15, 2013)

You can download the “VCF ACH Payment Information Form” here or you can call the toll-free Helpline and request a paper form be mailed to you. Although you may complete this form at any time, the Fund will notify you when your claim has reached the point in the process where payment information is needed.

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8.8 I use an online bank. Since they do not have physical offices, how do I get them to complete the VCF ACH Payment Information Form? (Updated: June 30, 2014)

Please contact your bank and ask about options for mailing or faxing the form to them. Your bank can also download a blank form here and complete it on your behalf. You can work with your bank to determine the best way to complete the form. Please remember that a representative from the online bank must sign the form to validate the account information. Once the form is complete, you must mail the completed form directly to the Fund. DO NOT upload the ACH form to your online claim.

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8.9 Our law firm has an agreement with our clients that Fund payments will be made directly to the law firm bank account on behalf of the claimant. What information must we provide to the Fund to make payments directly to the law firm account? (Updated: June 30, 2014)

If your law firm has an agreement with the claimants you represent that VCF payments will be made directly to a bank account maintained by the law firm to hold and distribute proceeds obtained on behalf of clients of the firm, the VCF will require two documents:

1. “VCF ACH Payment Information Form” (available here) - you will need to complete this form for each unique bank account to which Fund payments will be made. You only need to complete this form one time for each account, regardless of the number of claimants you represent whose claims will be paid to the account. When completing this form, please note the following:

  • Field A – Name of Payee: enter the name of the account owner on the bank account to which payments will be made.

  • Field B – Name of Person(s) Entitled to Payment: leave this field blank.

  • Field C – Payee's Tax Identification Number: leave this field blank.

  • Field D – Type of Depositor Account: you must identify the account as either a checking or savings account. If the account is an escrow account and you are not certain whether it is a checking or savings account, please consult with your financial institution.

  • Field F – VCF Claim Number: leave this field blank.

If you intend to have payments made to more than one firm account, you will need to provide written instructions to the VCF outlining the specific account to which the payment for each claim should be paid. You may provide this information in a letter for each claim, or as a list of claim numbers and claimant names matched to the specific bank account. DO NOT upload the "VCF ACH Payment Information Form" to any of your online claims. You must mail the completed ACH form(s) to the Fund.

2. Client Authorization – in addition to the VCF ACH Form, you will also need to submit a document that confirms the claimant has authorized VCF payments to be made directly to the law firm account. You must submit this document with an original Claimant signature and include the following information:


  • Language indicating the document and the information it contains is specific to payments from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund; and

  • Claimant Full Name, VCF Claim Number, and Claimant Social Security Number

The document must either be notarized (including the State and County in which the document was signed and notarized) OR must include the following language to comply with 28 U.S.C. 1746:


  • If signed within the United States, its territories, possessions, or commonwealths, add this language: “I declare (or certify, verify, or state) under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on [date authorization is signed].” [Claimant’s Signature]

  • If signed outside the United States, add this language: “I declare (or certify, verify, or state) under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on [date authorization is signed].” [Claimant’s Signature]

Each payment made to a law firm bank account includes the claimant name and claim number as part of the transaction record. You may need to ask your bank to provide this information to you if it is not easily visible as part of the transaction detail. Payments for multiple claimants will not be grouped into a single transaction, although you may receive more than one deposit on the same day. Your financial institution should provide the details to you for each deposit made to the account.

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8.10 I have heard there are groups that offer accelerated funding for VCF claimants so I can receive my entire award now instead of waiting for the final year of the VCF’s operation. Does the VCF recommend or endorse any of these “early payment” programs? (Updated: November 21, 2013)

No. Organizations offering these types of advances or early payments to claimants are not affiliated in any way with the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. The Special Master does not endorse any of these entities. If you decide to work with one of these organizations to receive your payment in advance, your agreement with them is completely independent of your VCF claim and any agreement you sign is strictly between you and the specific entity.

If you decide to enter into one of these agreements, please remember that the amount of the final payment on your claim will not be known until the Fund’s last year of operation and you may receive a total payment that is less than the amount of your calculated loss. Please see FAQ 8.1 for additional details on the pro-rated payments.

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8.11 If the claimant is deceased, how and to whom will the payment be distributed? (Updated: April 4, 2014)

The VCF will issue payment on behalf of a deceased claimant to the Personal Representative of the deceased claimant. However, the Personal Representative is not necessarily the person who will ultimately receive the award. This depends on the specific circumstances of the claim, the domicile of the Decedent and/or any applicable rulings made by a court of competent jurisdiction. The Personal Representative is required to distribute the award in accordance with the law of the claimant’s domicile. In general, awards will be distributed as follows:

  • As a general rule, the $250,000 non-economic loss portion of the payment on behalf of the Decedent will be distributed to the beneficiaries of the estate pursuant to the Decedent’s will or, if the Decedent died intestate (i.e., without a will), through the intestacy laws of the state of the Decedent’s domicile. If an additional $100,000 non-economic loss amount is included for a spouse and/or qualifying dependents, that portion will typically be distributed directly to the spouse and/or qualifying dependents.
  • The economic loss portion of the payment will generally be distributed based on the wrongful death statute of the state of the Decedent’s domicile and the approved final distribution plan. In some cases, if the Personal Representative and all parties eligible for the economic loss portion of the payment agree to an alternative distribution plan, the economic loss may be distributed according to that alternative distribution plan.

The Personal Representative of the Decedent is required to submit a proposed distribution plan to the VCF in accordance with these guidelines. If the VCF determines that the proposed distribution plan appears to be consistent with applicable state law, the VCF will approve the distribution plan. If the VCF concludes that the proposed distribution plan does not comply with state law or if there is a dispute over the distribution plan that cannot be resolved, the VCF will release the payment to the Personal Representative who, in turn, must seek a determination from the relevant state court as to the proper distribution of funds.

Please note that if any portion of the payment is allocated to minor children, the VCF requires payment through one of the options/mechanisms identified in FAQ 8.12 regarding acceptable methods of payment to minor children.

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8.12 If the claimant is deceased and a portion of the payment is allocated to a minor child, how will the VCF issue the payment on behalf of the minor child? (Added: December 10, 2013)

There are three options available for payments issued on behalf of minor children.

• Option 1: The entire payment, including the minor child’s payment, can be paid to the Personal Representative. Under this option, a court will generally supervise the distribution of the payment and take steps to safeguard the minor’s portion of the payment.

There are three options available for payments issued on behalf of minor children.

• Option 2: The minor child may receive benefits directly from the VCF. Under this option, a guardian must be appointed by a court of competent jurisdiction to receive the payment directly on behalf of the child. Normally, this is a simple and relatively quick process for a natural or adoptive parent to be appointed a guardian. However, court supervision or a bond may be involved when a guardian is appointed.

• Option 3: A natural or adoptive custodial parent of the minor may apply to receive benefits directly on behalf of the child as a “representative payee.” As a representative payee, you assume full responsibility for ensuring that the payment made on behalf of the child is spent for the child’s current needs, and, if not currently needed, saved for the child’s future needs. Court supervision or bonding is not required. However, you are still obliged - like a trustee - to ensure that the funds are used in the child’s best interest. This includes a duty to prudently invest funds, maintain separate accounts, and maintain records.

If you would like to apply to become a representative payee, you will need to complete the Application for Representative Payee Form. By completing this form, you request to receive the funds as a representative payee on behalf of your child and you agree to perform the responsibilities this role requires. To request a copy of this form be mailed to you, please call the VCF toll-free Helpline at 1-855-885-1555.

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8.13 Is it possible to split VCF payments so a portion is paid directly to the law firm and a portion directly to the claimant? (Added: June 30, 2014)

No. The Special Master cannot authorize payment of attorney fees directly from the VCF. Attorneys who represent VCF claimants should have agreements in place with their clients that include details on the fees being charged and how and when those fees will be paid. Payments made by the VCF are paid only to claimants or the authorized Personal Representative as appointed by the appropriate court. Although the Special Master will authorize payment to a law firm account (with appropriate documentation signed by the claimant), the payment is made specifically on behalf of the individual claimant. The Special Master will not comment on any disagreement about payment of fees that may occur between an attorney and client. However, claimants should be aware that if they sign an agreement related to attorney fees and then attempt to avoid paying the fees or seek to amend that agreement, the attorney may be able to sue the claimant to recover fees. In rare circumstances where the disagreement cannot be resolved, payment may be made into a court-supervised account until the dispute is resolved.

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9. Hearing/Appeals

9.1 What is the difference between an appeal and an amendment? (Added: July 14, 2014)

Appeals: An appeal can be filed after the VCF has notified you of the eligibility or compensation decision on your claim. You would file an appeal if you have been found ineligible to receive compensation from the VCF or if you believe the amount of your loss was erroneously calculated. For example, you would file an appeal if you believe that the VCF used an incorrect income amount to calculate lost earnings or did not include in the calculation specific benefits information that was provided in the claim submission. You should only appeal the decision if you think the facts and information you presented in your claim were not properly considered in determining the amount of your loss. Your eligibility denial letter or loss calculation decision letter will include a Claimant Appeal Request Form you can use to notify the VCF of your intent to appeal the decision.

Amendments: You should not appeal the decision and should instead amend your claim if you have new information to provide that was not previously submitted or if your circumstances have changed since receiving your decision letter. You would file an amendment if you have information in support of your claim that was not submitted to the VCF at the time your loss was calculated and that you believe impacts the amount of your calculated loss. You may also amend your claim if you have additional injuries that you believe are eligible and would affect your loss calculation, if your condition changes (for example, if you become disabled), or if you have an additional type of loss or want to change the type of claim you are submitting. For example, you would file an amendment if you filed a claim for non-economic loss only and you now want to file for economic loss. Or, if you filed a claim for economic loss but did not include a claim for a component of the loss (e.g., replacement services), then you would file an amendment to add that loss to your claim. Please see FAQ 4.16 for additional information on how to amend your claim.

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9.2 Under what circumstances can I request an appeal? (Updated: July 14, 2014)

All claimants have the opportunity to appeal the VCF decision if their claim is denied as ineligible due to such circumstances as missing proof of presence, or if a particular injury or illness is denied as ineligible. Claimants also have the opportunity to appeal the amount of the compensation calculation – for instance, if you believe the amount of your loss did not take into account certain facts and circumstances relevant to your claim. If you decide to appeal the Special Master’s decision, you can choose to submit a paper appeal or to request a hearing. The VCF sends eligibility and compensation decisions in writing, and your letter will include a Claimant Appeal Request Form and instructions for scheduling your hearing, if you elect that option.

If you want to provide new information that was not used in the initial eligibility determination or loss calculation decision, that information should be provided as an amendment to your claim, not as an appeal (see FAQ 4.16 for details on amending your claim).

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9.3 How do I file an appeal and schedule my hearing? (Added: July 14, 2014)

When you receive the letter with your eligibility or compensation decision, it will include a Claimant Appeal Request Form. You will need to complete two steps to request and schedule your hearing:


Step 1: Complete and return the Claimant Appeal Request Form within 30 days of the date of the decision letter. Returning the form notifies the VCF of your intent to appeal the decision and confirms the appeal was filed in a timely manner. You will receive a letter confirming receipt of your intent to appeal, but the VCF will not take any action to schedule a hearing until you complete Step 2.


Step 2: When you are ready to schedule your hearing, complete and return the Pre-Hearing Questionnaire and call the VCF Helpline at 1-855-885-1555. The Helpline will work with you to schedule your hearing on a date and time that is convenient for you. Please have a copy of your completed questionnaire available when you call the Helpline. The Pre-Hearing Questionnaire can be found on the www.vcf.gov website under “Forms and Resources.”

If you decide after returning your Claimant Appeal Request Form that you do not want to appeal the decision on your claim, please notify the VCF so that we can update our records. Please contact the VCF within 6 months of the submission of the Appeal Request Form to schedule your hearing or your appeal request will be considered abandoned.

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9.4 How long will hearings last? (Updated: March 26, 2014)

There is no specific time limit. However, the Special Master does not expect that hearings will last more than one hour.

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9.5 Who will conduct the hearings? (Updated: March 26, 2014)

The hearings will be conducted by the Special Master or a designee from the Special Master’s Office, including Hearing Officers. Hearing Officers are qualified individuals who have been trained expressly for these proceedings.

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9.6 Can I present evidence or witnesses at the hearing? (Updated: March 26, 2014)

Yes. These hearings will be conducted in a non-adversarial manner. The objective of the hearing is to permit the Claimant or Personal Representative to present information or evidence that he or she believes is necessary to support their appeal. You will be permitted, but not required, to present witnesses, including expert witnesses. The Hearing Officer will be permitted to examine the credentials of any experts who participate in a hearing.

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9.7 Who can present information or evidence at the hearing? (Updated: March 26, 2014)

The Personal Representative, the physically injured Claimant and any witness the Personal Representative or the physically injured Claimant wishes to have may present information or evidence at the hearing.

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9.8 Will decisions be made on the spot at a hearing?

No. You will receive the decision of the Special Master in writing after the hearing.

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10. Legal Issues

10.1 Is my VCF award taxable?

The awards are not subject to federal income tax. In Revenue Ruling 2003-115, the Internal Revenue Service determined that periodic payments made to a Claimant of the VCF pursuant to certain agreements are excluded from the gross income of the Claimant. Similarly, any payments to an estate or secondary beneficiary pursuant to such agreements are excluded from the gross income of the successor beneficiary.

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10.2 Can my VCF award be seized in a bankruptcy proceeding?

How an award is handled in bankruptcy will depend on the facts and circumstances of each individual's situation. An attorney may be able to provide more information based on each individual's particular case.

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10.3 If I am eligible for the VCF, am I also eligible for veterans benefits?

The VCF is open to certain individuals who suffered personal injuries or death as a result of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes of September 11th or subsequent debris removal, regardless of whether they qualify as veterans. Individuals with questions about their eligibility for veterans benefits should contact the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Zadroga Act requires the Special Master to apply certain offsets to reduce the amount of compensation by the amount of collateral source compensation that the Claimant has received or is entitled to receive as a result of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes of September 11th or subsequent debris removal. Whether veterans benefits will be offset (so that the award is reduced) will depend on the specific benefit (i.e., what the benefit is for and whether it is contingent.)

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10.4 Will Medicare assert liens against my VCF award to pursue Medicare Secondary Payer claims? (Added: January 23, 2014)

No. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has determined that, pursuant to its waiver authority, it will not pursue Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) claims against awards from the Victim Compensation Fund under the Zadroga Act.

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11. Attorney-Client Issues

11.1 Do I need an attorney to participate in the VCF?

No, you are not required to have an attorney. You are free to consult with attorneys and you should make your own decision as to whether you wish to engage an attorney. Some attorneys have indicated a willingness to provide some assistance on a pro bono basis.

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11.2 If I choose to use an attorney, how will the attorney be paid?

The VCF will not reimburse Claimants for fees charged by their attorneys. Such fees must be paid by the Claimant. The Zadroga Act also provides a limitation on how much an attorney may charge in connection with the VCF. Under the Zadroga Act, attorneys may not charge any Claimant more than 10% of the payment the Claimant receives as a VCF award.

Attorneys who also charged their client a fee in connection with certain other September 11th-related litigation and settlement may only charge that client for representation before the VCF if the attorney's total charge for both representations does not exceed 10% of the client's total award in the other September 11th-related litigation.

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11.3 If I was a plaintiff in another September 11th lawsuit, and my attorney signed a release before the bill was enacted and I opt in to that settlement, am I eligible for the VCF? (Updated: April 19, 2012)

The Zadroga Act states that if an individual tendered a release after the Zadroga Act was enacted on January 2, 2011, the individual is not eligible for the VCF. The VCF will address the question of eligibility on a case-by-case basis. If your attorney had authority to sign a release on your behalf and that release was signed and submitted to the defendant consistent with the terms of the settlement agreement between the Claimant and the defendant prior to January 2, 2011, then the release will not bar the VCF claim. If the release was tendered by that date but did not release all claims in the lawsuit, you may still be eligible for compensation from the VCF if all remaining claims in the lawsuit were withdrawn by January 2, 2012. (See FAQ 7.5 for more information on what constitutes "timely withdrawal.")

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11.4 Where can I find out information about the settlements achieved in New York courts?

The VCF cannot provide information about private settlements. The VCF is a government program, established by Congress, and is separate from the lawsuits between individuals and the Port Authority, the Captive Insurer, and others. Individuals with questions about the settlements should contact their lawyers.

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11.5 Will settlements in civil suits regarding injuries related to September 11th affect my award in the VCF?

Yes. The Act provides that the amount of the award shall be reduced by the amount of collateral source compensation that the Claimant has received or is entitled to receive as a result of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes of September 11, 2001 or debris removal. Therefore, settlement payments from lawsuits will be deducted from any award.

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11.6 If I no longer want the VCF to communicate with an attorney about my claim, or if I want to change the authorized attorney on my claim, how do I revoke the authorization that I previously provided to the VCF? (Updated: October 23, 2013)

Claimants may authorize the VCF to communicate with their attorney by completing Part I.C. and Attestation G (for Physical Injury Claimants) or Attestation F (for Deceased Claimants) of the Eligibility Form. If you previously authorized the VCF to communicate with an attorney and you now wish to revoke this authorization (for example, if the attorney no longer represents you), you must notify the VCF in writing that you wish to do so. Your letter should include your Claim Number and should identify the attorney whose authorization you are revoking.

If you would like to authorize the VCF to communicate with a different attorney, your letter should also include your new attorney’s contact information and their user name for the VCF’s online claim system. You must also submit an updated Part I.C. to the Eligibility Form and a new Attestation G (for Physical Injury Claimants) or Attestation F (for Deceased Claimants). The Eligibility Form and Attestations are available here. If you cannot download the appropriate form, you may request that the VCF mail you the documents by calling the toll-free helpline at 1-855-885-1555. For the hearing impaired, please call 1-855-885-1558 (TDD). If you are calling from outside the United States, please call 1-202-353-0356.

Once you have completed Part I.C. and signed the Attestation, mail the forms with your letter to the VCF at:

September 11th Victim Compensation Fund

P.O. Box 34500

Washington, D.C. 20043

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11.7 How does my attorney provide me access to my online claim if my attorney registered me through the VCF’s online claim system? (Updated: August 22, 2012)

Your attorney can request that you be provided access to your online claim by calling the toll-free helpline at 1-855-885-1555. For the hearing impaired, please call 1-855-885-1558 (TDD). If you are calling from outside the United States, please call 1-202-353-0356.

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11.8 How do I provide my attorney with access to my online claim if I registered through the VCF’s online claim system? (Updated: August 22, 2012)

You can request that your attorney have access to your online claim by calling the toll-free helpline at 1-855-885-1555. For the hearing impaired, please call 1-855-885-1558 (TDD). If you are calling from outside the United States, please call 1-202-353-0356.

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11.9 What is meant by the “Primary Attorney” designation on the claim form? Can other attorneys or staff from our law firm be listed as authorized representatives on a single claim? (Added: February 1, 2013)

Although you may authorize the VCF to communicate with multiple attorneys and non- attorneys in the law firm, you must tell the VCF which of these individuals is the primary contact so that the VCF can direct important communications to this person. This person is the “Primary Attorney”.

Part 1.C. of the online Eligibility Form requires that a single attorney within the firm be designated as the Primary Attorney for each claim. If you wish to list multiple attorneys or other law firm staff on a claim, you must first designate one contact as the “Primary Attorney” in Part 1.C. of the form and provide all requested contact information for that attorney. For any additional attorneys or law firm staff, you do not need to provide their mailing address if it is the same as the Primary Attorney’s address. Please be sure to check the “Same as Primary Attorney Contact’s Address” checkbox. However, you still must provide the name, phone number, and email address for each additional contact at the firm.

If you are submitting a paper claim, you can add additional attorney contacts in Part 1.C. of the Eligibility Form by copying the applicable page of the form and submitting a separate page with completed information for each contact.

In addition to providing the individual names in Part 1.C. of the Eligibility form, a signed Attestation G (for Personal Injury Claimants) or Attestation F (for Deceased Claimants) must be submitted in order for the VCF to communicate with these individuals regarding the claim. You may upload the signed document to your online claim or mail it to the VCF.

Please note that if additional lawyers and/or legal staff from the same law firm start helping with a claim after the original Eligibility Form is submitted, you must add their name and contact information to Part 1.C. if you would like the VCF to communicate with them.


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11.10 How can I confirm my attorney registered me and/or submitted my claim to the VCF? (Added: February 19, 2013)

If you have hired an attorney to file a claim on your behalf and would like information on the status of your claim, you may call the toll-free Helpline at 1-855-885-1555. For the hearing impaired, please call 1-855-885-1558 (TDD). If you are calling from outside the United States, please call 1-202-353-0356.

When you call, inform the Helpline representative that you would like to confirm that your attorney has registered you and/or has filed a claim on your behalf with the VCF. In order to receive information about your claim, you will be asked to provide either your VCF claim number (preferable) or the name of the individual or law firm who registered you or submitted your claim. You will also be asked several questions to verify your identity.

If you do not know your VCF claim number, the Helpline will only be able to confirm your registration or that a claim has been filed on your behalf. The Helpline can answer more detailed questions about your claim and claim status if you are able to provide your claim number.

As a reminder, you may contact your attorney to request that you be copied on any correspondence sent by the Fund. If you have an online account with the VCF, you may also ask your attorney to grant you online access to your claim if desired (see FAQ 11.7).

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11.11 What types of expenses does the Special Master consider to be “non-routine” and reimbursable to attorneys representing claimants in their VCF claims? (Updated: July 28, 2014)

Under the Zadroga Act, attorneys may not charge any claimant more than 10% of the payment the claimant receives as a VCF award and may not charge any claimant for any expenses that are routinely incurred in the course of providing legal services. However, the Special Master may approve reimbursement by a claimant to an attorney for non-routine expenses in excess of the 10% limitation in fees if the expense is considered to be outside of the normal expenses incurred in the course of submitting a claim to the VCF. The VCF considers the following expenses to be normal expenses incurred in the course of submitting a claim to the VCF and therefore will NOT approve reimbursement by the claimant: obtaining routine supporting documents; costs of printing, mailing, delivery, messenger services and telephone calls; and staff expenses.

Additionally, the VCF will not approve reimbursement of any litigation expenses related to a claimant’s 9/11-related lawsuit (e.g., court filing fees, deposition costs), as such expenses are not related to the submission of a VCF claim.

The VCF recognizes that some claimants may have to obtain copies of medical records in order to:

  • Demonstrate the severity of an eligible injury and/or whether the claimant is disabled (i.e., unable to work at full capacity) because of the eligible injury
  • Demonstrate the impact of the injury on the claimant – including records of medical treatments, prognosis, and limitations on the claimant’s activities – for purposes of determining non-economic loss

The VCF considers such expenses to be non-routine and therefore reimbursable by a claimant provided that:

1. the expenses consist only of the amount charged by the facility that maintains the records;

2. the records were obtained specifically for the VCF claim; and

3. the claimant/attorney made efforts to limit the request to those records that appeared necessary for the VCF claim.

The Special Master believes that other eligible non-routine expenses will be rare. One possible example might be travel expenses for necessary meetings with a client located more than 100 miles from the law firm office.

The VCF does not generally permit the costs of economist analysis/reports as “non-routine” expenses because the VCF does not require such reports. There may be some extraordinary situations where such costs could be considered non-routine expenses – for example, where the claimant’s economic loss requires the valuation of a business.

Any requests for reimbursement of non-routine expenses will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

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12. Registration Process and Filing Deadlines

12.1 NO LONGER RELEVANT (Updated: October 23, 2013)


12.2 Will the Fund accept registrations after October 3, 2013? (Updated: April 4, 2014)

Yes. Registrations will be accepted from October 3, 2013 until October 3, 2016. You can register after October 3, 2013 if:

  • You were diagnosed with your 9/11-related condition after October 3, 2011. If so, you have two (2) years from the date you were diagnosed to register. For example, if you were diagnosed with a 9/11-related physical harm or illness on June 1, 2013, you must register by June 1, 2015. If you are diagnosed on or after October 3, 2014, you must register by October 3, 2016.
  • You were diagnosed on or before October 12, 2012 with one of the cancers that was made eligible on October 12, 2012. If so, you have until October 12, 2014 to register. If you are diagnosed with such a cancer after October 12, 2012, then you have two (2) years from the diagnosis date to register.
  • You were diagnosed with Prostate Cancer on or before October 21, 2013. If so, you have until October 21, 2015 to register. If you are diagnosed with Prostate Cancer after October 21, 2013, then you have two (2) years from the diagnosis date to register.
  • You were diagnosed on or before February 18, 2014 with a Rare Cancer that meets the definition as explained by the WTC Health program on that date. If so, you have until February 18, 2016 to register. If you are diagnosed with a Rare Cancer that meets the definition after February 18, 2014, then you have two (2) years from the diagnosis date to register.
  • The condition you are claiming was added to the list of eligible conditions after October 21,2013. You have two (2) years from the date the condition was added to the list of qualified injuries to register (if you were diagnosed with your 9/11-related condition before it was added to the list), but no later than October 3, 2016.

Please note that no matter when you register, your completed Eligibility and Compensation Forms must be submitted by October 3, 2016.

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12.3 If I was diagnosed with my 9/11-related condition prior to October 3, 2011 but my condition was not on the original list of eligible Fund conditions, what is my registration deadline? (Updated: October 23, 2013)

You have two (2) years from the date the condition was added to the list of qualified injuries. However, because all claims must be filed by October 3, 2016, you must register and submit your Eligibility and Compensation Forms by this date even if it is less than two (2) years from the date the condition was added to the list.

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12.4 If I was diagnosed with my 9/11-related condition after October 3, 2011, what is my registration deadline? (Updated: October 23, 2013)

You have two (2) years from the date you were diagnosed with a 9/11-related condition to register. However, because all claims must be filed with the Fund by October 3, 2016, you must register and submit your Eligibility and Compensation Forms by this date even if it is less than two (2) years from the date you were diagnosed.

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12.5 If I have been diagnosed with a 9/11-related illness but my condition is not on the list of eligible conditions, should I apply just in case the condition is added in the future? (Updated: October 23, 2013)

To preserve your right to file a claim, you should register within two (2) years of the date you were diagnosed with the illness, but no later than October 3, 2016. However, if the condition is added to the list of eligible conditions in the future, you will have two (2) years from the date the condition was added to the list to register. It is important to note that because all claims must be filed with the Fund by October 3, 2016, you must register and submit your Eligibility and Compensation Forms by this date even if it is less than two (2) years from the date the illness was added to the list of eligible conditions.

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12.6 NO LONGER RELEVANT (Updated: October 23, 2013)

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12.7 How do I Register? (Added: August 13, 2013)

Click here to begin your online registration. You will be guided through a series of steps to set up an online account and complete the registration information. You will also receive your VCF Claim Number during the Registration process.

If you are not able to register online, you can register by completing Part I of the hardcopy Eligibility Form and mailing it to the Fund. Once your registration is received and processed, you will receive a letter notifying you of your VCF Claim Number. If you decide to file a claim, you can complete the remaining parts of the Eligibility Form at a later date.

Please note that registration cannot be completed by calling the VCF toll-free Helpline. The Helpline staff can answer questions about registration and filing deadlines but cannot accept registrations over the phone.

Once you register, you have until October 3, 2016 to complete and submit your Eligibility and Compensation Forms. You may submit the forms at any point after you register; however, the VCF cannot begin any review of your claim until the Eligibility Form and the required supporting documents have been submitted.

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12.8 If I am being treated by the WTC Health Program am I automatically registered with the Victim Compensation Fund? (Updated: August 15, 2014)

No. The WTC Health Program and the VCF are different programs. You must register for each of these programs separately.

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13. Private Physician Process

13.1 Why has a patient asked me to submit a report to the VCF? (Added: October 23, 2013)

The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (“VCF”) provides compensation for individuals who suffered injuries as a result of the events of 9/11 and/or the subsequent debris removal. Your patient has asked you to provide specific information to the VCF because he/she has filed a claim with the VCF and now needs to gather information from you about the treatment you provided for a 9/11-related illness or injury.

The VCF must determine whether an injury is eligible - which means that the VCF must determine that the claimant has been diagnosed with one or more covered conditions and also that the condition resulted from the attacks. To do this, the VCF has adopted standards that are currently used by the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program to determine whether an individual has a condition that can be treated because it is causally related to the attacks.

The information you provide about your patient will enable the VCF and the WTC Health Program to make this determination.

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13.2 May a physician send the requested information directly to the VCF rather than returning it to a patient to submit? (Added: October 23, 2013)

Yes. Physicians may mail the information directly to the VCF if that is their preference. Please make sure that the patient is aware that you will be mailing the information directly to the VCF. Please also be sure to write the patient’s name and VCF claim number on all of the documents you submit. You can mail the information to:

      September 11th Victim Compensation Fund
      P.O. Box 34500
      Washington, D.C. 20043

      By overnight mail:
      September 11th Victim Compensation Fund
      1220 L Street NW
      Suite 100 - Box 408
      Washington, DC 20005-4018

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13.3 Will the VCF pay any fees to physicians for providing the report and/or records? (Added: October 23, 2013)

No. The VCF is not able to pay any physician for providing this information or documentation.

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13.4 Why did I receive the package and the request for information from my physician? (Added: October 23, 2013)

There are three reasons you may have received the package:

1) If you have been treated by the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program for some conditions, but also have additional conditions that are being treated by a private physician(s), then the VCF must obtain the information requested in the package for those other condition(s).

2) If you have not been treated by the WTC Health Program or the WTC Health Program was unable to find a record for you in its database, then the VCF must obtain information from your private physician(s) so that it can be evaluated to determine whether your condition(s) are eligible for compensation.

3) If you have been deemed eligible for compensation by the VCF for certain conditions but have requested consideration of additional conditions, then the VCF must obtain information from your private physician(s) so that it can be evaluated to determine if the additional conditions are eligible for compensation.

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13.5 I was told that the VCF would reach out to private physicians on my behalf and that I would not need to gather this information. Has that changed? (Added: October 23, 2013)

The VCF initially intended to contact physicians directly so as to minimize the burden placed on claimants. However, the VCF’s early efforts to request information directly from physicians resulted in physicians stating that they would prefer to receive this request directly from their patients. Based on that feedback, the VCF believes that physicians will provide more complete information in a faster timeframe if the request comes directly from you, the patient. This change in process was made in an attempt to ensure that the VCF can provide the best possible outcome for your claim.

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13.6 What specifically do I need to do and what does my doctor need to provide? (Updated: April 4, 2014)

There are two basic forms to fill out. The first is the “Assessing Exposure Worksheet” which asks for information about your experience at a 9/11 site, what you were doing at the site, and other similar questions. The second form is the “Treating Physician Information Form” which you or your physician can use to list the 9/11-related medical conditions for which you are being treated. You will also need to fill out “Exhibit A - Authorization for Release of Medical Records” in order to allow the VCF to talk with your physician about your claim.

You will also need to provide medical records to support your diagnosis. The WTC Health Program requires certain documents in order to verify a condition for compensation from the VCF. The “Diagnostic Essentials: Physical Health Conditions” document includes the list of required documents you will need to submit based on your specific condition(s).

You are encouraged to carefully review the letter sent to you with the forms as well as the detailed instructions found on the first page of the package. These instructions will guide you through the steps in completing and returning the requested information. The instructions can also be found here. You and your doctor may also find it helpful to review the WTC Health Program latency guidelines for cancer and non-cancer conditions. These documents are available at www.cdc.gov/wtc/policies.html.

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13.7 How many of my doctors need to provide this information and documentation? (Updated: April 8, 2014)

The VCF encourages you to consider which physicians are in the best position to provide the requested information, and to consider providing information for any physician outside of the WTC Health Program who has treated or is treating you for a 9/11-related condition. However, if you are seeing more than one doctor for the same condition, and the information would be very similar from each physician, you may only wish to provide information for one physician.

The VCF will review all the information you submit. Please note that the “Treating Physician Information Form” can be completed by you or your physician. If you complete the form, please notify your physician that the information has been submitted to the VCF. You may wish to provide a copy of the completed form to your physician to have as a reference in case the VCF contacts the physician with any questions about your treatment.

Please remember to complete the “Cover Sheet for Return of Completed Physician Forms” to notify the VCF that all applicable documentation has been received for your claim. You should submit all forms and information in one package unless your physician(s) will mail information directly to the VCF.

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13.8 Is my doctor allowed to charge me a fee for completing these forms and providing the requested information? (Updated: April 8, 2014)

You will need to talk with your doctor about his or her request for payment and discuss any options he or she may be able to provide. The VCF cannot provide payment to your doctor for providing this information. Please remember that the VCF does not require any of the forms to be completed by your physician and that you may complete the “Treating Physician Information Form”. If you complete the form, please notify your physician that the information has been submitted to the VCF. You may wish to provide a copy of the completed form to your physician to have as a reference in case the VCF contacts the physician with any questions about your treatment.

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13.9 What will happen to my claim if I do not submit the physician information? (Added: October 23, 2013)

If you do not submit this information, the next step in your claim will depend on your specific circumstances.

  • If you have one or more NIOSH certified conditions, and you received these forms because you are requesting certification of additional conditions, then the VCF will determine your compensation based on the certified conditions only and will not include the additional conditions when calculating the value of your claim.
  • If you have not been certified by NIOSH for any condition, and you do not submit these forms, the VCF may deem you ineligible for compensation. Please remember that the certified condition is a key component in deciding whether or not you are eligible to receive compensation from the VCF.

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13.10 Once the VCF receives the information from my physician, how long will it take to make a decision on my claim? (Added: October 23, 2013)

There is no set timeframe for making a determination once the VCF receives the requested information. The documentation is reviewed by several different individuals to ensure a comprehensive review of your eligible conditions. The VCF understands that this creates another delay in the review of your claim and is working to have this information reviewed and a determination made as quickly as possible.

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13.11 What happens after the VCF receives my forms and physician information? (Added: October 23, 2013)

Once the VCF receives all of your information – including any documents sent directly to the VCF by your doctors – it will be reviewed by an independent medical expert and then by the WTC Health Program.

Because the VCF cannot begin the review of the information until everything that you intend to submit from your doctors has been received, it is very important to send everything in a single package or upload it to your online claim at the same time. When uploading the forms to your online claim, please select “Private Physician Forms” from the list of document types. This will help ensure your forms are properly categorized for faster processing. Please see FAQ 4.12 on the www.vcf.gov website for step-by-step instructions for uploading documents to your claim.

Please use the Cover Sheet on page 2 of the packet to let the VCF know if any of your doctors will send the information directly to the VCF, and if so, provide their names so the VCF knows to expect their submission.

Please be aware that while the WTC Health Program certification process is ongoing, the VCF continues to actively review your claim, and may reach out to you for further information.

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13.12 If I return these forms, will I be found eligible for compensation from the VCF? (Added: October 23, 2013)

Returning these forms does not mean that you will be found eligible for compensation from the VCF. Eligibility depends on many factors, including which (if any) of your conditions NIOSH determines to be 9/11-related, your presence at the site, and the status of your participation in any 9/11-related lawsuits. The VCF will contact you once a final determination has been made on your claim.

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13.13 If I have already submitted medical records to the VCF, do I still need to complete the forms in the Private Physician package? (Updated: April 4, 2014)

Yes - but only if you are not being treated by the WTC Health Program for the specific condition. The medical records are just one part of the information that is needed in order to certify a condition as eligible for compensation from the VCF. If you have already submitted your medical records to the VCF, you will still need to complete and submit the forms listed below. These forms are not long – and when they are submitted, the VCF will be able to process your claim.

1) Assessing Exposure to the September 11, 2001 Attacks: There are two versions of this form - one for those present at the NYC site and one for those present at either the Pentagon or Shanksville, PA sites. Complete only the one that is applicable to you.

2) Exhibit A - Authorization for Release of Medical Records: Please complete this form and provide an original to each physician who will submit information on your behalf. You must also provide an original to the VCF for each physician in order to allow the VCF to communicate with your physician about your claim.

3) Treating Physician Information Form: You can fill out this form or you can have your physician complete it. If you complete the form, please notify your physician that the information has been submitted to the VCF. You may wish to provide a copy of the completed form to your physician to have as a reference in case the VCF contacts the physician with any questions about your treatment.

You will also need to review the records you submitted and compare them to the list included in the WTC Health Program “Diagnostic Essentials: Physical Health Conditions” document. If you have provided the required records then you do not need to submit any more records in support of your claim. If the medical records you submitted to the VCF do not meet the requirements for your condition as listed in this document, you will need to submit additional records that meet the requirements.

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13.14 Are there any other options for providing the information if I cannot submit the Private Physician forms? (Added: November 21, 2013)

Yes. You may be able to enroll in the WTC Health Program. You can find an application on line at www.cdc.gov/wtc or by calling 1-888-982-4748. If you are enrolled and if the WTC Health Program confirms that it has certified your condition for treatment, then they will be able to provide the VCF with information about your certified condition(s).

The VCF periodically requests updated information from the WTC Health Program and will continue processing your claim while awaiting the confirmation of your certified condition(s). Please understand that if you choose this option, it may take some time for the WTC Health Program to begin treating you and to provide the required information to the VCF.

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