How to File a Claim
The VCF is working very hard to process claims efficiently and fairly. Click on the links below for an important overview of the claim review process and important tips to speed the processing of your claim.
How do I File a Claim with the Victim Compensation Fund?
There are two ways to file a claim. You may file a claim using this online system or, if you do not have access to a computer, you may file a “hard copy” claim form by mail. The VCF encourages claimants to file online. Use of the online process will help lower administrative costs. If you cannot file online, you may request a hard copy claim form by calling the toll free Helpline at 1-855-885-1555.
To file a claim through the web-based system, you must first register. Once you have completed the registration process, you will be able to complete and submit the Eligibility Form – which is the first portion of the claim process. 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.
What is the Registration Process?
The registration process is the first step in the claims process and is designed to collect basic information about the potential Claimant (and the Claimant’s representative, if applicable) and his/her claim.
In the registration process, you will be asked to provide basic information on (i) the 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 will be filing the claim on behalf of the injured or deceased individual (such as the parent or guardian of a minor child or the Personal Representative of a deceased individual), and (iii) if applicable, the attorney or other individual who is assisting the Claimant or authorized representative. In addition, the registration form requests basic information about the status of the Claimant, including the Claimant’s “presence” at a 9/11 crash site during the period between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002.
This registration process does not create a claim and you do not waive any rights 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. To meet the VCF’s filing deadline, you must complete and submit a registration within two years of when you first knew or should have known that you were injured as a result of September 11 (or by October 3, 2013 if you first learned of your injury before October 3, 2011). Please see FAQ #4.6 for more information on the deadline for filing claims.
How Do I Complete the Eligibility Form?
If you decide to proceed with filing a claim with the VCF online, you must first register. You may then use the account you set up in the registration process to get access to and then complete the Eligibility Form. The Eligibility Form includes some of the same questions that you answered in the registration process. The information that you provided when registering will be saved so that you do not have to enter it a second time, but if you need to change your answers, you may do so. If you are filing a hard copy claim form by mail, you do not need to register online.
The Eligibility Form also requests information about:
Claimants must also submit certain supporting documents with their Eligibility Form. The Eligibility Form contains a Document Checklist. If you are filing the Eligibility Form online, the Document Checklist allows you to submit your supporting documents electronically. If you are filing the Eligibility Form by mail, please include the Document Checklist with your claim form and supporting documents.
To complete the Eligibility Form, claimants must print and sign several forms and documents. Certain of these documents are authorization forms that will allow the VCF to obtain documents that are necessary to evaluate the claim. All Claimants must complete and sign these documents and return them by mail to the VCF.
The submission of a substantially complete Eligibility Form waives your rights to file a lawsuit for damages sustained as a result of the September 11th attacks or subsequent debris removal (except for lawsuits to recover collateral source obligations or against any person who is a knowing participant in any conspiracy to hijack any aircraft or commit any terrorist act). Submitting a substantially complete Eligibility Form may also affect the rights of others to file these types of lawsuits. For more information about this waiver, see the Frequently Asked Questions.
Can I Print my Claim Form?
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.
What will Happen After I Submit my Eligibility Form?
The VCF will begin reviewing and evaluating your claim once it receives your filed Eligibility Form, supporting documents, and required signatures. 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.
Claimants are encouraged to complete the Compensation Form while awaiting a decision on the Eligibility Form. However, Claimants may also wait for the Eligibility decision and complete the Compensation Form at a later date. As long as the Eligibility Form is timely submitted, the Claimant may file the Compensation Form at any time during the program.
The Compensation Form requests details on the nature of the Claimant's losses, including information on:
Like the Eligibility Form, the Compensation Form contains a Document Checklist to help Claimants organize the supporting documents that must be submitted. If you are filing the Compensation Form online, the Document Checklist allows you to submit your supporting documents electronically. If you are filing the Compensation Form by mail, please include the Document Checklist with your claim form and supporting documents. For a description of the kinds of documentation that you will be asked to submit with the Eligibility and Compensation Forms, see the Document Checklist.
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The Department of Justice is authorized to collect this information by the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001, Title IV of Public Law 107-42, Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act, 49 U.S.C. § 40101 note, as amended by the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, Title II of Public Law 111-347. The information you submit is for official use by the U.S. Department of Justice for the purposes of determining your eligibility for and the amount of compensation you may receive under any claim you may choose to submit to the Victim Compensation Fund. Provision of this information is voluntary. Information you submit may be disclosed by the Government only in accordance with the provisions of the Privacy Act.