U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


Message from the Special Master on the 22nd Anniversary of the September 11th Attacks

September 11, 2023

Dear Friends,

As we commemorate 22 years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States, I have been reflecting on cooperation, stability, and practicality. 

Each of these words resonates with the history of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (“VCF”) and is relevant to the urgency of our work going forward.  Our latest program statistics show that the VCF continues to make important progress.  As of August 31, 2023, we have made awards to 53,531 individuals, totaling over $12 billion in compensation since the VCF re-opened in October 2011. But as we know, the health of survivors continues to decline, cancer diagnoses continue to increase, and as the population ages, declining memories hamper the ability to recall relevant details and experiences.  Most devastating of all, the death toll continues to rise due to illnesses caused by 9/11.  It is only with cooperation and hard work – and the support of all stakeholders – that we will continue to support this community with a stable and accessible VCF.  And I am committed to just that.

In support of that commitment, I am pleased to announce that effective September 8, 2023, Nicole P. Smith has been appointed as the second VCF Deputy Special Master.  Nicole has been with the VCF since October 2011, and brings a remarkable depth and breadth of knowledge to this critical VCF leadership team role. Read more about Nicole on our website.

Many of you have heard about our Transformation effort, which is rooted in the development of a new claims system called myVCF.  This new system will streamline and simplify the claim filing process, making it faster and easier for claimants and families to file their claims and understand where the claim is in the review process.  myVCF uses plain language with a “guided” claim form and easy-to-access directions to make registration and submission of claims and the required documents straightforward.  When fully implemented, myVCF will speed overall claims processing so we can pay claimants more quickly and efficiently.

I’m proud to announce today that we expect to launch myVCF by June of next year.  While there will be many updates on our progress between now and then, I can assure everyone that there will be extensive communications to help you plan for the transition, training modules and materials available prior to launch, and expanded assistance and support available throughout.  As we prepare for myVCF, I am encouraged by the cooperation and support of the 9/11 community.  

In May, I posted a message to our website that included an appeal to law firms that represent VCF claimants to help us speed up claims processing by only submitting claims that are in good order, meaning claims that we can decide when we first pick them up for review.  I am pleased to say that based on recent reporting, it appears the law firms are responding positively and are waiting to submit claims only when they have all required information and documents.  

In that same May message, I asked for assistance with our outreach efforts, committing to identifying survivors and their families who may not know they may be eligible for care through the World Trade Center (“WTC”) Health Program or compensation through the VCF.  As a personal example – in reaching out to three former colleagues who worked in lower Manhattan in the months after 9/11, I found that only one had filed a claim; one was vaguely aware of the VCF; and the other knew nothing about it.  Please tell your friends, colleagues, and family about the VCF, and ask them to tell people they know who were in lower Manhattan or at the Pentagon or Shanksville crash site.  As Special Master, I am committed to expanding our outreach and to ensuring that all those who were impacted receive the care and compensation they deserve.  This fall, I am planning visits to both the Pentagon and Shanksville memorials, including outreach activities at both locations to ensure those who were impacted are not forgotten.

As a Native New Yorker and servant leader I welcome the challenges my team and I face to best serve the 9/11 community far into the future.  I have so many memories of the world before and after 9/11, but I have never experienced a bright clear day the same since.  I am honored and humbled to be in service to this community. Thank you.

For more information on the VCF and Transformation, please visit our website at www.vcf.gov.  For information about the WTC Health Program, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/wtc/index.html.

Allison signature
Allison Turkel