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A Message from Special Master Sheila Birnbaum - First VCF Appeal Hearings Convened

February 10, 2014

I am pleased to announce that the first VCF appeal hearings were held on January 29, 2014 at the VCF office in New York City.

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. A claimant also has the opportunity to appeal a compensation calculation.

The Deputy Special Master and I presided over several eligibility and compensation hearings. We were joined by a group of Hearing Officers who have been recruited and trained to conduct these appeal hearings. The hearings were convened in-person with some participants joining by phone. A court reporting service was utilized to provide transcripts of the proceedings. These transcripts will help us in rendering a final decision on the claim.

My goal is for these appeal hearings is to be fair, efficient, and non-adversarial. I am dedicated to ensuring that every claimant who appeals the decision on their claim and requests a hearing is able to schedule the hearing in a timely manner and is kept informed of the process. Appeal hearing participants will be notified in writing of the final decision on their claim as quickly as possible.

As always, if you have questions about the VCF claims process, I encourage you to call our 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.