Dear Friends: I wanted to reach out directly and clarify some confusion that has arisen in recent days about September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (“VCF”) deadlines.
There are two deadlines in the VCF’s claim filing process: a Claim Filing Deadline and a Registration Deadline. It is important to distinguish between the two and be aware of which applies to your individual circumstances.
The Claim Filing Deadline. The “Never Forget the Heroes, James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act,” (“VCF Permanent Authorization Act”) fully funded the VCF and extended the VCF’s Claim Filing Deadline until October 1, 2090. The Claim Filing Deadline is the same for everyone. Although the VCF encourages you to file your claim after you have been certified by the World Trade Center (“WTC”) Health Program for a 9/11-related physical health condition and as soon as the full scope of your claimed losses are known so that your claim for compensation can be reviewed as quickly as possible, the last date on which anyone can file a claim is October 1, 2090.
The Registration Deadline. There is a separate deadline by which you need to register with the VCF. Registration is not the same as filing a claim. Registration preserves the right to file your claim in the future, waives no legal rights, and does not obligate you to file a claim. Registration serves only to alert the VCF that you may be a potential claimant; and it meets the legal requirement of timeliness set forth in the law. The Registration Deadline is not the same for everyone. It varies according to individual circumstances:
- If you were certified by the WTC Health Program for a 9/11-related physical health condition before July 29, 2019, you are required to register your claim with the VCF by July 29, 2021. This deadline, which is two years from the date of enactment of the VCF Permanent Authorization Act, provides an opportunity for potentially eligible individuals who did not know that the VCF existed or was open to them, did not know that their condition was related to 9/11 exposure, or did not realize that they were eligible to file a VCF claim or that the VCF would be in place beyond the previous 2020 end date, to register to file a claim.
- If you have not been certified by the World Trade Center (“WTC”) Health Program for a 9/11-related physical health condition, or if any condition is certified after July 29, 2019, you may register by July 29, 2021, but you are not required to do so. You will be required to register within two years of the latest date on which the WTC Health Program certifies your physical health condition as 9/11-related.
- If you are registering to file a claim for an individual who you believe died of a 9/11-related physical health condition before July 29, 2019, you are required to register with the VCF by July 29, 2021.
- If you are registering to file a claim for an individual who you believe died of a 9/11-related physical health condition after July 29, 2019, you are required to register with the VCF within two years of the date of death.
When to Register and When to File a Claim. You may register at any time, so long as you do so before your individual deadline as outlined above. The VCF encourages early registration for all potential claimants, even if you are not sick or certified by the WTC Health Program, as it helps us establish our priorities, plan for our work, and process all claims as quickly as possible. You may register online at www.claims.vcf.gov or over the phone by calling the VCF Helpline at 1-855-885-1555.
You should file your claim only after you have been certified by the WTC Health Program for a 9/11-related physical health condition. This could happen anytime between now and when the WTC Health Program closes in 2090. The VCF encourages you to file your claim after you have been certified and the full scope of your losses are known so that we can review your claim as quickly as possible to evaluate your eligibility for compensation. Claims can be filed at www.vcf.gov.
I urge any 9/11 responder or survivor who has any questions about Registration Deadlines, Claim Filing Deadlines, or anything else related to the VCF, to please call our Helpline at 1-855-885-1555. The staff at the VCF Helpline is available from Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5:00 pm Eastern Time to assist you. Thank you for your continued support of the VCF.