A Message from Special Master Sheila Birnbaum
July 15, 2016
Today, the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (“VCF”) issued updated program statistics (available here). The report includes statistics as of July 10, 2016 on the status of Group A payments, and information on the eligibility and compensation decisions for both Group A and Group B claims. This is the VCF’s first quarterly report that includes information on Group B award decisions, which could not be issued until the updated regulations were published on June 15, 2016 and the availability of Group B funding was confirmed following the expected completion of Group A payments. Now that decisions are being issued for Group B, we have also returned to posting the weekly statistics report each Tuesday.
I am proud to announce that the VCF has paid over $1.8 billion to date to 9,017 Group A claimants, with less than 50 claims remaining to be paid in full. We have also approved a total of 14,761 eligibility claims since the program re-opened in 2011 and have completed review of over 1,200 Group B compensation claims. First responders account for 89 percent of the total loss amount awarded across both groups of claims. Individuals with cancer diagnoses account for 37 percent of the total awards.
Since the reauthorization of the VCF in December 2015, I have provided regular updates on our progress in implementing the changes required by the reauthorized statute. One of the major milestones we have been working towards is the issuance of Group B award decisions. The team has worked extraordinarily long hours to finish Group A payments and implement the changes in our policies and procedures that are needed in order to review and decide Group B claims. We began issuing Group B decisions on June 30, 2016 and are close to finishing the remaining key activities outlined in our reauthorization timeline.
Over the coming weeks, we will post information about the launch of the updated claim form and the enhancements being made to our online system. We are poised to begin accepting new claims and are ready to begin authorizing the payments on the first Group B awards in mid-August.
As always, I encourage you to call the VCF Helpline at 1-855-885-1555 with any questions you may have. For the hearing impaired, please call 1-855-885-1558 (TDD). If you are calling from outside the United States, please call 1-202-514-1100.