Message from Special Master Rupa Bhattacharyya
May 10, 2018
As a team, the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (“VCF”) remains committed to awarding compensation as quickly and fairly as possible, and to handling each claim with the individual attention it deserves. The program statistics report we are issuing today reflects the strong and steady progress of the VCF under its current leadership team.
As of April 30, 2018, the VCF has rendered over 21,000 compensation determinations, including initial awards on new claims, and revised awards on claims with amendments or appeals. These determinations total over $3.6 billion awarded to VCF claimants. In all, the VCF has compensated claims from more than 13,600 responders to the attacks in New York City, at the Pentagon, and at the Shanksville site, as well as almost 2,800 others who lived, worked, or traveled through areas of lower Manhattan and were exposed to debris and toxins generated by the attacks and their aftermath.
I am particularly pleased to report on the hard work of the entire VCF team. In the nearly two years since I was appointed Special Master, the VCF has issued more than 4,000 eligibility approvals, more than 12,000 compensation determinations, and nearly $1.8 billion in awards, nearly equaling the amount of funds paid out in the first five years of the program. In addition, we have made substantial progress in working through the oldest claims filed with the VCF. At the beginning of last year, in January 2017, the VCF had over 3,000 claims that were submitted in 2015 or earlier. Today, we have just over 1,300 claims submitted in 2016 or earlier, many of which were on hold for long periods due to missing information. We continue to make these oldest claims our first priority.
This is a record to be proud of, but I continue to remain focused on what more needs to be done. As we see increasing numbers and types of illnesses befalling this heroic community, I am acutely aware of the need to process claims as expeditiously as possible. As a team, the VCF strives to improve efficiencies without compromising thoroughness, to reach resolutions while remaining true to the statutes and regulations that govern the VCF, and to remain mindful that each claim represents an individual life that was forever changed that day.
I hope you find the information in today’s report helpful, and encouraging. We remain vigilant and faithful to a process that provides important recognition and compensation to a deserving group of individuals. It is my distinct honor to serve this community, and, along with my dedicated and talented team, I remain deeply committed to the mission of the VCF and to sharing reports of our continuing progress.
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 1-202-514-1100.