FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

Updated: November 22, 2016


The Frequently Asked Questions provide additional information about various aspects of the VCF. Click the section title below to expand and collapse the list of questions related to that topic. Click on the specific question to read the complete answer. A PDF version of the FAQs is also available in English, Spanish, Polish and Mandarin.


The VCF has a new reference document for detailed information on VCF policies and procedures. The document includes information on eligibility criteria, the methodology used to calculate economic and non-economic loss, payment procedures, appeals and hearings, claims for deceased individuals, and information for claimants who are represented by an attorney for their claim.


Section 1: General Questions

1.1 I submitted my claim. What happens next and when will a decision be made on my claim? (Added: November 10, 2016)

1.2 How do I add or change the attorney on my claim? (Added: September 9, 2016)

1.3 What is the WTC Health Program Disability Evaluation Process and how do I sign up for an evaluation? (Added: September 9, 2016)

1.4 If I already submitted my claim, how do I add a new condition for consideration? (Added: September 9, 2016)

1.5 Do I need a lawyer to file a claim? (Added: November 10, 2016)

1.6 If I participate in a lawsuit under the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), can I still file a VCF claim? (Added: November 10, 2016)

Section 2: Registration and Other Deadlines

2.1 How do I register my claim with the VCF and what is my deadline? (Updated: September 9, 2016)

2.2 If my Registration was incomplete and I need to start over, will this impact whether or not my claim is considered to have been timely registered by my applicable deadline? (Added: September 9, 2016)

2.3 Can I register if I missed the October 2013 registration deadline? (Added: November 10, 2016)

2.4 If I was diagnosed with a newly-added WTC Health Program condition, such as new-onset COPD or Acute Traumatic Injury, what is my registration deadline? (Added: November 10, 2016)

Section 3: New Claim Form

3.1 I started my claim using the old system or the old form. What happens to it now that the form and system have both changed? (Added: August 1, 2016)

3.2 Do I now have to submit all parts of the claim form at the same time? (Added: August 1, 2016)

3.3 Why does the Document Checklist in my claim list all required documents and not just the ones that are applicable based on my claim form responses? (Added: September 9, 2016)

3.4 How do I view my answers to the claim form questions once I submit my claim? (Added: September 9, 2016)

Section 4: Amendments

4.1 When should I amend my claim and when should I appeal? (Added: November 10, 2016)

4.2 If I am certified for a new condition by the WTC Health Program after my award was issued, can I amend my application? (Added: November 10, 2016)

4.3 I do not agree with the VCF’s finding regarding my level of disability. What should I do? (Added: November 10, 2016)

4.4 I have a Group A claim and filed a compensation amendment that hasn’t yet been decided. What happens next and when will a decision be made? (Updated: November 10, 2016)

Section 5: Compensation and Payment

5.1 What if my bank account or address has changed since my last payment?

5.2 How long can my attorney hold my payment before disbursing it to me? (Added: June 15, 2016)

5.3 When can I expect to receive payment and will the payment be pro-rated? (Updated: November 10, 2016)

5.4 Are disability payments from other sources (such as Veterans Affairs, NYCERs, etc.) deducted from my award? (Added: November 10, 2016)

5.5 Can I get reimbursed for medical expenses that were not covered by the WTC Health Program? (Added: November 10, 2016)

Section 6: Reauthorization

6.1 What does the reauthorization of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 mean for the VCF? (Updated: September 9, 2016)

6.2 Who can help me understand the reauthorization and what it means for my claim?

6.3 The bill reauthorizing the VCF references Group A and Group B claims. Which group is my claim in?

6.4 What are the main differences between Group A and Group B? (Updated: September 9, 2016)

6.5 Why am I part of Group B if my claim was submitted before December 17, 2015? (Added: June 15, 2016)

6.6 How different is the Group B loss calculation methodology? Is there a cap on economic loss? (Added: June 15, 2016)




Section 1: General Questions


1.1 I submitted my claim. What happens next and when will a decision be made on my claim?

(Added: November 10, 2016)

As a general rule, claims are reviewed in “first in, first out” order based on the date the claim was submitted. The VCF’s current priority is on reviewing claims that were submitted before August 1, 2016 when the new claim form became available. This means the VCF has prioritized claims that have been waiting longer before beginning review of newer submissions.

The Special Master has set a goal to decide by the end of 2016 all compensation claims for eligible claimants that were submitted more than two years ago (prior to August 1, 2014), and that include all of the information needed to decide compensation. As a result, we are focused on these claims as a priority for review.

Although we are focused on claims submitted more than two years ago, we do expect that we will be able to make significant progress before the end of 2016 on claims that were submitted between one to two years ago (August 1, 2014 – August 1, 2015). We do not expect to be able to complete all of these claims, particularly given the time and attention required to decide complicated issues of compensation, but our team is committed to reviewing as many claims within this group as possible by the end of 2016. This message from the Special Master posted to our website on September 9, 2016 outlines our claim processing goals.

If your claim was submitted after August 1, 2015, we may not be able to begin review of those claims until early 2017. We recognize that asking you to accept this timeframe for the review of your claim means your compensation will be delayed, and we appreciate your understanding as we work to render decisions for those claimants who have waited even longer. Please remember that each VCF claim is individually reviewed and calculated, with some of the more complex claims taking significantly longer to complete.

Once the VCF begins reviewing your claim, we will contact you if we need any additional information. The best way to help speed the review of your claim is to respond promptly to any request.

Over the next few months as we make progress on the older claims, we will post information to our website showing the general steps in the claim review process and the average timeframe we have set as a target for each step. This will provide the basis for future reports on our progress, as well as give you an understanding of how long it should take, on average, for a decision to be rendered on your claim.

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1.2 How do I add or change the attorney on my claim?

(Added: September 9, 2016)

To add or change the attorney on your claim, you will need to provide the VCF with the information about your new attorney and complete and submit the Claim Form Signature Page to allow the VCF to communicate with your attorney about your claim. Your attorney will need to complete and submit Exhibit C if the law firm has not already submitted this document to the VCF.

Follow the steps below based on your specific situation to update the attorney information in your claim:

  • If you did not previously have an attorney associated with your claim and you are adding one for the first time,you can add the attorney’s name and contact information under “Claim Details.” Once you log in to your claim, click on the VCF number in the left-hand column of the Summary Table to access the Claim Details screen. Once you have added the information, call the VCF Helpline to request online access be granted to your claim for your attorney.
  • If you previously authorized the VCF to communicate with an attorney and you now want to revoke this authorization because the attorney no longer represents you, please call the VCF Helpline at 1-855-885-1555 so we can update the information in your claim. If needed, the Helpline can also help you access your online claim.

    If you would like to authorize the VCF to communicate with a new attorney, please have your new attorney’s name and contact information available when you call the Helpline.

If you submitted documents directing the VCF to pay your claim through your attorney, that instruction may not be changed after your award letter is issued. You may still remove or change the attorney associated with your claim for any future appeal or amendment. If your award is changed by that amendment or appeal and you submit new payment instructions by completing and submitting the Payment Instructions Change Form, then the new payment instructions will apply to the payment resulting from the amendment or appeal and all subsequent payments. Claimants should be aware that, regardless of how they receive payment from the VCF, they are liable for any agreement related to attorney fees as specified in the attorney-claimant contract.

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1.3 What is the WTC Health Program Disability Evaluation Process and how do I sign up for an evaluation?

(Added: September 9, 2016)

The VCF has worked with the WTC Health Program to implement a disability evaluation process for victims who are disabled due to an eligible condition, but who do not have a determination of a total and permanent disability from some other source, such as the Social Security Administration, a state Workers’ Compensation program, or a private doctor or insurance company. This program provides a way for you to have a disability evaluation for purposes of your VCF claim.

This program is not for everyone. It is intended for victims who have partial or full disability due to an eligible condition but who do not have, or cannot get, a disability determination from one of the standard third party entities. Victims who already have a disability decision based on an ineligible condition also may be candidates for the program if their eligible condition also became disabling.

Click here for complete details on the WTC Health Program Disability Evaluation Process, including how you can request that you be considered for an evaluation.

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1.4 If I already submitted my claim, how do I add a new condition for consideration?

(Added: September 9, 2016)

You should amend your claim by following the guidance below based on your specific situation.

  • If the condition you want to add has been certified for treatment by the WTC Health Program: Submit your amendment by following these instructions. The VCF will contact the WTC Health Program to confirm the condition is eligible and will send you a revised Eligibility Decision letter with the outcome of our review.
  • If the condition you want to add is not being treated by the WTC Health Program: Submit your amendment by following these instructions. In addition to submitting your amendment, you will also need to submit a completed Private Physician package. These forms provide a way for the VCF to gather the required information about your treatment in order to process your claim. All forms and instructions are available on the VCF website under “Forms and Resources.” You should submit the completed Private Physician forms at the same time you submit your amendment. Once the VCF receives your amendment and the Private Physician package, we will review the information to determine if it provides the basis for a revised decision.

If you have already submitted your Compensation Form, the VCF may calculate the amount of your loss and issue your payment while still reviewing your request to add a new condition. If this should happen, the VCF will provide you with directions on how to amend your compensation claim based on the outcome of our review of your additional condition.

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1.5 Do I need a lawyer to file a claim?

(Added: November 10, 2016)

No, you do not need an attorney to file a claim with the VCF.

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1.6 If I participate in a lawsuit under the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), can I still file a VCF claim?

(Added: November 10, 2016)

Yes, if you participate in a lawsuit under JASTA, you can still file a VCF claim. See Zadroga Act, Pub. Law No. 107-42, as amended by Pub. Law No. 107-71, Section 405(c)(3)(C)(i). Any compensation awarded by the court in the lawsuit or obtained in a settlement of litigation will be treated as an offset and deducted from your VCF award.

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Section 2: Registration and Other Deadlines


2.1 How do I register my claim with the VCF and what is my deadline?

(Updated: September 9, 2016)

You must register with the VCF by the deadline that applies to your individual circumstances, as set forth in the table on page 2 of Registration and Claim Filing Deadlines. By timely registering your claim with the VCF, you preserve your right to file a claim with the VCF in the future, but no later than December 18, 2020.

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2.2 If my Registration was incomplete and I need to start over, will this impact whether or not my claim is considered to have been timely registered by my applicable deadline?

(Added: September 9, 2016)

If your Registration status was “Incomplete” prior to August 1, 2016 when the new claim form became available, you will need to create a new registration in the online system and you will receive a new VCF number. However, the information you previously entered in your original registration will still be stored in the system and the VCF will be able to see the data. When you submit your new registration and claim form, we will use the data from your original incomplete registration when determining the timeliness of your claim.

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2.3 Can I register if I missed the October 2013 registration deadline?

(Added: November 10, 2016)

Yes. The October 3, 2013 registration deadline applied only to those individuals who knew on or before October 3, 2011 that their condition was related to 9/11, as determined by the WTC Health Program or another government entity. If you learned your condition was related to 9/11 after October 3, 2011, the October 3, 2013 deadline does not apply to you.

The October 3, 2013 deadline also does not apply to those who have a 9/11-related condition that was added to the list of eligible conditions after October 3, 2011.

The table on page 2 of Registration and Claim Filing Deadlines outlines the registration deadlines that apply based on your individual circumstances. You must register by the applicable deadline in order for your claim to be considered timely. Once you register, you have preserved your right to file a claim with the VCF in the future, but no later than December 18, 2020.

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2.4 If I was diagnosed with a newly-added WTC Health Program condition, such as new-onset COPD or Acute Traumatic Injury, what is my registration deadline?

(Added: November 10, 2016)

Your registration deadline depends on your specific situation and when the WTC Health Program or another government entity notified you that your new-onset COPD or acute traumatic injury is 9/11-related. The table on page 2 of Registration and Claim Filing Deadlines outlines the registration deadlines that apply based on your individual circumstances. You must register by the applicable deadline in order for your claim to be considered timely. Once you register, you have preserved your right to file a claim with the VCF in the future, but no later than December 18, 2020.

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Section 3: New Claim Form


3.1 I started my claim using the old system or the old form. What happens to it now that the form and system have both changed?

(Added: August 1, 2016)

If you previously submitted your Registration, Eligibility and/or Compensation form using the old system or the old hard copy claim form, your claim form information is in our system and you do not need to resubmit the information. You will be able to access your claim and see the information just as you have always been able to do.

However, if you started but did not submit any part of your claim in the online system, or if you submitted only part of the claim in hard copy, you will need to complete and submit the incomplete parts of your claim using the new form in order for our review to begin.

If you are using the online system, this guide provides information on the specific steps you should take based on the current status of your claim. For any section of the old form that was incomplete in the old system, the information you entered is still available for you to view and use as a reference when completing the new claim form. To view the information, click on the “View Documents” icon on your claim and click to open the file named “ClaimFormasofJuly2016.pdf.”

If you are filing a hard copy claim, you will need to complete and submit those sections of the new claim form that you have not already submitted using the old form.

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3.2 Do I now have to submit all parts of the claim form at the same time?

(Added: August 1, 2016)

Yes. The new claim form has been simplified by incorporating all of the different versions of the old form into one, combined form. This means you must answer all of the questions specific to both Eligibility and Compensation before your form is considered to be submitted and ready for our review.

If you are submitting your claim online, you will need to complete all of the required questions in the Registration, Eligibility, and Compensation sections of the system in order to submit your claim. You can start, save, and return to the form if needed. Although the system still shows the distinct sections of the form and an individual status for each section, you will not be able to submit your claim until you answer all of the required questions in all three sections.

If you are submitting a hard copy form, you will need to answer all of the applicable answers throughout the claim form in order for the VCF to properly enter your claim information into our system and begin our review.

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3.3 Why does the Document Checklist in my claim list all required documents and not just the ones that are applicable based on my claim form responses?

(Added: September 9, 2016)

If you started your claim using the old claim form and submitted the Registration portion of your claim prior to August 1, 2016, your Document Checklist will show a generic listing of required documents. The dynamic, claim-specific document checklist tailored to your specific circumstances can only be generated for claims that are started and submitted using the new form. You can access the full Document Checklist from the “Claim Details” view in your online claim.

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3.4 How do I view my answers to the claim form questions once I submit my claim?

(Added: September 9, 2016)

Once you have logged into the system, follow the steps below to view the answers you submitted with your claim:

  • If you filed your claim after August 1, 2016 using the new claim form: Click the “printer” icon in the far right column of the Summary Table. This will display all the completed questions and answers.

  • If you submitted all or part of your claim form prior to August 1, 2016: Click on the “View Documents” icon and then the PDF file titled “ClaimFormasofJuly2016.pdf.” The PDF file will open and will include the completed questions and answers.

  • If you completed part of your form prior to August 1, 2016 and part of the form after that date: You will need to look in both locations as explained above to see all of your claim form answers.

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Section 4: Amendments


4.1 When should I amend my claim and when should I appeal?

(Added: November 10, 2016)

When you receive a determination letter from the VCF, you generally have two options for how to proceed if you believe that the determination does not fully address your claim.

  • Option 1 - Appeal the Decision: You can file an appeal after the VCF has notified you of the eligibility or compensation decision on your claim. The decision letter will include an Appeal Request Form and instructions for how to appeal.

  • Eligibility: You can appeal if the VCF has determined that you are ineligible to receive compensation. You should only appeal the eligibility decision if you do not have any additional information to submit in support of your claim and you believe the only way to demonstrate your eligibility is through testimony at a hearing.


    Compensation: You can appeal if you believe the amount of your loss was erroneously calculated. For example, you would appeal the compensation determination if you believe that the VCF used an incorrect income amount to calculate lost earnings, or did not include in the calculation specific information regarding employer-provided benefits that was provided in the claim submission. You should only appeal the compensation decision if you think the information you submitted in support of your claim was not properly considered in determining the amount of your loss.


    Your eligibility denial letter or award letter will include a form you must use to notify the VCF if you intend to appeal the decision. You have 30 days from the date of the letter to notify the VCF of your decision to appeal. If you do not postmark or upload the appeal form within 30 days from the date of the letter, you have waived your right to appeal that decision. If you amend your claim in the future and receive a new determination from the VCF that includes an option to appeal, you will have the ability to appeal that determination.


  • Option 2 - Amend your Claim: You should file an amendment, not an appeal, if you have new information to provide that was not previously submitted, or if your circumstances have changed since receiving your decision letter. For example, you would file an amendment if:

    • You have additional injuries and/or conditions that were not considered in your original determination and you believe are eligible for compensation.
    • You have a condition that was considered in your original determination but that has worsened since that determination was issued.
    • You originally filed a claim for non-economic loss only and you now want to claim economic loss.
    • You filed a claim for economic loss but did not include a claim for a component of the loss (e.g., replacement services).
    • You have new losses as a result of a newly eligible condition.

    You may amend your claim at any time before December 18, 2020. Detailed instructions on how to amend your claim can be found under “Forms and Resources” on the www.vcf.gov website.


    Amendments filed after the claim has been deemed ineligible: If you are amending your claim because you were found to be ineligible to receive compensation from the VCF, then you must submit information that was not previously submitted at the time the eligibility determination was made and that addresses the deficiency as set forth in your eligibility decision letter. For example, if you were denied because the VCF determined that the information you provided was insufficient to establish your presence at the site, then you should submit new documentation to demonstrate proof of presence. If you submit the same documentation that you previously submitted, the VCF will not issue a revised decision on your claim and you will not have an option to appeal.

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4.2 If I am certified for a new condition by the WTC Health Program after my award was issued, can I amend my application?

(Added: November 10, 2016)

Yes, you can amend your claim to add a new condition at any time prior to December 18, 2020. The VCF will review the information you submit with your amendment and will notify you of the outcome of our review. If the VCF finds you eligible for compensation for the new condition and you are seeking additional loss related to the condition, you must also file a compensation amendment. You can find complete instructions on How to File an Amendment under “Forms and Resources” on our website.

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4.3 I do not agree with the VCF’s finding regarding my level of disability. What should I do?

(Added: November 10, 2016)

If you have new information regarding your disability that you have not yet provided to the VCF, you should amend your claim. If you believe, however, that the VCF did not properly calculate your award based on your level of disability, and you provided all appropriate information with your claim, you should appeal the decision by following the instructions in your award letter.

When determining the level of disability, the VCF can only consider eligible conditions. For example, if another government entity has found you 100% disabled for two conditions, but only one condition is eligible for compensation from the VCF, then the VCF can only consider the one condition and its associated disability when calculating your loss.

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4.4 I have a Group A claim and filed a compensation amendment that hasn’t yet been decided. What happens next and when will a decision be made?

(Updated: November 10, 2016)

The amended portion of your claim will be reviewed and decided under Group B. This means you received the full payment for the Group A portion of your claim, and the VCF will review your amendment and issue a separate decision under Group B guidelines.

As a general rule, we are reviewing submissions in “first in, first out” order. At this time, however, our overall priority for review is on those claims that have not yet received any award determination. Although we are also reviewing amendments, we are doing so as a lesser priority. This means the review of your amendment will take longer.

Once we begin review of your amendment, we will contact you to request any missing information. The best way to help speed the review of your amendment is to respond promptly to any request.

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Section 5: Compensation and Payment


5.1 What if my bank account or address has changed since my last payment?

If you have already received at least one payment from the VCF and your banking information has changed since the last payment was processed, you must complete and mail or fax a new Payment Information Form to the VCF as quickly as possible. If your address has changed, please call our Helpline for assistance in updating our records.

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5.2 How long can my attorney hold my payment before disbursing it to me?

(Added: June 15, 2016)

It is the Special Master’s expectation that law firms will immediately disburse payments to their claimants once the money is deposited into the law firm account. The Special Master has communicated to the law firms that they are obligated to disburse payments in no more than thirty days. Under no circumstance should you wait longer than 30 days for your attorney to disburse the money after receiving the payment on your claim.

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5.3 When can I expect to receive payment and will the payment be pro-rated?

(Updated: November 10, 2016)

Funding to pay Group B claims became available on October 1, 2016 and the VCF began issuing payments on that date. Group B payments will not be pro-rated. Your claim will be paid in full for the calculated loss amount at the time the payment is processed.

The timing of your payment depends on whether or not you appeal your award:

  • If you do not appeal the award decision on your claim, the VCF will begin processing your payment once the 30-day appeal period ends. Once the VCF begins processing the payment, it may take up to 20 days for the Special Master to authorize the payment. The payment then gets processed by the Department of Justice and the Treasury Department, which may take up to 3 weeks. This means your payment should be issued to the designated bank account within 2-1/2 months from the date of your award letter.

  • If you appeal the award decision on your claim, the VCF will not begin processing your payment until a decision is made on your appeal. The payment process starts once the VCF sends you the letter notifying you of the outcome of your appeal. Once the VCF begins processing the payment, it may take up to 20 days for the Special Master to authorize the payment. The payment then gets processed by the Department of Justice and the Treasury Department, which may take up to 3 weeks. This means your payment should be issued to the designated bank account within 1-1/2 months from the date of your post-appeal decision letter.

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5.4 Are disability payments from other sources (such as Veterans Affairs, NYCERs, etc.) deducted from my award?

(Added: November 10, 2016)

Yes, if the payments are related to your disability from an eligible 9/11-related condition. The statute requires that the VCF offset from your award any disability benefits you are receiving, or entitled to receive, related to your eligible physical conditions. If you are receiving disability payments for conditions that are not eligible under the VCF, those amounts will not be deducted from your award.

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5.5 Can I get reimbursed for medical expenses that were not covered by the WTC Health Program?

(Added: November 10, 2016)

Yes. You can claim past medical expenses for eligible conditions that were not covered by the WTC Health Program or by private insurance. These are considered out-of-pocket medical expenses. You will need to provide specific information for each out-of-pocket medical expense for which you seek reimbursement from the VCF. To do this, you must complete the VCF Medical Expense Worksheet (available under “Forms and Resources” on the VCF website) and provide supporting receipts, invoices, or other documentation for each listed expense showing the amount you paid. The worksheet must be completed using the Medical Expense Worksheet in Microsoft Excel format and uploaded to your claim.

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Section 6: Reauthorization


6.1 What does the reauthorization of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 mean for the VCF?

(Updated: September 9, 2016)

The reauthorization put in place a new law that extended the VCF for five years and included some important changes to the VCF’s policies and procedures for evaluating claims and calculating each claimant’s loss. The law included the following significant changes:

  • Extended the VCF for 5 years from the date the legislation was signed – The deadline for filing a claim has been changed from the original deadline of October 3, 2016 to the new deadline of December 18, 2020.

  • Increased the VCF’s total funding – The new law made the original $2.775 billion appropriation available immediately to pay claims and provided an additional $4.6 billion in funding that became available on October 1, 2016.

  • Directed the VCF to make a full payment on any loss determination that has already been issued – For claimants who received a letter dated on or before December 17, 2015 notifying them of the amount of their loss, the VCF has processed the final payment for the remaining 90% of the loss amount.

  • Placed certain limitations on future award amounts – The law directed specific changes to the way in which the VCF calculates loss amounts for certain claimants. This includes limiting the amount of non-economic loss that can be awarded, eliminating claims for future out-of-pocket medical expenses, and capping the computation of economic loss by limiting the annual income level.

As required by the reauthorization, the Special Master reviewed the legislation to understand how it impacts claimants and the VCF’s day-to-day operations and drafted updated regulations reflecting the new law. The Final Rule was published on September 2, 2016.

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6.2 Who can help me understand the reauthorization and what it means for my claim?

If you are working with an attorney, please contact your attorney for information about your claim. Your attorney is in the best position to let you know exactly what has been submitted to the VCF and when it was submitted, and can update you on any requests the VCF has made for additional information. Your attorney can also confirm whether or not the VCF has issued a decision on your claim and the timing of that decision. The VCF will also copy you on important correspondence we send to your attorney about your claim even if you did not specifically request that we do so.

If you are not represented by an attorney, you can call the VCF toll-free Helpline at 1-855-885-1555 for assistance.

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6.3 The bill reauthorizing the VCF references Group A and Group B claims. Which group is my claim in?

The law created two groups of claims – Group A and Group B – and defined the groups based on the date the Special Master “postmarks and transmits” a final award determination to the claimant. The VCF interpreted this language to mean the date of the letter from the Special Master indicating the total loss amount calculated for a claim. The law also established that the date of the letter that is used to distinguish between Group A and Group B is the date “on or before the day before the date of enactment” of the reauthorization. Since the law was enacted on December 18, 2015, this means that December 17, 2015 is the date “on or before the day before the date of enactment.” Based on the language set forth in the law, you can determine the group your claim is in based on the following:

  • Group A: If you received a letter notifying you of the loss calculation decision on your claim and the letter was dated on or before December 17, 2015, your claim is in Group A.

  • Group B: Any claim that is not in Group A was automatically placed in Group B. That is, if you did not receive a letter dated December 17, 2015 or earlier notifying you of the loss calculation decision on your claim, your claim is in Group B.

This means that Group A is “closed.” For specific details and important information about what it means to be in Group A or Group B, please read the additional FAQs below pertaining to the Reauthorization.

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6.4 What are the main differences between Group A and Group B?

(Updated: September 9, 2016)

Highlighted below are the general differences between Group A and Group B claims.

  • Group A: If your claim is in Group A, your losses were computed in accordance with the regulations that were published in August 2011. The new law directed the VCF to make the full payment on your claim “as soon as practicable after enactment of the legislation.” The VCF completed all Group A payments in August 2016, except for claims that have issues preventing payment.

  • Group B: If your claim is in Group B, the decision on your claim could not be made until the Special Master published the updated regulations explaining how claims will be processed under the new law and funding became available to pay Group B claims. This applies even if you had submitted your claim form and supporting documents prior to the reauthorization. The Final Rule was published on September 2, 2016, and the VCF begin processing Group B payments on October 1, 2016 when the funding became available.

This means that Group A is “closed.” For specific details and important information about what it means to be in Group A or Group B, please read the additional FAQs below pertaining to the Reauthorization.

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6.5 Why am I part of Group B if my claim was submitted before December 17, 2015?

(Added: June 15, 2016)

The date you submitted your claim does not have any impact on whether the claim is considered to be in Group A or Group B.

The law reauthorizing the VCF defined Group A and Group B based on the date the Special Master “postmarks and transmits” a final award determination to the claimant. The VCF interpreted this language to mean the date of the letter from the Special Master indicating the total loss amount calculated for a claim. The law also established that the date of the letter that is used to distinguish between Group A and Group B is the date “on or before the day before the date of enactment” of the reauthorization. Since the law was enacted on December 18, 2015, this means that December 17, 2015 is the date “on or before the day before the date of enactment.” Based on the law, this means that a claim is in Group A if the loss calculation letter for that claim was dated on or before December 17, 2015. Any claim that is not in Group A is automatically placed in Group B.

There are many reasons why a claim submitted a long time before the reauthorization may not have received a loss calculation letter dated on or before December 17, 2016. Each claim is unique, but in general, the claims that were submitted years before the reauthorization and did not have a loss calculation at that time had incomplete compensation forms, an eligibility issue that precluded compensation review, were missing required supporting documents that were not submitted with the claim, or have unique circumstances related to compensation that require additional research or third-party verification. We encourage you to review any correspondence you have received from the VCF to understand what may be needed in order to process your claim. You can also call the VCF Helpline to discuss your specific claim status.

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6.6 How different is the Group B loss calculation methodology? Is there a cap on economic loss?

(Added: June 15, 2016)

The reauthorization statute requires certain changes to the loss calculations for Group B claims. Most notably, the law does the following:

  • Caps non-economic loss that results from a cancer at $250,000.
  • Caps non-economic loss that does not result from a cancer at $90,000.
  • Instructs the Special Master to prioritize claims for victims who are determined by the Special Master to be suffering from the most debilitating physical conditions. The statute provides that such individuals should not be unduly burdened by procedures necessary to maintain the aggregate funding cap. The Special Master interprets this requirement to mean that the available funds should be prioritized for those with the most debilitating conditions. Therefore, non-economic loss awards for such claims will be at the higher end of the range of awards and non-economic awards for those with much less serious conditions will be at the lower end of the range of awards. This means the non-economic awards for victims with conditions that are less serious or less debilitating will be lower than they were under Group A. In some cases, typically involving milder conditions that have a limited effect on daily life, the non-economic award could be 50% lower. As always, the VCF will evaluate each claim individually and will take into account the individual circumstances and condition of the victim in determining the award.
  • For purposes of calculating economic loss, caps Annual Gross Income (“AGI”) at $200,000 for each year of loss. Annual Gross Income is defined in the Internal Revenue Code. This is a cap on the annual computation of loss.
  • Removes the $10,000 minimum award. The new statute requires the Special Master to compute the loss and then deduct any collateral offsets without applying any minimum award. As a result, some claimants will not receive an award because the amount of the offset exceeds the amount of loss.

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