On October 3, 2018, the VCF published in the Federal Register a Notice of Inquiry as part of the Special Master’s statutory obligation to periodically reassess the VCF’s policies and procedures for two purposes: to make sure that (1) we prioritize claims for individuals who suffer from the most debilitating physical conditions, and; (2) we do not exceed the $7.375 billion in funds appropriated to the VCF. The publication was prompted by an August 2018 projections analysis that suggested the possibility that, following current policies and procedures, the VCF might exceed its available funding prior to the designated program end on December 18, 2020.
On February 15, 2019, The Special Master released the Seventh Annual Status Report and the Third Annual Reassessment of Policies and Procedures, which outlines the VCF’s accomplishments and the current state of the program. The report was accompanied by a Message from the Special Master highlighting the VCF’s progress in issuing awards, and discussing the dramatic increase in claims filed.
As explained in the report, the $5 billion issued in awards as of January 31, 2019, combined with the influx of claims submitted, leaves the VCF in a difficult situation. After completing the updated projections based on the most recent data, the Special Master has determined that there is insufficient funding remaining in the Fund to pay all current and projected claims at the same levels as under current policies and procedures. Accordingly, as the law requires, the Special Master is adjusting VCF policies and procedures so as to ensure that the VCF does not expend funds beyond its appropriated limit of $7.375 billion. To that end, the VCF must make significant reductions in awards, and these reductions will affect all claims for which a determination has not yet been made, regardless of when the claim was filed.
Below are links to important documents and resources related to the funding insufficiency and the reductions to awards. These reductions are effective for any award issued on or after February 25, 2019.
- A Message from Special Master Rupa Bhattacharyya
- Seventh Annual Status Report and Third Annual Reassessment of Policies and Procedures – Section 9 provides details of the VCF projections; Section 10 discusses the Notice of Inquiry and Determination of Funding Insufficiency
- Questions and Answers specific to the funding insufficiency and reduction in awards
- Notice of Inquiry as published by the Special Master in the Federal Register on October 3, 2018
- Comments to the Notice of Inquiry - link to public comments received in response to the notice
If you have any questions, please call the VCF's toll-free Helpline at 1-855-885-1555.