As of July 28, 2020
The VCF remains operational at this time, although we expect delays in all areas of claims processing. Please read the information below, and continue to check this website for updates.
- VCF Helpline: The Helpline remains operational Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. We expect higher than normal call volumes and appreciate your patience. Please do not leave a voicemail message for a call back unless you have a time-sensitive issue relating to your claim.
- Payment Processing: The Special Master understands the concerns many claimants may have about the impact on VCF payments. We are continuing to process payments each day and are coordinating with our partners to minimize any delays.
- Hearings: Out of concern for our vulnerable claimant population, we are cancelling in-person hearings until further notice. If you appeal the decision on your claim, a VCF team member will contact you or your attorney (if applicable) regarding the next steps on your appeal. Compensation hearings are currently being conducted by telephone. Eligibility hearings will not be conducted by phone, except for expedited claims, and will be scheduled once operations return to normal. Please wait to hear from the VCF about your hearing and do not call the Helpline with questions about hearings.
- Outgoing Correspondence: The VCF is not currently able to mail hardcopy letters. We will continue to generate letters on a daily basis, and electronic copies of each letter will be uploaded to online claims daily. You can view all correspondence on your claim online through the claims system. If you do not have online access to your claim, please contact your attorney (if you are working with one), or call the VCF Helpline. You can find instructions here on how to view the correspondence uploaded to your claim. When normal operations resume, the VCF will print and mail copies of award letters, eligibility decision letters, and payment confirmation letters that were generated during this time.
- Deadlines: All deadlines included in letters remain in effect, with the following guidelines:
- Award Letters and Eligibility Decision letters: You may appeal your decision during the 30-day window outlined in the electronic version of the letter. If you do not appeal during this timeframe, you will have a new 30-day period to appeal when the hard copy letter is eventually mailed (see above information on Correspondence). Appeal hearings will continue to be scheduled based on the order in which the appeal forms are received. Please see the “Hearings” section above for additional information.
- Letters requesting Missing Information: We encourage you to try and meet the deadlines in letters requesting missing information as this is the best way to avoid delays in the processing of your claim. We realize you may not be able to obtain some documents during this time, and if the VCF makes a decision on your claim without the requested documents, you will have the ability to amend your claim to submit the information once you have it. The VCF will then review your amendment and notify you of the outcome of the review. NOTE: if you received a letter from the VCF requesting proof of a certified condition, and you are still waiting for an appointment with the WTC Health Program, the 60-day deadline in the letter does not apply during this time. Your claim will remain inactive until you notify the VCF that your condition has been certified.
- Incoming Mail: Although we are processing mail each day, we are doing so with limited staff in the office. As a result, there may be delays in viewing mailed documents in the online claims system.
We appreciate your patience as we work to adjust to changes in our operations while protecting the health and safety of our employees during these challenging times.
Looking for information on how COVID-19 is impacting the World Trade Center Health Program (WTC Health Program)? The WTC Health Program is a separate program from the VCF. The latest updates from the WTC Health Program are available on the WTC Health Program COVID-19 page.