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Messages from the Special Master

2024 | 2023 | 2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015
February 12, 2024

I was very proud to step into the role of Special Master in March 2023, particularly as a native New Yorker and someone who was raised to respect and value public service. In the months since, I have been struck by many things that I hadn’t fully anticipated – chief among them the need to inform the public about the VCF and to ensure that every person who might be eligible for a VCF award is aware of the program and has the resources and support they need to register and file a claim.

December 4, 2023

Stathi Patseas has joined the VCF as the Manager of Communications and External Affairs.

September 11, 2023
Dear Friends, It has been 22 years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States. In thinking about my message on this day of commemoration, that number seemed particularly important. Out of curiosity, I checked. And while I am by no means an advocate of numerology, I found it interesting that the number 22 is thought to represent a sense of diplomacy and cooperation, combined with stability, hard work, and practicality.
May 16, 2023
Dear Friends, The two months since I started as the new permanent Special Master of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (“VCF”) have flown by and have been both intense and rewarding. I have benefitted greatly from the training and guidance provided by the VCF’s excellent leadership team, and I am deeply moved by the commitment of the entire VCF team and their dedication in serving the 9/11 community.
March 10, 2023

It has been a true honor to serve as interim Special Master for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (“VCF”).  This is an important mission and an incredible team that works hard every day to serve those who are suffering illnesses stemming from the terrorist attacks perpetrated over 20 years ago.  It has been my goal to ensure continuity during the search and hiring of a permanent Special Master so that the good work of this team continued without delay, and I hope I have met that goal. 

February 6, 2023

The VCF completed its 11th year of operation in 2022, a year that brought with it measurable progress, continued challenges, and notable transitions – the most significant of which was the departure of Special Master Rupa Bhattacharyya in April 2022, after nearly six years of dedicated and extraordinary service at the VCF, and 27 years with the Department of Justice. Rupa’s far-reaching contributions will continue to benefit the 9/11 community for years to come, and she has my deepest gratitude for her service to this community.

September 9, 2022
Dear Friends, The anniversary of the September 11th attacks is always a time for reflection.  For me personally, this is the first anniversary since being appointed earlier this year as the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund’s (“VCF”) interim Special Master.  Despite my relatively short time in this role, I have been touched by the stories in each claim I have reviewed, and deeply impressed by the perseverance, resilience, and humility of the community our team serves.  Today, we continue to pay tribute to the lives lost and the community that came together during the recovery efforts in response to one of our country’s hardest challenges.
April 29, 2022

It is an honor to step into the role of Special Master on an interim basis while the process to identify Rupa Bhattacharyya’s permanent successor is identified.  I have been a career civil service attorney with the Department of Justice since 1998, and have managed several Civil Division components for temporary periods, including the branch that has responsibility over the operations of the VCF.  In that capacity, I’ve worked with Rupa to help address issues that arise in the management of the VCF and am familiar with its functions and operation.  I look forward to working with the VCF aga

February 24, 2022

Kimberly (Kim) C. Brown has joined the VCF as the Director of Operations. In this new position, Kim will focus on overseeing the VCF’s day-to-day operations in areas such as the Helpline and the processing of hard copy mail, identifying opportunities for innovation as the VCF continues to move into its long-term status stemming from the passage of the VCF Permanent Authorization Act.

February 9, 2022

The VCF successfully navigated another highly productive year in 2021, in a year that saw not one but two significant anniversaries: the 10th anniversary of the passage of the Zadroga Act, which created in the VCF, in January, and then the solemn reminder months later that twenty years have passed since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

February 16, 2021

While it is impossible to review the past year without mention of the enormous challenges presented by COVID-19, and its particularly severe impact on the 9/11 community, I am proud to report that the VCF’s work on their behalf continued with almost no disruption throughout 2020.

January 4, 2021
Ten years ago, on January 2, 2011, President Obama signed into law the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, which established the World Trade Center Health Program and reactivated the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF).
September 11, 2020
Dear Friends: This year, as we commemorate the 19th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, we do so with even heavier hearts as we see the added struggle of those with 9/11-related health conditions, and the particularly severe impact of COVID-19 in New York. We realize that in the months ahead, we are likely to see claims on behalf of those who have a 9/11-related condition and have suffered or died as a result of COVID-19. I want to take this opportunity to assure the 9/11 community that, as with all claims, we will review each case on its own facts in view of the laws governing the VCF. We have posted to our website a specific FAQ that explains how the VCF will evaluate claims where COVID-19 may have been a factor in an individual’s death, and we will be updating this information as needed.
August 6, 2020

Dear Friends:  I wanted to reach out directly and clarify some confusion that has arisen in recent days about September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (“VCF”) deadlines.   

There are two deadlines in the VCF’s claim filing process:  a Claim Filing Deadline and a Registration Deadline.  It is important to distinguish between the two and be aware of which applies to your individual circumstances.   

July 29, 2020
Today we mark the first anniversary of President Trump’s signing of H.R. 1327, the “Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act.”
February 24, 2020
Anthony Gardner has joined the VCF as the Director of Communications and External Affairs, a new position created following the passage of the VCF Permanent Authorization Act.
February 19, 2020

This has been a year of many challenges, and significant changes for the VCF, greatest among them the July passage of the Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act (“VCF Permanent Authorization Act”), which secured the VCF’s funding for claims and amendments filed through 2090 (see page 5).  This year also saw the departure of Deputy Special Master Jordy Feldman, who left the VCF after more than 10 years of superb and dedicated service.

November 21, 2019

Dear Friends,

It is with regret and pride that I announce that Deputy Special Master and Director of the New York Office, Jordana (“Jordy”) H. Feldman, has left the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund ("VCF") to accept a position to design and administer a proposed claims resolution program intended to help victims of sexual assault resolve their claims through a confidential, non-adversarial alternative to litigation.

September 6, 2019

Dear Friends

Today’s program statistics report for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (“VCF”) reflects steady progress: as of August 31, 2019, we have made awards to 23,850 individuals, some more than once due to an amendment or appeal, totaling almost $5.6 billion in awards.

July 29, 2019

Dear Friends,

On July 29, 2019, President Trump signed into law H.R. 1327, The Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund ("VCF"). The VCF Permanent Authorization Act extends the VCF’s claim filing deadline from December 18, 2020, to October 1, 2090, and appropriates such funds as may be necessary to pay all approved claims.

June 12, 2019

On June 11, 2019, the Special Master testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on The Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties with regard to H.R. 1327, legislation to permanently extend authorization for the VCF. View her full testimony.

February 15, 2019
Today, the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (“VCF” or “Fund”) publishes its Seventh Annual Status Report and the Third Annual Reassessment of Policies and Procedures required under the terms of the Reauthorized Zadroga Act, Pub. L. No. 114-113 (Dec. 18, 2015).
October 2, 2018

Dear Friends,

When Congress reauthorized the VCF in 2015, it extended the time for individuals to submit new claims – as well as amendments on existing claims – until December 18, 2020. The Reauthorization Act also directed me, as the Special Master, to periodically reassess the VCF’s policies and procedures to make sure that we prioritize claims for individuals who suffer from the most debilitating physical conditions, and that we do not exceed the $7.375 billion in funds appropriated to the VCF.