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.
Messages from the Special Master
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On June 11, 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. Her full testimony is available here.
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.
When I stepped into the role of Special Master two years ago, I was focused on our number one priority: to process and pay claims with thoughtful consideration and without unnecessary delay. Although I knew there were challenges ahead, I was eager to build on the progress the VCF team had made since the passage of the Zadroga Act in 2010 and its reauthorization in December 2015.
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.
Today, the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (“VCF” or “Fund”) publishes its Sixth Annual Status Report (available here) and the second Annual Reassessment of Policies and Procedures required under the terms of the Reauthorized Zadroga Act, Pub. L. No. 114-113 (Dec. 18, 2015). The report details the activities, advances, and accomplishments of a very productive year at the VCF.
Each year, as the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks approaches, the country is reminded of the unprecedented losses suffered. At the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (“VCF”), we acknowledge the important milestones reached in providing support to victims and families, but we are especially aware of the lives that continue to be impacted. The anniversary is a time for us to reaffirm our commitment to the important work that still lies ahead, and to maintain strong and steady progress as we seek to award compensation.
Today, the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (“VCF”) publishes its first Quarterly Report of 2017 (available here) and I want to take the opportunity to give you an update on our progress.
As of March 31, the VCF has rendered over 15,500 compensation determinations, including initial awards on new claims, and revised awards on claims with amendments or appeals. These determinations total over $2.48 billion awarded to VCF claimants.
Effective November 3, 2016, Deborah Greenspan concluded her service as Deputy Special Master. Debby was instrumental to the success of the VCF from the time the initial program was enacted in 2001, through the reopening in 2011 and the recent reauthorization in 2015. Over the years, Debby brought her tremendous expertise and commitment to the victims of 9/11 to ensure a claims process that is transparent, equitable, and carefully considers the individual circumstances of each and every claim.
As we approach the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the work that the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (“VCF”) has accomplished since its reopening in 2011, and to update you on our plans regarding the work that remains to do.
It has been exactly one month since I officially joined the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (“VCF”). In that time, I have had the opportunity to immerse myself in the workings of the VCF and begin developing plans for the future so that we can meet the goal of processing claims in a thoughtful way, but without unnecessary delay. I am pleased to report that we are well on our way to meeting the immediate goals that I set when I joined the program last month.
自从我开始担任 9/11 受害者赔偿基金（“VCF”）的特别监察官以来，我始终怀着深深的谦卑感。《扎德罗伽法案》于 2010 年通过并在 2015 年 12 月获得再次批准，我非常钦佩 VCF 团队在 Sheila Birnbaum 的坚定带领下所取得的显著进展。我在就任时也清楚意识到继续此项工作的紧迫性，这样才能快速、高效地处理索 赔，为遭受 2001 年 9/11 恐怖袭击的受害者提供全额赔偿。在过去五年中，Sheila 致力于设计、实施并运营一个公正透明的项目，此项目切合索赔者的需求和担忧，我在此对她展现的同情心和所作 的贡献表示感谢。我们现处于过渡阶段，我已向 VCF 员工清晰说明我们的第一要务是处理并支付索赔，与此同时需要考虑周全，并避免不必要的拖延。 我已经详细了解项目的最新进展，并将全力推进项目发展。
接下来，我非常高兴地宣布我们所取得的重大进展。首先，我们在支付 A 组索赔与评估、裁决 B 组索赔方面建立了新的里程碑。