Yes. On November 21, 2019, Congress passed the USVSST Fund Clarification Act , which now allows 9/11 victims, widows, and dependents – as specifically defined by the Clarification Act – to receive USVSST Fund payments, even if they had already applied for or received compensation from the VCF.
This is a legislative reversal of the prior statutory language under which some of these claimants would not be compensated by the USVSST Fund if they were simultaneously pursuing a VCF claim. As a result, if your claim was withdrawn “with prejudice” from VCF2 so that you could pursue a claim with the USVSST, the VCF will no longer enforce the withdrawal. Instead, the VCF will re-open the claim and move it back into the review process, with the priority date for review as it was at the time of the withdrawal.
Note, the VCF is required by law to offset any benefit paid by other collateral sources relating to the 9/11 attacks. As a result, USVSST Fund payments made to victims who are also eligible for compensation from the VCF, will be subject to offset by the VCF. To be clear, the VCF is required to offset USVSST Fund payments made on account of 9/11-related injuries to the same victim. If the VCF victim and the USVSST Fund victim are not the same person (e.g., the USVSST Fund claim is because of a judgment entered for damages arising from the death of a spouse, parent, or sibling, even if the claimant is the same person), the VCF is not required to take an offset.
- If you have a simultaneous claim with the USVSST Fund and the VCF, and the VCF has not yet determined your claim, then the VCF will continue processing your claim to a determination and will notify you of your award. The VCF will not be able to pay any award, however, until the total amount of your USVSST Fund payment is known. The USVSST Fund may continue to authorize payments through 2030, so you would not get any VCF award before then. See USVSST Fund FAQ 4.13.
- If you have a simultaneous claim with the USVSST Fund and the VCF, and the VCF has already determined and paid your claim, then please be advised that if the VCF award and any subsequent USVSST Fund payment are made on account of injuries to the same victim, the VCF is required by law to recoup the amount of any collateral payment made by the USVSST Fund to a victim, or victim’s estate or beneficiaries, that is received as a result of the same injury or death that was the basis for the VCF2 award. Claimants with prior paid VCF2 awards, accordingly, are required to notify the VCF (by submitting a Collateral Offset Update Form) of USVSST Fund payments made as a result of a victim’s injury or death if the same injury or death was the basis for the VCF2 award, whether or not the USVSST Fund payment is made to the same person as the VCF payment, and will be required to make appropriate arrangements to refund the VCF any amounts that the USVSST Fund has paid on account of the same victim, up to the total value of the VCF2 award.
For specifics on USVSST Fund eligibility, information on how to make a USVSST Fund claim, the time frame in which do so, or the way in which the USVSST Fund will treat VCF awards (both in VCF1 and VCF2), please consult the materials provided by the USVSST Fund on its website (www.usvsst.com). Please remember that you must inform the VCF of any new collateral source payments you receive, or become entitled to receive, after your claim has been filed – including after any award has been determined or paid – until the VCF closes on October 1, 2090. As stated in the VCF’s Collateral Offset Update Form, the notification requirement for collateral source benefits received subsequent to filing of a VCF claim applies to any payments that the victim, or the victim’s estate or beneficiaries receive, or are entitled to receive as a result of the victim’s injury or death in the terrorist-related aircraft crashes of September 11, 2001, or the debris removal efforts in the immediate aftermath of the crashes.