When the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund calculates compensation for responders and survivors who have eligible conditions, it considers the non-economic damages and economic damages, and subtracts any collateral offsets. Whether you’ve filed a claim with the VCF or already received your award, the VCF must be notified of the source of any collateral payments that you have received, or became entitled to receive, since your claim was filed. The VCF must also be made aware of any increases or decreases in collateral source payments that you previously reported.
What are Collateral Payments?
If you were a responder or survivor of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, you may have been entitled to certain payments in connection with your injury, separate and apart from VCF compensation. These payments may include:
- Social Security disability
- Workers’ Compensation
- VA benefits
- Disability insurance
- Any other payment from federal, state, or local government
These kinds of payments are all considered collateral payments for VCF purposes. They can also include life insurance or death benefits that the estate of a deceased victim may have received.
Do 9/11-Related Lawsuit Settlements Count as Collateral Offsets?
Generally, to file a claim for compensation with the VCF, you must have withdrawn any lawsuit for damages related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and waive your right to pursue one in the future. However, the VCF allows you to pursue two types of lawsuits and still be eligible for compensation:
Lawsuits to Recover Collateral Source Payments
The VCF allows those who are entitled to payment from collateral sources to file a lawsuit to recover those obligations. The VCF will subtract any of the payments when determining your award.
Civil Actions Against Those Who Committed Terrorist Acts
Responders and victims entitled to VCF compensation may also participate in a civil action against a “knowing participant in any conspiracy to hijack any aircraft or commit any terrorist act” without affecting their claim for VCF compensation — any settlement from the lawsuit would be treated as a collateral offset. Several such lawsuits were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Do I Notify the VCF if I Already Received Determination of My VCF Award?
If you already received the determination of your VCF award, it will not be adjusted to reflect a new collateral source payment if you provide notice to the VCF within 90 days of the date you found out about it. If the VCF is notified after 90 days from the date you found out about your entitlement to receive payment from a new collateral source, your VCF award will reflect the offset — and possibly result in a lower amount.
How Do I Notify the VCF of New Collateral Source Payments?
The VCF provides a specific form that you can fill out with information about the collateral source, and whether it’s a new entitlement, or a previously reported payment that’s been increased or decreased. The form also requires you to provide the VCF with:
- the payment amount
- frequency of payment, and
- the date you were first notified of the new collateral source.
If there is a decrease in the collateral source and you’d like the VCF to look at your previously issued award in light of the change, you must submit an amendment.
Contact a New York City 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Attorney
If you are a responder or survivor who has suffered an eligible 9/11-related health condition or cancer, you may be entitled to receive compensation from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. Navigating the VCF can be confusing, frustrating, and complicated. A 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund attorney can guide you through the VCF claims process and fight for your rights to receive the maximum victim compensation payout to which you are entitled.
The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund attorneys at The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. have represented claimants and their families in 9/11 VCF claims for over a decade. For a free consultation, contact us today.