Shutterstock 415926982

What is the VCF Permanent Authorization Act?

If you were in the NYC Exposure Zone after the September 11th terrorist attacks, you may have incurred a serious injury or been diagnosed with certain medical conditions as a result of inhaling the toxic dust. Thousands of first responders and survivors have suffered from illnesses and physical injuries, including cancers, aerodigestive disorders, acute injuries, and musculoskeletal disorders. 

The September 11 Victim Compensation Fund (“VCF”) was created in 2001 to compensate eligible individuals for the physical harm they suffered or for the death of a family member as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Under the VCF Permanent Authorization Act, individuals now have until 2090 to file a VCF claim. 

Extension of Time to File a VCF Claim

Although the VCF initially closed in 2003, it was reactivated in 2011 by the Zadroga Act to allow claim submissions through 2016. In 2015, the VCF was reauthorized to allow the filing of claims until December 18, 2020.  

In July 2019, the President signed The Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeiefer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act into law. The Act extends the VCF’s claim filing deadline until October 1, 2090. In addition to the claim filing extension, the Act also ensures that there is enough funding to cover all claims that are filed by eligible individuals.

Additional Payment for Reduced Awards  

In February 2019, the Special Master of the VCF determined that the VCF would be reducing the awards for eligible individuals to keep the VCF from running out of funds. As a result, 1,700 individuals had received reduced VCF awards. The Permanent Authorization Act required the VCF to issue additional payment to those affected by the reduction in the amount of the difference between the reduced award and the amount they were entitled.

Since the Permanent Authorization Act provided the VCF with additional funding, any claims currently pending — or claims filed in the future — will also receive the full award amount if the claimant meets the eligibility requirements.

VCF Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for a 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund award, the claimant must meet specific criteria. The VCF must determine that:

  1. The claim was timely registered;
  2. The claimant proved that they were in the NYC Exposure Zone or at one of the attack sites;
  3. The claimant has an eligible condition certified by the World Trade Center Health Program;
  4. The claimant dismissed any 9/11-related lawsuit.

The VCF awards both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages can include financial loss such as lost earnings and pension benefits. Non-economic damages compensate pain and suffering based on the severity of the condition. Additional payment for non-economic loss may be awarded in VCF wrongful death claims.          

Contact a New York City 9/11 VCF Attorney

If you’ve been diagnosed with any form of cancer after 9/11, or any other non-cancerous eligible condition as a result of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, you may be entitled to receive financial compensation from the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). Navigating the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund regulations can be confusing, frustrating, and complicated. It is best to have an attorney on your side who can fight for your rights and ensure you’re getting the maximum compensation to which you’re entitled. 

The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. handles 9/11 VCF claims for first responders, police, firefighters, and anyone who was present in the NYC Exposure Zone between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002. Call for a consultation: 1-800-2-DEARIE.

John P. Dearie

John P. Dearie is a graduate of Regis High School, The University of Notre Dame, and St. John’s University School of Law. After working at a corporate law firm in New York City for two years following law school graduation, he joined The Dearie Law Firm in 2011.

John represents injured New Yorkers in third-party negligence litigations, as well as first responders, workers, volunteers and residents in claims to the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.