In 2014, the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) made considerable progress in the processing of claims for compensation. The VCF, sometimes referred to as the 911 Cancer Fund, compensates individuals who have suffered from cancer and other related conditions and have experienced pain and suffering and economic loss. 911 Cancer Fund attorneys have discovered that the VCF has issued decisions in over 80% of the eligibility claims that are ready for decision—which is a substantial improvement from this time last year when completed decisions were at about 45%.
911 Cancer Fund Processing and Payouts Gaining Speed
A recent Newsday interview of newly appointed 9/11 VCF Deputy Special Master Nell McCarthy noted the increase in processing speeds due to more staff and reviewers having more experience at this stage of the fund. Ms. McCarthy also noted differences between claims submitted by attorneys and those submitted by survivors with no legal counsel. She gave an example of a claim submitted by a law firm, which took eight months to process, and a similar case submitted by an unrepresented claimant that took the VCF over two years to process.
Many 911 Cancer Fund lawyers have also noticed that the claims are moving faster and, importantly, they know more quickly when there is missing information for a claimant. The Newsday interview also highlighted the difficulty 9/11 VCF reviewers face when claimants send in mountains of paperwork with prescription receipts and other expenses. When this is the case, it takes longer for the reviewers to wade through it and ultimately it takes longer for them to come to a decision. One of the benefits of having a 9/11 Cancer Fund lawyer is that they can sort out the various documents needed to submit a claim and also collect and submit more documentation most claimants don’t even know they needed to submit
911 Cancer Fund Claimants Anxious for Awards
$551 million has been awarded to responders and survivors in just the past year compared to $27 million from the previous year. However, many 911 Cancer Fund responders and survivors are still waiting and are anxious for compensation. Many of their claims are stalled in the “compensation application” stage and are hoping that their claim will be finished and they will receive some compensation in 2015.
Along with the complicated process of submitting an application for eligibility, claimants must also submit certain information the 9/11 VCF to determine how much they should receive. This includes, tax information, medical bills, prescription receipts, sometimes even medical records establishing disability. Many people feel overwhelmed by the process and send everything they have and in turn it takes VCF reviewers longer to process the claims. This new and improved process, however, should give many are hopeful that 2015 will be the year that they are finally compensated for their substantial losses.
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