The September 11 terrorist attacks were a series of suicide attacks and airline hijackings that cost the lives of several people in the United States. But even after the actual attacks, that horrific incident has continued to affect many individuals to the harmful exposure to the 9/11 dust cloud. It's one reason why the September 11 Victim Fund was enacted. It’s designed to offer compensation to any individual or a personal representative of a deceased victim who suffered harm or was killed because of the terrorist attacks or exposure to the debris removal efforts.
But before someone receives the compensation they need; they have to file a 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) claim first. Unfortunately, dealing with this process may be complicated since there are many things to keep in mind to ensure a favorable outcome.
If you’re planning to file a 9/11 VCF claim, below are the three key considerations to take from the get-go:
1. Eligibility requirements
One of the essential things you need to consider before filing a 9/11 VCF claim is the eligibility requirements. You can’t seek compensation for the harm caused by the terrorist attacks if you’re ineligible under the VCF Act. Hence, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the following eligibility requirements before making a claim:
- You were a first responder or a survivor of the September 11 terrorist attacks who sustained traumatic injuries or had been diagnosed with respiratory ailments or cancer a few years later due to the exposure to the toxic dust during the debris removal efforts.
- Your cancer or other recognized health condition was certified by the World Trade Center Health Program. It’s a program designed to provide health treatment and medical monitoring to the affected individuals. Also, even if the VCF and WTC Health Programs are two distinct entities with different eligibility requirements, the VCF will deny your claim if you haven’t secured a certification letter from the WTC Health Program.
Indeed, specific requirements need to be established to be eligible to file a VCF claim. But knowing whether you qualify or not can be confusing. In that case, you may need the assistance of one of the best VCF lawyers in your area. They know what steps to take to establish your eligibility for the VCF benefits. They also have professional connections with medical specialists who can prove that your injury or medical condition was the proximate result of the 9/11 attacks.
Also, after determining your eligibility, they can help make the process much easier and faster. Like a personal injury attorney, they can guide you through the claim process by helping you determine the amount of compensation you may receive.
2. Registration requirements
It’s important to know that VCF has strict guidelines when it comes to registration. Before filing a claim, you must register first with the VCF. Failing to do so can bar you from seeking compensation for the harm you sustained because of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Moreover, you should also be aware that there are registration deadlines to follow. It's because failing to register with the VCF before or within the deadline may affect your chances of getting compensated for your medical condition or injury. For example, you have two years within which you should register with the VCF from the latest date of certification by the WTC Health Program. Otherwise, you’ll have trouble filing a claim.
3. Completed claim forms
Preparing all the claim forms before filing a 9/11 VCF claim is also essential. Generally, there are many types of documents to be completed and submitted, depending on the circumstances surrounding your claim. For example, suppose you’re initiating a claim for yourself. In that case, you need to submit documents, such as the claim form, medical records authorization, signature page, Social Security Administration Consent form for economic losses, and other relevant documentation.
Because of this, you need to ensure that each form has all the necessary information before submitting it. That way, you can prevent receiving a missing information letter and dealing with a delay in processing your claim.
On the other hand, you should also find the time to gather certain pieces of evidence to prove your claim. These can include medical records outlining the treatment or medication you’ve received, expert testimonies from medical professionals, and other information that can benefit your claim.
Generally, dealing with the pain and suffering caused by the 9/11 terrorist attacks can be frustrating. Although nothing can help bring your normal life back, the compensation you receive from the VCF may help you financially recover in time.
Therefore, you should consider filing a 9/11 VCF claim as quickly as possible. But to get this process right, it’s essential to keep the information mentioned above in mind. That way, you’ll know exactly what to consider to make the claim filing process more seamless.