How Long Does the VCF Claims Process Take?
If you are out of work or otherwise suffering financially from a 9/11-related health issue, your most pressing question likely is: How long will my VCF claim take? This is not an unreasonable question, given the federal government’s reputation for working neither quickly nor efficiently. However, VCF claims generally move through the system comparatively quickly compared to several other benefits programs, although certain issues may come up that could delay an applicant’s claim. Read on to find out more about how long the VCF decision process takes or contact our VCF lawyers for more detailed information.
How long does it take to get compensation from the VCF?
Starting on May 31, 2021 The VCF has streamlined their process to make help 9/11 victim compensation claims go faster. The VCF reviews claims on a “first-in, first-out” basis, meaning that decisions are rendered based on the date the compensation claim was submitted, prioritizing older claims over newer claims.
While the VCF states that it is moving toward issuing determinations within one year of claim submission, it has not yet reached this goal. For example, currently claims submitted prior to June 2020 are currently receiving award decisions resulting in roughly a 20-month timeline.
The overall time that it takes to get compensation from the VCF varies based on a number of factors including:
- Accuracy of your information
- Completeness of your claim
- Timeliness of responses
- The amount of claims before you
It is possible that expedited claims can take as little as 3-4 weeks although not all victims will qualify for an expedited VCF claim
How can I get my VCF claim faster?
Once you submit your claim to the VCF, it will undergo two phases of review. In the first phase (the “preliminary review”), it will confirm that all of your “minimally required” documents have been submitted. If you are missing any of the required documents the VCF will send you a missing information letter, to which you have 60 days to respond. In the second phase of review (the “substantive eligibility review”), the VCF will review your claim to determine whether you meet the eligibility criteria set out by the Zadroga Act and in the VCF’s regulations. If it needs any further information, it will send you a missing information letter, to which you have 30 days to respond. Submitting your claim with missing information or failing to respond to a VCF request can result in delays or the denial of your claim.
Can you expedite the VCF Claims Process?
It is possible to expedite the VCF claim review process in a few cases including:
- cases of terminal diagnoses
- Instances of significant financial hardship
The Victim Compensation Fund defines significant financial hardship as an imminent or pending foreclosure or eviction proceeding, utility cutoff, or similar circumstances. To request an expedited review, you must contact the VCF and submit the appropriate documentation to support your request.
The VCF will then notify you within 48 hours if your request for expedited review has been approved or denied. If approved, the VCF can process your claim, issue your award, and process your payment in as little as 3-4 weeks. Please note, however, that expedited review is available only for claims that are otherwise complete and accompanied by all required documents.
A trained 9/11 attorney has experience with the Victim Compensation Fund process and is able to help get your claim as quickly as possible by assisting in collecting the needed documents and information. Additionally, a trained 9/11 lawyer can help to avoid running into issues that may slow down or even stop the VCF claim process. This allows you to receive the maximum compensation in the shortest time possible without the risk of valid VCF claims being rejected.
Contact Our VCF Lawyers for More Information about the VCF Claims Timeline
The best way to ensure that your VCF claim moves through the review process as quickly as possible is to seek the assistance of experienced counsel who can help you submit a complete, review-ready claim. To get started, please contact the VCF lawyers at Pitta & Baione by using our online contact form or by calling us at 212-658-1766.