The United States has a lot to offer to people that choose to visit or stay. But undoubtedly, the popularity enjoyed by New York City is simply unmatched.
While most of us might think of New York for its elegance and the variety of delicious food, some hold tragic memories of an incident that shook everyone around the world- the terrorist attack at the World Trade Centre in Manhattan. Thousands of people lost their loved ones, were injured, or fell chronically ill due to the massive dust clouds and toxins that covered the air around the scene.
To compensate for the losses the people suffered, the US government decided to open a victim compensation fund (VCF), which was closed soon but reopened in 2011. But the questions that people still ask because of a lack of awareness are- who does the VCF cover, what does it include, and how can we file for this claim?
Since the reopening of VCF in 2011, it has received over 67000 claim registrations. This means people are slowly becoming aware of their rights and getting their due compensation. In this article, we will discuss what the victim compensation fund includes and what kinds of losses it considers.
Losses Included In The 9/11 VCF
Congress passed a law in 2001 to establish the September 11th victim compensation fund. It aimed at providing financial compensation to qualifying responders and survivors with contracted illnesses from being in the NYC exposure zone following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Acute traumatic injuries, including burns, eye injuries, fractures, and brain trauma, are all covered by the VCF. They also cover gastrointestinal and respiratory conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, persistent coughs, asthma, and lung diseases. The majority of cancers and mental health issues brought on by the attack are also covered. Any musculoskeletal issues for the first responders at the World Trade Center are also documented.
The two categories for VCF awards are economic losses and non-economic losses. The 9/11-related health conditions that may have influenced a responder’s or survivor’s life are also covered by the VCF in addition to lost wages, benefits, and monetary losses. However, a 9/11-related health issue and disease must first be authorized by the WTC health program to receive reimbursement from the VCF.
Economic loss is defined as earnings and benefits lost prior to submitting a claim to the VCF and anticipated to be lost in the future because of a physical ailment due to 9/11. These losses are comparable to those that a person unable to work due to a medical condition may seek under a workers’ compensation or disability claim. The VCF must ascertain if applicants seeking economic loss are unable to work or have a diminished ability to work due to a health condition related to 9/11. Claimants must provide the following to prove economic loss:
- Evidence proving their inability to work due to a qualifying condition
- Details on the earnings and benefits they would have been qualified for
The VCF will decide how much the claimant will receive, taking into account several variables such as the claimant’s age, income, percentage of disability, date of onset of the condition, and payments obtained from collateral sources (e.g., life insurance, disability benefits, VA benefits, etc.).
Non-economic losses are those that cannot be precisely measured in terms of money, including those involving physical and emotional suffering, bodily harm, inconvenience, mental anguish, disfigurement, loss of relationships, diminished quality of life, and harm to one’s reputation, among other things. The pain and suffering 9/11 victims and survivors endured cannot be quantified in terms of money. Hence the VCF distributes non-economic losses according to claimant categories.
The anticipated judgment for non-economic loss claims for fatalities is $250,000, plus an extra $100,000 for the claimant’s spouse and each dependent. The maximum compensation for claimants claiming non-economic damages for injuries varies depending on the severity of their conditions. Still, it is $250,000 for cancer-related conditions and $90,000 for non-cancer-related conditions.
There may still be out-of-pocket costs that the VCF does not compensate for in the original economic loss claim filing. However, after incurring $5,000 or more in out-of-pocket costs, responders and survivors may submit an amendment.
For example, the VCF does not pay for lodging or gas used in getting to and from medical appointments. However, many other expenses, such as those related to doctor visits, tests, surgeries, and medical equipment, will be covered. The VCF does not provide reimbursement for expected or future medical care.
The VCF was designed to help the survivors and first responders get their due credit. But the claim cannot be taken forward if the person does not register themselves. You can always hire an attorney to help you in the process and complete the necessary paperwork on your behalf.