What To Expect When You File A VCF Claim

The aftermath of the 9/11 attack undoubtedly greatly impacted you and your loved ones. It might have been a journey full of emotions, ranging from pain and grief to loss of hope and despair.

Recognizing this, the US government established the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, commonly called the VCF, in 2001. The primary role of this compensation fund is to pay reparation to victims and affected families of this devastation.

To that end, seeking compensation through the VCF could be a step towards healing and rebuilding for you or your beloved. This comprehensive guide will show you what to expect when you file this claim.

  • The VCF Claims Process

VCF, like any other compensation program, has a claims process you must familiarize yourself with. Ideally, you’ll need to gather all the relevant documentation to substantiate your claim. These documents may include your medical, employment, and financial records.

The essence of these records is to substantiate the 9/11 tragedy’s impact on you or your loved one. A good practice when collecting these records involves seeking guidance from representatives or lawyers specializing in VCF claims. They may help you get the necessary information and support throughout the process.

You should also note that the claims process is thorough and strict. Failure to adhere to its guidelines and requirements may invalidate your claim.

  • Eligibility Determination

The eligibility determination is an essential step in the VCF claims process. During this stage, the VCF team carefully reviews your claim and evaluates the evidence and documentation you provide. Remember, the eligibility of your VCF claim depends on the physical injuries, illnesses, or exposure to toxins you experienced resulting from the 9/11 attacks.

If you’re not a victim, but someone close to you was, you can represent and claim for them if they have already passed. To represent someone, you must have the necessary documents (i.e., their death certificate and proof of the victim’s death). If the victim is still alive but can’t claim because they’re incapacitated, their guardian can process the claim instead.

  • Compensation Determination

The VCF utilizes a detailed calculation method to determine the average compensation for 9/11 victims. Factors considered include:

  • The severity of your injuries.
  • The impact on your earning capacity.
  • The economic losses you have suffered.

Ideally, the formula takes the non-economic loss, adds it to the economic loss, and subtracts collateral offsets (other benefits like insurance that offset some of your losses). The final amount’s determination is then calculated and awarded on a case-by-case basis.

If your claim is recognized and approved, you’ll receive a letter detailing the amount and how the VCF board reached the final decision. The same will happen if your claim gets denied.

Consulting an experienced VCF attorney can provide valuable insights to help you understand the process and advocate for fair compensation.

  • Timelines And Deadlines

Understanding the timelines and deadlines associated with VCF claims is essential. The VCF Permanent Authorization Act, signed in 2019, extended the timeline for filing claims to 2090. However, the registration process is different from the filing process.

Ideally, you must register within two years of knowing you suffered harm from 9/11 or the immediate aftermath. The registration deadlines, though, may vary on a case-by-case basis.

Regularly check the VCF website and online web portal for updates on deadlines and any changes to the process. You can ensure that your claim receives proper consideration by staying aware of all these.

  • Review And Appeal

You can request the VCF to perform a review if you believe that the compensatory damages don’t adequately reflect your losses. If you don’t petition, the VCF fund team authorizes the payment. If you appeal, the amount gets withheld until the process is complete.

Also, you may ask for a review when encountering new evidence unavailable when you first made the initial claim. A petition is also possible if your claim gets dismissed.

The appeals process may allow you to present additional information or address any discrepancies that may have affected the initial determination. Working with a knowledgeable VCF attorney to navigate the process effectively can be instrumental during this stage. Their expertise and understanding can help ensure your claim receives a fair and thorough evaluation.


Understandably, the VCF claims process may feel overwhelming at times. That’s why involving VCF lawyers or other professionals to assist you is advisable. When you do, work alongside them to make a solid compensation claim for the suffering you endured. So, as early as now, be sure to acquire all the documents you need and study the requirements the VCF has.