Claimants who suffered a loss of past earnings because of a September 11th-related medical condition may be eligible for compensation from the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) even if they weren’t disabled. The VCF may compensate for lost earnings related to an eligible condition without a disability determination, if sufficient evidence is provided that the victim was unable to work or unable to work at the same level as a result of an eligible condition and incurred monetary losses as a result. Such cases often arise when a claimant misses a substantial amount of work while undergoing treatment for an eligible condition but then recovers and returns to work. There is no ongoing disability, but there may be lost earnings.
In order to recover the lost earnings, the claimant must prove: (1) there was a loss of earnings; and (2) the loss was connected to an eligible condition. The different pieces of information that establish these two elements must overlap in time.
Claimants must fill out VCF’s worksheet and provide supporting documentation including specific evidence that the victim incurred monetary loss because he/she could not work during the specified time period and evidence substantiating the amount claimed. For example, a claimant might have medical records showing an extended period of hospitalization for an eligible condition, plus earnings records showing a significant decrease in earnings during the same time period. Or a claimant might have a doctor’s note excusing the claimant from working on certain dates due to an eligible condition, plus paystubs or a letter from the employer that establish an unpaid leave of absence on those dates, and the rate of pay the claimant would have received had he/she worked.
In addition, claimants must clearly document that the loss of earnings was caused by an eligible condition. Claimants must provide the name of the eligible condition that caused the loss of earnings and it must match one of the conditions listed on the claimant’s most recent eligibility determination letter. Medical records showing extensive treatment or a doctor’s note for leave from work could suffice as evidence that loss of earning was caused by an eligible condition if the specific eligible condition is noted.
The deadline for filing a VCF claim is December 18, 2020. If you need assistance with submitting a claim for lost past wages, reach out to Sullivan Papain Block McGrath Coffinas & Cannavo at (800) 962-9954 and via SPBMCC’s contact page.