September 11th Victim Compensation Fund: Categorizing and Calculating Your Loss

The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) provides compensation for those who suffered physical harm or whose family member died due to WTC-related injuries such as cancer and respiratory disease.

All claims must meet the eligibility criteria of the VCF.

The VCF typically categorizes loss in two ways: economic loss and non-economic loss.

Economic Loss

Economic loss refers to a claimant’s financial losses and eligible expenses. Types of economic loss include:

  • Loss of future earnings.
  • Loss of past earnings.
  • Loss of employment-related benefits.
  • Past out-of-pocket medical expenses and other unreimbursed expenses.
  • Replacement services.
  • Burial or memorial service expenses if the victim is deceased from an eligible condition.

Non-Economic Loss

Non-Economic loss is sometimes referred to as the “pain and suffering” award. Defined under the Zadroga Act, it includes:

“…losses for physical and emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, mental anguish, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of society and companionship, loss of consortium (other than loss of domestic service), hedonic damages, injury to reputation, and all other non-financial losses of any kind or nature.”

A claim seeking only non-economic loss is determined by the severity of an individual’s condition and the effect that condition has on his or her daily activities.

The VCF recognizes two types of non-economic losses:

  • Non-economic loss for death. This is pain and suffering of the deceased victim as well as the pain and suffering of the survivor,which is based on the victim’s death as a result of the September 11th attacks or for those exposed to the dust and toxins from the debris removal. Residents and office workers in the NYC Exposure Zone are eligible.
  • Non-economic loss for injury, which is based on new or lingering pain and suffering as a result of the attacks. This can include diseases and cancers or other symptoms. Residents and office workers in the NYC Exposure Zone are eligible.

New VCF Loss Calculations and Limits

The federal government reauthorized the VCF in September 2016, adding billions of dollars to the fund to help play claims. It also changed the way the VCF calculates loss amounts for certain claimants. The changes included:

  • Capping non-economic losses that result from a cancer at $250,000.
  • Capping non-economic losses that do not result from a cancer at $90,000.
  • Putting certain limitations on future award amounts, including limiting the amount of non-economic losses that can be awarded, eliminating claims for future out-of-pocket medical expenses and capping the computation of economic losses by limiting the annual income level.

A complete list of the changes can be found on the VCF’s site.

Though it has been 15 years since the events of 9/11, many are still grappling with its physical effects and the financial hardships incurred. The deadline for filing a VCF claim is December 18, 2020.

For more eligibility information regarding the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, reach out to Sullivan Papain Block McGrath Coffinas & Cannavo PC at (800) 962-9954 or via our contact page.

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