The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) recently announced that it has updated its medical expense policy. These updates will affect 9/11 victims who have filed economic loss claims with the VCF and are seeking reimbursement for past out-of-pocket medical expenses.
The VCF recently distributed the following notice regarding its New Medical Expense Policy:
As you know, we continually review and evaluate the manner in which claims are processed to ensure that our team is not only performing as efficiently as possible, but that we continue to stay true to both the statute and to our commitment to claimants. With this in mind, we have updated the policy and process for claiming and reviewing past out-of-pocket medical expenses.
Claims for out-of-pocket medical expenses take an extraordinary amount of time for the VCF to review, and often result in a very small portion of the overall award. Because they take so much time, they end up delaying the issuance of the award. Our goal first and foremost is to get initial award decisions and payments to claimants as quickly as possible and we believe these changes support that focus. The updated policy is attached and will be incorporated into the VCF Policies and Procedures document within the next few days. The key changes include the following:
· The claim for medical expenses must be submitted as a compensation amendment to a claim and only after the claimant has received their initial award determination. This allows the VCF to issue the initial award determination more quickly, since we are not spending time during our initial review to verify each claimed medical expense.
· If the claim is amended to seek reimbursement for medical expenses, the VCF will only review the amendment if the total amount of the claimed medical expenses incurred due to eligible conditions exceeds $2,000. Establishing this minimum threshold is consistent with the Special Master’s interpretation of the Reauthorized Zadroga Act’s requirement to prioritize funding to those claimants with the most debilitating conditions.
· The amendment must be submitted with the required documentation as explained in the attached instructions, and in the required format, in order to be considered for reimbursement.
Additionally, VCF.gov updated its Frequently Asked Questions page in Spanish, Polish and Chinese.
Many 9/11 victims are still grappling with the physical effects of the terrorist attacks and the financial hardships incurred. The deadline for filing a VCF claim is December 18, 2020.
For more eligibility information regarding the VCF, or to discuss submitting past out-of-pocket medical expense claims, reach out to Sullivan Papain Block McGrath Coffinas & Cannavo at (800) 962-9954 and via our contact page.