The World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) are separate entities, as previously discussed. The two programs collaborate together to administer the Disability Evaluation process. The process aims to help provide qualifying claimants with a disability determination for an eligible condition so that they may qualify for an economic loss award.
This process is intended for claimants who do not already have a disability determination for an eligible condition from a third-party entity or source (e.g., Social Security Administration, FDNY/NYPD, a state Workers’ Compensation program, or insurance company). Claimants who have a disability decision based on an ineligible condition may qualify for the program if their eligible condition has become disabling.
According to the VCF site, candidates must meet the following criteria to be eligible for the WTC Health Program’s Disability Evaluation process:
- You are a member of the WTC Health Program.
- The VCF has deemed you eligible for at least one physical condition that is certified by the WTC Health Program.
- You do not already have a disability determination based on an eligible condition from a third-party entity, such as Social Security, FDNY, NYPD, NYCERS, or a workers’ compensation program.
- You are not currently working or you are earning materially less income than what you earned before your 9/11-related condition affected your ability to work and there is a reasonable basis to believe that it is your 9/11-related condition that is preventing your return to work, either in whole or in part.
- Your condition certified by the WTC Health Program could reasonably be found to be disabling.
- You are not eligible for WTC retirement or WTC reclassification by the FDNY, NYPD, or NYCERS, with limited exceptions. If you are claiming lost earnings based on FDNY, NYPD, or NYCERS employment, and you either did not apply for WTC retirement or reclassification or you were denied WTC retirement or reclassification, you generally are not eligible for this process. Because there is an alternative, formal process available to you to seek a disability determination due to eligible conditions, you do not qualify for a separate disability evaluation through the WTC Health Program. An exception may be made in those cases where a claimant already has a WTC retirement or WTC reclassification, but it is due solely to an ineligible condition, if all of the other above criteria are met.
If you believe your condition qualifies you to take part in this evaluation process, we encourage you to read about the steps to take if you are submitting a new claim or if you have already submitted one. The full update to the evaluation process can be found here.
The deadline for filing a VCF claim is December 18, 2020. If you need to discuss your VCF 9/11-related injury, illness or death claims, or your WTC Health Program eligibility, reach out to us at (800) 962-9954 and via our contact page.