The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (“VCF”) (administered by the Department of Justice) is currently due to expire in December 2020 and provides financial compensation to eligible responders, survivors, and their heirs for the pain, suffering, lost earnings, lost benefits, replacement services, and past out-of-pocket medical expenses attributable to physical injuries and illnesses determined to be 9/11-related by the World Trade Center Health Program (“WTCHP”). Unlike the WTCHP, psychological conditions are not covered by the VCF.
Although the VCF is a non-adversarial program with presumptions favorable to claimants, successfully acquiring the correct award is a complex process subject to frequent procedural changes by VCF administrators and numerous rules and regulations. To date, approximately 85% of all claimants are represented by attorneys who charge a statutorily fixed 10% contingency fee. In addition to the primary eligibility requirements of exposure to 9/11 toxins and diagnosis of a covered condition, registration deadlines exist. Further, funding is limited and is currently being distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis.