WTC Victim Fund: A Guide For Caribbean Immigrants And Their Families

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Never Forget -September 11, 2001.

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Mon. Jan. 24, 2022: It has been 20 plus years since the September 11th attacks happened that claimed the lives of thousands of people. According to statistics, there were at least a hundred Caribbean nationals who died that day. Despite it being over two decades since that unfortunate incident, its effects on the victims continue to live on.

Caribbean immigrants and their families who were either a victim or got injured, or whose health conditions have been adversely affected by the toxic materials, hazards, injuries, and trauma due to the terrorist attacks that happened on the World Trade Center may file claims for compensation if they’re eligible, under the Victim Compensation Fund, (VCF).

Here’s what you should know on how the VCF claim system works.

Who Are Eligible To File A Claim?

The Victim Compensation Fund is a federally-funded program that aims to provide financial assistance to those who were directly affected by the 9/11 attacks. This includes Caribbean immigrants who survived the incident, as well as the families of those who perished.

However, to become eligible for compensation, claimants must be able to meet the following criteria:

  • Should be able to prove that they are part of the first responder team or debris cleanup volunteer.
  • Should be able to prove that they were present or within the New York City Exposure zone. More so, their stay within the area should’ve been sometime from September 11th, 2001 up the May 30th of the following year 2002.
  • Should be able to show or prove that they have sustained 9/11-related physical injury or health condition. This can be verified thru the WTC Health Program.
  • If they are a family member or a representative, they should be able to prove legal authority for filing on behalf of a victim.
  • There should be no pending lawsuit related to the 9/11 attacks

The Victim Compensation Fund Claims Review Process

The first stage of the claims review process is the eligibility review. The second part is the Compensation Review. The whole process can take a considerable period since each claim includes a submission of numerous documents to establish and prove that the claimant is indeed eligible and entitled to compensation.

More so, the amount of compensation to be granted to claimants is also calculated separately for each claim.

  • Eligibility Review

After you’ve submitted your VCF claim, it will go through a preliminary review.

Aside from submitting substantial documents and records to prove that you meet the VCF criteria mentioned earlier, they may also contact you or your representative if they have some queries about your claim.

If they find the claim that you submitted, including all the documents, is complete, the VCF will then proceed to do a substantial review of your eligibility. However, if the VCF review team asks you to give more documents and proof, you’ll only be given 30 days to comply. They may deny your claim if you fail to provide the additional requested documents.

After their careful assessment, the VCF will be sending you a letter to explain their decision. If your claim gets denied, you’ll be given an explanation as well as information on how you can make an appeal.

  • Compensation Review

Once you are determined to be eligible to make a claim, the VCF will then calculate the amount of compensation that should be awarded to you and the type of loss you are claiming.

For instance, if you are claiming economic damages and losses, the VCF would need to have information on your earnings history, pension, or disability benefits to process your claim. They can’t go forward with your claim unless they have a basis for their computation. You should provide them with the information within 30 days if they ask for it.

The computations to determine the specific amount can be a bit complex. They’ll have to factor in several things such as how severe the injury or illness is, income history, loss of future earnings. This will be offset against other amounts you may have already received from your life insurance, workers compensation, pension payments, and any 9/11 lawsuit settlements.

After their review and assessment, the VCF will give you a breakdown of their computation. You will then have 30 days to appeal, should you find an error in their calculation.

Through the VCF, Caribbean immigrants who survived the 9/11 attacks, as well as the families of those who died, may file claims for damages and loss.

However, this can be a tedious and complex legal process. That said, it’d be ideal to seek the assistance of a legal professional to help you simplify and navigate the entire process. Furthermore, with this article in mind, you can be guided on how the process of filing for VCF claims.