UNDERSTANDING VICTIM COMPENSATION FUND AWARD DETERMINATIONS:
The 9/11 health crisis, compounded by the Covid pandemic, has exacted a terrible emotional, physical, and financial toll on the broader 9/11 community, which includes first responders, downtown workers, residents, and students. The scars of the health crisis are all around us, in the careers cut short, the previously vital people robbed of their health, and the families struggling with unimaginable loss.
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) offers a lifeline to our community. The help it provides can be substantial, easing the financial burden that so often accompanies illness and loss.
One of our overarching missions is to help spread the word about the VCF, and the help it provides. For those who have developed a 9/11 condition, VCF awards generally include compensation for pain and suffering, as well as for economic losses, where appropriate.
Pain and suffering awards vary based upon the severity of the illness, and the VCF is amenable to reviewing medical records and other evidence to demonstrate the impact of the illness. Non-economic loss determinations have ranged from $10,000 to $340,000, depending on the severity of the illnesses, whether the illness is permanent, and whether the claimant has already been awarded compensation for the same illnesses in a prior WTC claim or lawsuit.
The VCF will only award compensation for economic loss to a claimant who has been found to be disabled as a result of a 9/11 certified physical illness (not a psychological illness). The disability finding
must be made by an independent governmental entity (such as the FDNY, NYCERS, Workers’ Compensation Board, or the Social Security Administration).
Economic loss awards are based on a claimant’s age, work history and prior income. Where a claimant has received a disability pension, Social Security disability award, or WTC litigation settlement, the VCF award will be commensurately reduced. The range of awards is evidence that the VCF is making awards on a case-bycase basis.
Families who have lost a loved one to 9/11 disease are entitled to recover additional compensation for the victim’s pain and suffering, as well as non-economic losses for the spouse and each dependent,
replacement services, burial costs, and economic losses resulting from the death. If a personal injury claim was not made during the victim’s lifetime, the family will also receive the personal injury award that would have been awarded directly to the victim during his or her lifetime.
Here are some recent awards to our clients by the VCF. Be advised, each case is different and many factors determine the amount of the award, including one’s age, his/her salary, side-effects of the illness, etc. Past awards are no guarantee of future awards.
Wrongful Death (where the death was caused by claimant’s 9/11-certified condition)
- $3,254,242 Asthma
- $1,422,694 Lymphocytic leukemia
The following are awards for clients whose 9/11 certified conditions resulted in a disability determination:
- $1,848,836 Intrahepatic Bile Duct Carcinoma
- $1,827,279 Malignant Neoplasm of Breast
- $1,544,371 Malignant Neoplasm of Lower Third of Esophagus
- $1,368,869 Malignant Neoplasm Skin
- $1,929,789 Asthma; Chronic Rhinitis; Esophageal Reflux
- $1,926,336 Asthma; Esophageal Reflux; Chronic Bronchitis; Diseases of Vocal Corps; Sinusitis
- $1,881,017 Esophageal Reflux; Barrett’s Esophagus; Asthma; Sinusitis; Obstructive Sleep Apnea
The following are some of the hundreds of noneconomic loss awards that the VCF has issued to our clients with non-disabling cancers and other WTC-related illnesses:
- $340,000 Malignant Melanoma of Skin; Malignant Neoplasm of Larynx
- $340,000 Malignant Neoplasm of Colon; Malignant Neoplasm of Mouth
- $250,000 Malignant Neoplasm of Prostate
- $250,000 Melanoma of Skin
- $250,000 Malignant Neoplasm of Thyroid
- $125,000 Malignant Neoplasm of Skin
- $90,000 Chronic Bronchitis
- $90,000 Interstitial Lung Disease
- $90,000 Asthma; Chronic Rhinitis; GERD; Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- $90,000 Sinusitis; Obstructive Sleep Apnea; Chronic Rhinitis
- $65,000 Severe Asthma
- $65,000 Chronic Rhinitis; Reactive Airways Dysfunction Syndrome
- $35,000 Asthma; Chronic Rhinitis
- $30,000 Sinusitis; Esophageal Reflux
- $25,000 Asthma; Obstructive Sleep Apnea