When I was appointed as Special Master back in May, I promised you that I would make the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) as fair, transparent, and easy to navigate as possible. After a summer of listening to you, I wanted to let you know my plans for opening the VCF and the claims process.
Funding from Congress becomes available to administer the VCF beginning in October, and I am pleased to announce that the VCF is up and running today – and will continue to expand its operations this month.
This week, you will be able to do the following:
- Visit the Fund’s new web site, at www.VCF.gov;
- Obtain a list of the kinds of documents and information that we will need in order to process your claim, so that you can begin collecting any necessary materials;
- Register for the VCF online, the first step in submitting your claim; and
- Review newly updated Frequently Asked Questions.
With funding to administer the VCF now available, we are busily creating an online, streamlined claims process so that we can begin accepting your claims through the new VCF website in November. You will be able to submit your claim in two parts: First, the Eligibility Form will be used to determine whether you are eligible for compensation through the VCF. Then, claimants who are found eligible will be invited to complete the Compensation Form, to determine the amount of compensation they are owed. Claimants who do not wish to submit their claims online will be able to use paper claims forms.
Once the claims system is completed, VCF staff will give seminars on how to submit your claim, and the New York City Bar will provide pro bono assistance with completing claim forms at sessions later this Fall. Information on these opportunities will be available on the website.
While I am glad to be officially up and running and looking forward to receiving your claims soon, it is important to remember that you are not required to submit your claim on Day 1. Please remember, though, that for anyone who is a plaintiff in pending September 11th litigation, you must withdraw from the litigation by January 2, 2012 in order to participate in the VCF. For information on how long you have to submit your claim, visit our Frequently Asked Questions at www.VCF.gov/faq.html.