A Message from Special Master Sheila Birnbaum
February 9, 2016
Our Annual Report released today (available here) reflects a year of significant progress for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (“VCF”). Through the dedication and hard work of our team, our ongoing work with claimants and counsel, and our continuing collaboration with other third parties, we were able to continue our focus on efficiently and accurately processing claims and render an increasing number of award determinations. In 2015, we issued almost 6,000 compensation determinations, which almost tripled the number of such decisions rendered at the end of 2014. The total number of compensation decisions rendered through year end now stands at more than 9,100, reflecting awards that total approximately $1.8 billion. Additional details about the VCF’s progress and highlights of the past year are described in the report.
We have much more work to do, but as stated in our annual report, I am gratified that our efforts for the coming year will be directed not at the previously anticipated shutdown of the program, but instead on the implementation of the reauthorization of the VCF and the extension of the program for another five years so that we can continue providing compensation to the victims of 9/11. I believe that the determination of Congress to reauthorize the VCF recognizes the importance of the Fund’s ongoing work for the 9/11 community, the success of our efforts to-date, and the great need to continue to provide compensation to those who suffered physically and financially as a result of the September 11th terrorist attacks and debris removal.
As always, if you have questions about the VCF claims process, I encourage you to call our toll-free Helpline at 1-855-885-1555. For the hearing impaired, please call 1-855-885-1558 (TDD). If you are calling from outside the United States, please call 1-202-514-1100.