On March 2, 2017, our office participated in a call with the Special Master of the VCF, Rupa Bhattacharyya.
Among several things brought up on the call, Rupa discussed disability determinations where the condition considered disabling does not match by name the condition for which the Claimant has been found eligible by the Fund. To resolve this issue, the VCF is considering certain conditions to be in the same category and therefore equivalent for purposes of considering the disability and economic loss. This includes conditions under the categories of obstructive airways disease, upper respiratory disease, and interstitial lung disease.
The Special Master also advised that while at this time they are unable to provide a specific timeline between when a Claim is submitted, and a decision is rendered, the Fund is working on creating more efficient processes for review. Once the new processes are in place, the Fund hopes to issue a more specific timeline.
The Fund also discussed on this call issues related to calculating VCF2 awards when a Claimant recovered compensation in the VCF1; cases where the offsets for an economic loss claim are higher than the gross economic loss (resulting in a negative economic loss calculation); the WTC Health Program Disability Evaluation process; post-appeal hearing decisions, and other issues.
For the full notes from the meeting, click here.
Our office appreciates the Fund's efforts to streamline the VCF review process and provide detailed information so that we can best assist and advocate on behalf of our clients.