The Defense Base Act and the War Hazards Compensation Act are not the only programs designed to address losses occasioned by acts of terrorism. Another compensation and reimbursement program is the International Terrorism Victim Expense Reimbursement Program (“ITVERP”), which is administered by the Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime. If ITVERP applies, then the federal government may provide “financial reimbursement for qualifying expenses to qualified U.S. citizens and U.S. government employees who suffered direct physical or emotional injury from an act of international terrorism while outside the United States.”
There are three main requirements for ITVERP: (1) a terrorist incident occurring outside the United States; (2) the victim or claimant must be a U.S. citizen of an employee of the U.S. government; and (3) the expenses must be directly related to the terrorist incident. If all three requirements are satisfied then the victim or claimant may be able to secure reimbursement for certain types of expenses. Specifically, a victim or claimant may seek reimbursement for medical expenses (up to $50,000), mental health expenses (up to $5,000 for up to twelve months), property loss (repair or replacement up to $10,000), funeral and burial benefits (up to $25,000), and “miscellaneous” (up to $15,000).
ITVERP excludes reimbursement for certain expenses, like attorneys’ fees, lost wages, and payments for pain and suffering or loss of consortium. Also, reimbursements for collateral sources are also excluded. The specified collateral sources are: (1) workers’ compensation payments; (2) insurance benefits; (3) Medicare or Medicaid payments; (4) restitution; (5) military or veterans’ benefits of a compensatory nature; (6) other state, federal, and international compensation programs; and (7) Defense Base Act insurance payments.
While DBA insurance payments are excluded, I am curious whether anyone has tried to supplement the DBA with the ITVERP. For instance, funeral benefits for DBA claims are statutorily capped at $3,000 but ITVERP provides funeral and burial benefits up to $25,000. In the event $3,000 does not cover all of a terrorist victim’s funeral and burial benefits, perhaps claimants could use ITVERP to request reimbursement for funeral expenses incurred above and beyond the $3,000 authorized by the DBA.
Another interesting aspect of ITVERP is that it could provide reimbursement for mental health expenses incurred by a spouse or family member of a terrorism victim. There is no provision in the DBA that would provide similar benefits to a spouse or family member because a claim for DBA benefits is personal to the injured worker.
Although ITVERP has been in existence since 2000, there have been few applicants. According to the Office for Victims of Crime’s most recent report to Congress, “there were 71 active claims, of which 59 claims were in process, 6 claims were pending National Security Division (NSD) designation, and 6 claims were partially paid. ITVERP has paid 107 claims, denied 27 claims, and designated 7 claims inactive/unresponsive.” Considering the number of DBA claims caused by “war-risk hazards,” perhaps ITVERP reimbursement requests are destined to increase.