The nature of cancer can make it difficult to link conclusively to an event. However, researchers have determined that exposure to certain known carcinogens can cause cancer. Yet, until June 2012, authorities did not acknowledge the probable link to cancer for hundreds of responders, residents and workers at Ground Zero, the Pentagon and the Shanksville crash site. As a result, people who developed cancer because of the 9/11 attacks could not get the compensation and treatments they needed.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) continually researches and reviews evidence regarding 9/11-related illnesses. When appropriate, NIOSH amends the list of presumptively covered conditions under the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) and the WTC Health Program. During the past two years, NIOSH has added several types of cancer to the presumptively covered conditions list. NIOSH also developed a certification process to positively link the disease to the 9/11 attack.
Certification is a six-step process in which your physician does the following:
- Identifies the type of covered cancer you have
- Provides crucial dates, including exposure, diagnosis and treatment
- Describes the duration of your exposure to 9/11-related toxins within relevant time frames
- For certain types of cancers, indicates special levels and manners of exposure and time frames
- Details your activities that exposed you to the carcinogens and any other information that the WTC Health Program should consider
- Makes and signs a determination
Your physician’s determination must state that you were exposed to cancer-causing conditions that resulted from the 9/11 attacks and that the exposure is linked to your cancer. At the least, the determination must include this sentence:
“I have determined that the member’s exposure to airborne toxins, other hazards, or adverse conditions resulting from the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks are substantially likely to be a significant factor in aggravating, contributing to, or causing a condition(s) on the List of WTC-Related Health Conditions (42 CFR §88.1).”
If you have been diagnosed with cancer, Barasch & McGarry can guide you through the certification process to avoid delays or denials of your cancer claim to the WTC Health Program.