Many programs have been established in response to medical problems stemming from the September 11, 2001 attack on New York City. Two of the most important ones are the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund and the WTC Health Program. Both can be extremely valuable, but the programs serve different purposes. It’s important to understand that you can register for the VCF before you are evaluated by the WTC Health Program. Conversely, admission into the Health Program does not automatically mean that you will be eligible for VCF payments.
The WTC Health Program was established by the Center for Disease Control to give emergency responders, recovery and cleanup personnel as well as survivors needed treatment and to provide them with medical monitoring so that 9/11-related conditions can be identified and addressed as quickly as possible. Despite its name, the program also includes individuals affected by the attack on the Pentagon and the crash of United Flight 93 near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Its mission includes:
- Treatment of covered illnesses — More than 60 types of cancer are covered within the program along with other types of aerodigestive disorders, musculoskeletal injuries and mental health conditions. Providers who treat these conditions at no cost to the patient are available in the New York City area and throughout the country.
- Medical monitoring — If you were in the Lower Manhattan exposure zone but have not yet experienced symptoms associated with 9/11 illnesses, you can go to doctors within the system for a no-cost medical evaluation to determine if a potential problem exists.
- Research and education — By treating and monitoring a wide group of current and possible victims, researchers can get a better handle on the specific ailments associated with exposure to toxic substances near the World Trade Center. However, your medical information does not have to be added to the database if you so choose.
Though you don’t always need to obtain a certification from the WTC Health Program in order to seek payment under the VCF, most 9/11 survivors benefit from both. An attorney who is familiar with these key aspects of the Zadroga Act will help you pursue the benefits you are entitled to under the law.
Barasch & McGarry offers comprehensive legal guidance to emergency responders, civil service workers and others who have suffered medical harm because of their proximity to contaminants in the Ground Zero area. To make an appointment with an accomplished 9/11 lawyer, please call 888-351-9421 or contact us online.