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Victim Compensation FundZadroga ActWTC Health Program

Ground Zero Construction Workers Eligible for Health Care and Compensation

September 13, 2022 | Michael Barasch

After the terrorist attacks on 9/11, rescue teams searched for survivors amidst millions of tons of debris – the wreckage of the World Trade Center.

To help these teams locate survivors and, ultimately, identify victims, thousands of union construction workers worked around the clock at Ground Zero.

These ironworkers, carpenters, steamfitters, boilermakers, machinists, cement and concrete workers, electricians, operating engineers, and other laborers used their extensive construction expertise to secure the site and safely initiate recovery operations.

But as these responders were saving lives and supporting the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan, their own health and safety was threatened by toxins at Ground Zero.

Though government officials claimed the air was safe to breathe, we now know it was not. 

In fact, exposure to the toxins has been scientifically linked to 68 types of 9/11-related cancers and many respiratory illnesses.

As members of the 9/11 community, construction workers and union leadership advocated tirelessly for the federal government to create the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program and the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF).

Through the health program, 9/11 responders and survivors have access to free, comprehensive medical care for their 9/11-related illnesses. 

The victim fund awards tax-free payments for pain and suffering, lost earnings, and benefits for surviving spouses and family members.

Yet even today, many thousands of union laborers who were involved in Ground Zero operations have not signed up with either the health program or the victim fund.

If you were there, you have the right to register with the 9/11 VCF – even if you are currently healthy – and enroll in the WTC Health Program if you are diagnosed with a 9/11-related illness.

For the WTC Health Program, the exposure zone includes all of Manhattan below Houston Street and parts of Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO in Brooklyn.

For the 9/11 VCF, the exposure zone includes the area of Manhattan south of Canal Street and west of Clinton Street.

Barasch & McGarry, Lawyers for the 9/11 Community, which represents more than 30,000 members of the 9/11 community, has proudly advocated for union members for more than twenty-five years.

If you were exposed to Ground Zero toxins, you should know your health status. Don’t let a delayed diagnosis become a death sentence.

Visit or call 212-385-8000 today.

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