As a first responder, you are able to access monitoring from the WTC Health Program whether or not you are sick. Going to your yearly monitoring visits, even if you’re healthy now, is helpful from a research perspective and is also a great way to make sure that you get certified immediately should you develop any 9/11-related conditions. And, the doctors at the Health Program see and treat more 9/11 illnesses than private doctors. Thus, they are more likely to catch and relate symptoms to a 9/11 illness.
As a survivor, a.k.a. somebody who lived, worked, or went to school downtown on or after 9/11, you must be symptomatic to participate in the WTC Health Program and the VCF. That means that if you are not sick with any 9/11-related conditions, you likely won’t qualify for services yet. There are a few things you should still do to protect yourself for the future, however.
First and foremost, people who are not sick may still register for the VCF. We encourage anybody who was in the area, whether or not they are sick, to do this. It’s quick and easy to do on the VCF website at www.vcf.gov, but feel free to as us to register you. Registration protects you in case you ever get sick in the future.
It’s also worth thinking about getting your proof of presence documents ahead of time. For most people, finding proof of presence gets more difficult as time passes. Look into the documentation requirements for both the WTC Health Program and VCF and make sure you have acceptable documents ready and/or affidavits from an acceptable number of witnesses proving your presence downtown. If you don’t have this evidence yet, now is a good time to start obtaining those required documents.
Survivors should also keep in mind that in order to qualify for the WTC Health Program you do not need to be sick with a physical condition. Mental health conditions like PTSD, anxiety, or depression, though they are not compensable through the VCF, will qualify you for the WTC Health Program at which point you will have access to yearly monitoring visits and quick certification for any conditions you later develop.