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Health Programs9/11 InjuriesVictim Compensation Fund

New VCF Rules for those suffering from 9/11 Obstructive Sleep Apnea

April 23, 2019 | Michael Barasch

Individuals who were exposed to dangerous toxins at or near the World Trade Center site on 9/11 or during the months that followed now face tougher standards if they seek benefits related to their obstructive sleep apnea. Previously, claimants were required to submit a “C-PAP compliance report” demonstrating consistent usage of a continuous positive airway pressure (C-PAP) machine for at least 30 days. In an effort to issue compensation that is consistent with the Victim Compensation Fund’s (VCF) statutory obligation to prioritize funding to claimants with the most debilitating conditions, and in an effort to preserve dwindling funds for those who have cancer and/or are dying, the VCF now applies stricter scrutiny to non-economic loss claims associated with all non-life threatening respiratory illnesses, including obstructive sleep apnea. The VCF now requires evidence of at least six months of continuous C-PAP usage, in addition to a letter from the treating physician that details the severity of the sleep apnea, and how the conditions impact a patient’s daily life, notwithstanding usage of the C-PAP device.

For several years, medical researchers at the WTC Health Program have noted that people who served in the rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero have an increased incidence of obstructive sleep apnea. This is a condition where throat muscles block the airways during sleep, causing the person to wake frequently and often without knowing it. These individuals often experience dangerous fatigue and health problems linked to their lack of sleep, especially during the REM sleep cycle, such as:

  • Falling asleep while driving
  • Inability to stay awake during the day time
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Heart problems
  • Stroke
  • High cholesterol
  • Liver disorders

Sleep apnea is a symptom associated with a variety of autodigestive conditions, such as GERD, asthma and sinusitis, which have all been linked to 9/11 toxic exposure. To maximize your ability to obtain your rightful compensation for sleep apnea, it’s important to understand that the VCF now requires evidence that confirms the severity of your conditions. It’s helpful to find an attorney familiar with the ever changing legal developments in this area, who can help prepare the medical documentation needed.

No matter how worthy your World Trade Center illness claim might be, you can be denied the compensation you deserve if the requisite evidence is not submitted. The lawyers at Barasch & McGarry have played an integral role in securing justice for men and women like you and are well versed in the applicable eligibility rules. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced lawyer, call us at [ln::phone] or contact us on online.

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