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Victim Compensation FundWTC Health ProgramZadroga Act

Pentagon Responders and the 9/11 Community

December 5, 2022 | Michael Barasch

125 people who were visiting or working at the Pentagon were among the 2,977 victims killed in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Today, more than 21 years later, thousands of military and civilian workers, first responders, and support personnel who were at the Pentagon the morning of 9/11, or during the weeks that followed, are at risk of developing 68 different types of cancer and many respiratory illnesses from their exposure to toxins released by the attack. The burning jet fuel and concrete dust were just as toxic as the World Trade Center toxins.

It is unfortunate that when Congress passed the Zadroga Act, they named the health program the “World Trade Center Health Program.” As a result, most Pentagon responders don’t realize that they are entitled to the same free health care and compensation as those who responded to the World Trade Center.

Before the pandemic, Mike Barasch made several trips to Washington, D.C., and Virginia firehouses, and to military bases to correct this misconception. But still, only 5% of the Pentagon first responders have enrolled in the free World Trade Center Health Program. Barasch & McGarry recently hosted a free webinar to inform members of the Pentagon 9/11 community of their right to access free health care and compensation awards for 9/11-related illnesses. Hundreds of people tuned in to learn their rights.

The webinar featured Mike Barasch, Partner Lee London, Senior Attorney Jennifer Jimenez, Ret. FDNY Deputy Chief Richie Alles, the firm’s Director of Community Affairs, and John Feal, Founder and President of the FealGood Foundation.

If you were a first responder at the Pentagon on 9/11 or between September 12 and November 19, 2001, you are eligible to enroll in both the WTC Health Program and receive awards from the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) if you are certified by the health program with a 9/11-related illness. If you were a civilian, you are not eligible for the health program but you may very well be entitled to a VCF award for 9/11 illnesses.

You should secure your proof that you were there and enroll in the health program and register with the 9/11 VCF even if you are currently healthy.

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2 replies on “Pentagon Responders and the 9/11 Community”

I am a retired Army officer and was deployed to work in the Army Operations Center in the Pentagon from Oct 2001 until March 2002. Are there any health/compensation programs for military personnel who served at the Pentagon shortly after Sep 11, 2001?

Hi Lory, We hope you’re in good health. If you were there, we urge you to go get an annual skin exam since skin cancer is the most common cancer among the 9/11 community. Early detection can save your life. Should you have any questions regarding the free World Trade Center Health Program or the permanently extended and funded $10+ Billion Victim Compensation Fund, please call 800-657-0326 or visit Take care.

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