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The 3 Biggest Myths in the 9/11 Community

July 8, 2024 | Michael Barasch

Barasch & McGarry wants to provide 9/11 responders and survivors (anyone who lived, worked, or went to school in Lower Manhattan on and after 9/11) with useful and high-quality information about the World Trade Center Health Program and the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, and resolve any confusion you might have about these vital programs.

Here are the 3 most common myths about 9/11 health care and compensation, and what you need to know:

1) Myth: the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund and the World Trade Center Health Program are only for first responders.

This myth is the most common misconception in the 9/11 community. Nearly 500,000 downtown workers, residents, students, and teachers are eligible for the same free health care and compensation award as first responders, yet less than 10% of them have enrolled in the health program – compared with more than 80% of responders. If you were there, you are eligible.

2) Myth: I don’t qualify for free health care or compensation if I have a family history of cancer or if I smoked.

Exposure to toxins in Lower Manhattan near Ground Zero, the Pentagon, the Flight 93 crash site, and the Staten Island landfill increases your risk of 69 different types of cancer.

If you were in the 9/11 exposure zone (for example south of Canal Street in Manhattan), the health program and the compensation fund presume that your cancer was caused by your exposure.

Even if you have a family history of cancer – even if you smoked for 40 years and were diagnosed with lung cancer or never wore sunscreen and were diagnosed with skin cancer – you are eligible.

Your private doctors may not be aware of the presumption. We can help.

3) Myth: I wasn’t there on 9/11, so I don’t qualify for these programs.

Despite what the EPA told us, the air in Lower Manhattan was not “safe to breathe.” In fact, the buildings at Ground Zero burned for 99 days and Lower Manhattan was toxic for months after 9/11.

The health program and the compensation fund cover anyone who was there between September 11, 2001, and May 30, 2002, for a certain minimum period of time. We can help you prove your presence in the exposure zone to qualify for World Trade Center Health Program and the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.

We would appreciate your help in dispelling these myths about the resources available to 9/11 responders and survivors.

Even if you weren’t there yourself, please spread the word about the free health care and compensation available to people who were there.

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