Skip to content

Zadroga ActVictim Compensation FundWTC Health Program

We Represent the 9/11 Community of Brooklyn

September 19, 2023 | Michael Barasch

After the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, and in the weeks and months that followed, more than half a million people were exposed to Ground Zero toxins in Lower Manhattan below Canal Street.

Despite initial claims that the air was safe to breathe, all of the responders and survivors who were there are now at risk of developing 69 different types of cancer and many severe respiratory illnesses.

Although the attack itself occurred in Manhattan, the 9/11 survivor community includes tens of thousands of individuals and families now working and living in every part of Brooklyn, from Greenpoint and Bushwick and Brownsville to Bay Ridge and Canarsie and Coney Island.

Barasch & McGarry proudly represents more than 4,000 members of the 9/11 community now living in Brooklyn.

Today, more than 22 years after 9/11, there are still many survivors who have been diagnosed with Ground Zero-related cancer or respiratory illness but are not yet aware of the free health care and substantial compensation available to them.

For example, if you worked in an office building in the Financial District or at the courthouses around Foley Square or at a shop in TriBeCa on or after 9/11, you are likely eligible.

Similarly, employees at retails stores in the area, such as Century 21 and Syms, are also likely eligible, as are restaurant staff from the dozens of downtown restaurants.

Schools in the Ground Zero exposure zone include Stuyvesant High School, Pace University, the Borough of Manhattan Community College, Murry Bergtraum High School, and dozens of other educational institutions below Canal Street.

Lower Manhattan residents at the time of 9/11 – such as from Chinatown, Two Bridges, Tribeca, Battery Park City – who have since moved to Brooklyn are also eligible.

Even if you are currently healthy, knowing your risk of cancer and respiratory illness as a member of the 9/11 community and accessing preventive care and diagnostic screenings could save your life.

The most common cancers for 9/11 responders and survivors are skin cancer (including basal cell, squamous cell, and melanoma), prostate cancer, thyroid cancer, breast cancer, multiple myeloma, lymphoma, leukemia, lung cancer, kidney cancer, colon cancer, and bladder cancer.

We have a shared responsibility to inform 9/11 community members – including thousands of people now working or living in Brooklyn – about their risk of cancer and respiratory illness, and to help them access free health care and compensation.

Thankfully, after years of dedicated advocacy, the federal government created the free World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program and the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF).

The health program provides free, comprehensive medical care to 9/11 victims for their 9/11-related illnesses, at hospitals in Brooklyn and across the United States.

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

Remember that if you are diagnosed with a 9/11-related cancer or respiratory illness, your family medical history and pre-existing conditions will not affect your eligibility for free health care or compensation. 

If you were in Lower Manhattan, the government presumes your cancer was a result of exposure to Ground Zero toxins.

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

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

Early detection could save your life. Protect yourself and register for both programs now—even if you are currently healthy.

If you were there, you have the right to register with the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. And, if you are diagnosed with any Ground Zero-related illness, you have the right to enroll in the free World Trade Center Health Program.

To register with the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund and enroll in the World Trade Center Health Program, visit or call 212-385-8000 today.

Barasch & McGarry, Lawyers for the 9/11 Community, represents more than 35,000 9/11 responders and survivors.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required

Leave a comment

  • Share this article

  • Newsletter

    Stay updated on breaking 9/11 news
    Subscribe Now

Home Live Chat

Photo of Michael Barasch.
Online Now

Hi, we are here to help if you have questions.