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Victim Compensation FundWTC Health Program

What are the Geographical Boundaries for the WTC Health Program vs. the VCF and What Does That Mean Regarding My Eligibility?

March 10, 2020 | Lila Nordstrom

Both the World Trade Center Health Program and the Victim Compensation Fund require survivors to prove that they were in the exposure zone on 9/11 or during the World Trade Center clean-up. Each program’s definition of that exposure zone, however, is different. This can sometimes cause confusion for survivors trying to figure out which of the programs they qualify for – not everybody qualifies for both.

The Victim Compensation Fund Boundaries (click on the description for a map):
“The NYC Exposure Zone is defined as the area in Manhattan south of the line that runs along Canal Street from the Hudson River to the intersection of Canal Street and East Broadway, north on East Broadway to Clinton Street, and east on Clinton Street to the East River; and any area related to or along the routes of debris removal, such as barges and Fresh Kills landfill.”

It’s usually stated for simplicity’s sake that this program covers anybody “below Canal Street,” but it’s worth noting that on the east side the program’s zone actually extends above Canal street along East Broadway to Clinton Street. Anybody who was present on 9/11 or lived, worked, or attended school within this zone in the months that followed is eligible for compensation for their 9/11-linked physical health conditions.

What many people don’t realize is that being present in this zone on 9/11 itself or having regular work obligations within it in the months that followed may qualify you for this program even if your primary office address was outside the covered area. People who had a regular professional need to be below Canal Street during the clean-up and are able to provide witnesses who saw them there regularly may qualify. People may also qualify if they attended regular classes in this zone, even as a part-time student or as part of a regular organized after-school activities.

If you were just outside this zone, you may still qualify for no-cost healthcare from the World Trade Center Health Program. That’s because this program’s boundaries cover a greater area.

The World Trade Center Health Program Boundaries (click on the description for a map):
“The area within New York City that is the area of Manhattan south of Houston Street, and any block in Brooklyn wholly or partially contained within a 1.5 mile radius of the former WTC complex.”

Many people don’t realize that this health program zone includes an area of Western Brooklyn, as well as parts of Manhattan that aren’t in the VCF’s definition of the exposure zone. Parts of Brooklyn Heights, as well as the Lower East Side, Chinatown, Little Italy, SoHo, and NoLita are all covered by this program.

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