Immediately following the September 11th terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, first responders, rescue and recovery workers, and clean-up crews arrived at Ground Zero to help. Due to the gravity and scope of the devastating situation, countless responders had to be called in from out of state. Many of these heroic individuals remained in the area for weeks.
Sadly, for tens of thousands of responders, and others who lived, worked, and studied near the WTC site on 9/11 and in the months that followed, the dust cloud created by the collapse of the towers contained about 2,500 toxic substances. This carcinogenic dust permeated the Lower Manhattan area, filling the lungs of anyone who came in contact with it.
As a result of toxic dust exposure, a significant number of out-of-state responders and volunteers are now suffering from debilitating and deadly illnesses. Sadly, many of these out-of-state victims are unaware of the medical and financial benefits available to them.
VCF Compensation and WTCHP Medical Care Available to Out-Of-State First Responders
Following the death of James Zadroga, the first NYPD officer to succumb to a 9/11 illness, the Zadroga Act was passed in 2010 to help subsequent victims of illnesses and injuries related to 9/11. The Act led to the creation of two distinct programs, the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP), which provides medical treatment and monitoring to 9/11 survivors and responders; and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), which provides compensation to 9/11 survivors and responders for damages related to 9/11 illnesses and injuries.
Out Of State Responders Eligible For VCF Compensation & WTCHP Benefits
Any individual who worked in what is now known as the 9/11 Exposure Zone between September 11th, 2001 and May 30th, 2002, and is suffering from a related medical condition, may qualify for financial compensation and medical benefits through the VCF and WTCHP. This includes out-of-state volunteers and workers.
To qualify for WTCHP benefits and VCF compensation, 9/11 survivors and responders must provide Proof of Presence documentation to show that they were in the designated area during the qualifying timeframe. For the thousands of survivors who lived, worked, and studied in Lower Manhattan, proving presence can be as easy as submitting pay stubs, mortgage receipts, or school records. But for out-of-state responders, finding and obtaining Proof of Presence documentation may be a challenge. This is especially true as we approach 20 years since 9/11. Fortunately, a 9/11 fund lawyer can help out-of-state responders gather supporting documentation, even when the task seems impossible.
Any out-of-state worker or volunteer who is now suffering from a 9/11 illness may qualify, but some of the most common individuals include:
- Police officers
- Medical professionals
- Recovery and restoration workers
- Construction workers
- Clean up crews
- Other volunteers
9/11 Responders With Related Illnesses Can Receive Compensation & Care
Any out-of-state responders who are now suffering from a 9/11-related illness may be eligible for compensation through the VCF and medical treatment through the WTCHP. In order to qualify, however, applicants must first be diagnosed with a WTCHP-certified medical condition. In addition to providing quality health care and monitoring, the WTCHP certifies conditions that are eligible for benefits and financial compensation.
Even out-of-state responders who have been diagnosed with a 9/11-related illness or injury that is not currently on the list of WTCHP-certified conditions should seek legal counsel. If a condition is associated with a qualifying illness, the individual may still be eligible.
The list of WTCHP-certified conditions is extensive, but most illnesses and injuries fall under one of the categories below:
- Acute traumatic injuries, such as brain injuries and fractures;
- Aerodigestive disorders, such as GERD and sleep apnea;
- Cancers (68 in total), including breast, brain, and blood cancers; and
- Mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.
The list above is far from exhaustive. Here is the complete list of WTCHP-certified health conditions and injuries. Any out-of-state responder suffering from a health problem related to their presence in the Exposure Zone between September 11th, 2001 and May 30th, 2002 should consult with an experienced Zadroga Act attorney today.
Out-Of-State 9/11 Heroes Present In The Toxic Exposure Zone
The term “Exposure Zone” refers to the 1.5-mile radius around Ground Zero during the qualifying eight-month period. To obtain compensation and medical benefits, applicants to the VCF and WTCHP must prove their presence in the designated area during the qualifying timeframe. To do this, out of state responders may submit the following documents:
- Employer records, such as pay stubs from a company that assisted in rescue and recovery, medical care, construction, transportation, and debris removal;
- Volunteer contract with an organization or company engaged in the same;
- Affidavits, sworn and signed by individuals who can attest to the responder’s presence in the Exposure Zone; or
- Receipts and other records for parking, purchases, food, and lodging in the Exposure Zone.
How To Apply
Out of state responders who were present at the WTC site on 9/11, and in the weeks and months that followed may be able to obtain health care and compensation if they have been diagnosed with a related medical condition. Even out-of-state workers and volunteers who are not currently suffering from a 9/11 illness or injury should at least register with the VCF to preserve their right to a future claim.
It is in the best interest of any 9/11 victim to seek legal counsel from an experienced VCF attorney before submitting a claim to the VCF for compensation. The process can be complex and confusing, and even minor errors can result in reduced or denied benefits. A 9/11 fund lawyer can help out-of-state responders determine eligibility, gather supporting documentation, and file a claim for maximum compensation.
Contact Weisfuse & Weisfuse, LLP Today
At Weisfuse & Weisfuse, LLP our experienced 9/11 attorneys have helped countless victims of 9/11 illnesses obtain the health care and compensation they deserve. Call us today at 212-983-3000 for a free and confidential consultation.