Responders, volunteers, or individuals who lived, worked, or studied in the area now known as the 9/11 Exposure Zone who are suffering from a 9/11 related illness, may be eligible for medical treatment through the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) and substantial compensation through the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF).
Following the devastating terrorist attacks in NYC, PA, and at the Pentagon, many first responders, volunteers, and other survivors began to exhibit symptoms of severe respiratory problems and other medical conditions.
Studies revealed that the toxic dust cloud that permeated the Exposure Zone contained many carcinogens, including asbestos, lead, chromium, glass particles, and benzene.
VCF Compensation and WTCHP Medical Care Available to 9/11 Volunteers
As time passed, it was discovered that more and more victims were suffering and succumbing to various illnesses. The first NYPD officer to die of a 9/11-related illness was James Zadroga, who passed away in 2006. In 2010, the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act was passed, resulting in the creation of two separate programs: the WTCHP, which ensures access to quality health care for victims of 9/11 illnesses, and the VCF, which provides compensation for damages suffered, including lost wages, and emotional pain and suffering.
The rescue and recovery work after 9/11 involved many volunteers and rescue workers called on to help with rescue, recovery, and cleanup.
Tragically, many of these volunteers and rescue workers inhaled large quantities of toxic dust. Some became sick almost immediately, while others didn’t exhibit symptoms of illness for weeks, months, or years. Even today, nearly 20 years since 9/11, volunteers and other victims are still diagnosed with 9/11 related illnesses. While some of these conditions are non-life-threatening, many are deadly. The incidence of cancer in those present in the New York City Exposure Zone is significantly higher than in the general population.
Volunteers present in the Exposure Zone between September 11th, 2001 and May 30th, 2002, and who are suffering from a 9/11 related injury or illness may be eligible for compensation through the VCF.
Contact our experienced VCF attorneys who are helping 9/11 volunteers obtain the maximum benefits available to them.
Ground Zero Volunteers With 9/11 Related Illnesses Can Receive Compensation & Medical Care
The list of medical conditions certified by the WTCHP is extensive and continuously evolving. Even if an injured 9/11 volunteer’s illness is not currently certified, they may be eligible for medical care and financial compensation if the condition is associated with one of the 9/11 related illnesses. Although the list below is far from exhaustive, it illustrates the most common medical problems linked to 9/11 related injuries and toxic dust exposure.
What Are Some of the 9/11 Related Illnesses?
- Aerodigestive disorders, including sleep apnea, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD);
- Cancers, including but not limited to Mesothelioma, blood and lymphoid cancer, childhood cancers, skin cancer, and cancers of the lung, brain, breast, colon, pancreas, prostate, ovaries, digestive system, thyroid, head and neck, and eye; and
- Mental health conditions, such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and substance abuse.
The list above is not exhaustive. Here is the complete list of WTCHP-certified health conditions and injuries. 9/11 volunteers who are unsure about their eligibility for WTCHP or VCF benefits should consult with an experienced September 11th Victim Compensation Fund lawyer who can help them determine how to proceed.
Volunteers Who May Be Eligible For Compensation And Medical Care
Any individual who volunteered at one of the 9/11 disaster sites and is suffering from a related medical condition is likely eligible for WTCHP and VCF benefits. Some of the most common types of volunteers affected include:
- Off-duty firefighters, police officers, EMTs, and other emergency responders;
- Volunteer food service workers, providing food for those working and volunteering on-site;
- Construction volunteers;
- Volunteer clergy; and
- Volunteer clean-up crews.
The qualifying Exposure Zone for the World Trade Center attacks is all of Lower Manhattan, south of Canal Street. Anyone who was present in this area for the requisite minimum period of exposure—or for any period of time if they were directly in the dust cloud—may be eligible. To prove eligibility, volunteers must show that they worked in this area within the qualifying dates and that they are suffering or have suffered from a 9/11 related illness. That being said, volunteers do not need to definitively prove that their condition was caused by 9/11.
All claims registered with the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund by July 29th, 2021 are considered timely, regardless of the date of diagnosis. Those who do not register by July 29, 2021 may still register, so long as it is within two years from the date that they learned their condition was 9/11-related.
How To Apply For WTCHP Medical Care and VCF Compensation
To prove presence in the Exposure Zone, volunteers may need to submit the following documentation:
- Proof of residence, if they lived in the area;
- Proof of employment, if they worked in the area; and
- Paystubs or other work documentation.
Contact Weisfuse & Weisfuse, LLP Today
The experienced legal team at Weisfuse & Weisfuse, LLP has helped many 9/11 volunteers receive compensation from the VCF. Our attorneys leave no stone unturned in making the strongest possible case so that you receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to. Our attorneys distinguish themselves by providing personal attention and careful examination of each claim. Our attorneys always submit optional impact statements to the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund which are supported by medical proof of the pain and suffering for each client to maximize the value of every claim. Our attorneys are readily available to guide you through this process every step of the way. Call Weisfuse & Weisfuse, LLP at 212-983-3000 for a free and confidential consultation.