World Trade Center Health Program
The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 not only established the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund to provide compensation for past and future lost wages, it also created the World Trade Center Health Program.
This program provides treatment and monitoring of specific physical and mental health conditions caused by the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Some of these conditions are directly related to injuries from the attacks. Others stem from prolonged exposure to toxic chemicals at the crash sites or stresses during the aftermath.
Who Qualifies for the WTC Health Program?
You can apply for the WTC Health Program as either a responder or an NYC survivor. To qualify as a responder, you must have done one of the following on September 11, 2001, or the ensuing months:
- Responded as New York City firefighter to the World Trade Center, Staten Island landfill, or the New York City Chief Medical Examiner’s Office
- Responded as any other emergency worker (police officer, firefighter) to the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, or the crash site of Flight 93 near Shanksville, Pa.
- Served as a volunteer (Red Cross, Salvation Army, etc.) at any of the three affected sites
- Assisted with the recovery, demolition, and cleanup at any of the affected sites (federal employees, medical examiners, Port Authority workers, vehicle maintenance workers, sanitation workers)
The health program also is open to surviving immediate family members of any member of the Fire Department of New York who was killed at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The family member must have received treatment for a health condition related to the attacks on or before September 1, 2008.
People qualify as survivors if they were present within the New York City Disaster Area during a particular span of time.
The NYC Disaster area covers lower Manhattan south of Houston Street (areas such as SoHo, Chinatown, the Lower East Side, Greenwich Village, Bowling Green, and Battery Park City).
It also includes parts of downtown Brooklyn that fall within a 1.5-mile radius of the former World Trade Center (Brooklyn Heights west of Cadman Plaza, for instance). For a detailed map, please click here.
The following categories can qualify you as an NYC survivor:
- You lived or worked within the NYC Disaster Area for at least four days from September 11, 2001, and January 10, 2002; or at least 30 days from September 11, 2001, through July 31, 2002.
- You attended school, child care, or any adult or child day care facility within the disaster area during these same dates.
- You performed maintenance work or did cleanup work in the disaster area from September 11, 2001, through January 10, 2002.
- You were in the dust or dust cloud in the disaster area on September 11, 2001.
- Your place of employment was located in the disaster area at any time from September 11, 2001, through May 31, 2003.
- Your workplace was eligible to receive a grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation WTC Small Firms Attraction and Retention Act program or other government incentive program designed to revitalize the economy in lower Manhattan after the attacks.
How Do You Register for the WTC Health Program?
Regardless of whether you’re a responder or an NYC survivor, you must have symptoms of a physical or mental health condition that has been determined to be caused by exposure to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. (You don’t have to prove that your illness is connected to the attacks.)
These conditions include, for example:
- Acute traumatic injury (head trauma, burns, fractures)
- Aerodigestive disorders (asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, gastroesophageal reflux disorder, interstitial lung diseases)
- Mental health conditions (anxiety disorder, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, substance abuse)
- Musculoskeletal disorders among first responders (carpal tunnel syndrome, low back pain
Please click here for a full list of covered conditions.
Similar to registering for the Zadroga Act September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, you’ll need to fill out an application and provide proof of your location or activity during the relevant time period. This documentation might include:
- Employment records such as a work roster or pay stub
- A lease or utility bill
- Attendance records at a school or day-care facility
Once you’ve been determined to be eligible and enrolled, you’ll have an initial appointment at a WTC Health Program clinic. There, a doctor affiliated with the program will evaluate your condition and medical needs.
The World Trade Center Health Program costs nothing for members who use healthcare providers and pharmacies within its network. All treatment, medication, and monitoring are free.
How Is the WTC Health Program Different from a Zadroga Act Claim?
The health program is part of the Zadroga Act. Some people use the term “Zadroga Act” interchangeably with the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). The Zadroga Act reauthorized both the WTC Health Program and the VCF in 2015.
The VCF is not a health-care program. It provides compensation for past and future lost wages for any individual who suffered physical harm from the 9/11 terrorist attacks or during the immediate cleanup efforts. It also provides for such compensation for personal representatives of anyone who was killed as a result of these attacks.
In addition, being eligible for compensation under the VCF for civilians involves establishing a victim’s location within a slightly different geographic area of Manhattan and slightly different dates.
Because of the history of the Zadroga Act and earlier medical monitoring and treatment programs, some responders or survivors are already enrolled in the WTC Health Program. However, registering for the VCF does not automatically register you for the WTC Health Program.
Get Help from the Marcowitz Law Firm
As someone who serves as the personal attorney for the family of James Zadroga, the NYPD detective for whom the benefits act is named, Edward Marcowitz intimately understands the registration process for the WTC Health Program and the Zadroga Act VCF. The Marcowitz Law Firm is dedicated to representing people injured by toxic exposures to these terrorist attacks and their aftermath.
If you have any questions about the registration process for either of these entities, we’re glad to help. Please call us or contact us online now.