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Common 9/11 Health Conditions Affecting Survivors


In the months following the September 11th terrorist attacks, thousands of residents, employees, and students in lower Manhattan were exposed to countless chemicals that permeated the air after the towers collapsed. While the toxic dust covered the area south of Canal Street in the weeks ahead, the debris and jet fuel continued to burn at Ground Zero for 100 days. As a result of inhaling the poisonous fumes and toxins, many survivors who lived, worked, and went to school in the vicinity developed various forms of cancer and other severe illnesses.

If you’re an eligible survivor who was diagnosed with an illness linked to 9/11, you may be entitled to compensation from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. The VCF awards monetary recovery to survivors for the economic and non-economic losses they have suffered in connection with their 9/11-related physical health conditions.   

Top 9/11 Physical Health Conditions Certified in Survivors

Twenty years after the terrorist attacks, nearly 30,000 survivors have been certified by the World Trade Center Health Program for various illnesses linked to the 9/11 dust cloud — in addition to more than 80,000 responders. Tragically, the rates of certain diseases continue to rise. Due to long latency periods, many types of cancers and other illnesses do not show up until years, or even decades, later.  

According to statistics provided by the WTC Health Program, some of the most common physical health conditions 9/11 survivors have developed include:

  • Cancers
  • Asthma
  • Chronic Rhinosinusitis
  • GERD
  • Chronic Respiratory Disorder
  • Sleep Apnea
  • WTC-Exacerbated COPD

Significantly, prostate cancer and female breast cancer are among two most commonly diagnosed types of cancers certified in survivors, followed by non-melanoma skin cancer.  

While the above are some of the most frequently diagnosed 9/11-related illnesses and diseases, many other 9/11 health conditions can affect survivors. Notably, the WTC Health Program certifies acute and traumatic injuries, all forms of cancer, musculoskeletal disorders, and airway and digestive disorders. It’s critical to attend regular health screenings to ensure any conditions — especially cancers — are caught early and can be treated.      

WTC Health Program Survivor Eligibility

Survivors who lived, worked, or attended school in the geographic location that the WTC Health Program defines as the NYC Disaster Area may be eligible to enroll for health screening and treatment at no cost. However, specific eligibility criteria must be met concerning the activity, time period, and the number of hours spent in the area.

To enroll in the WTC Health Program, a survivor must have been present in the area four days or more, between September 11, 2001 to January 10, 2002, with four hours constituting a day. Those who were present between September 11, 2001 to July 31, 2002 must have spent a total of 30 days in the area during this period, for at least four hours each day.      

For anyone present in the dust cloud on September 11, 2001, there is no minimum time requirement for eligibility.

Any 9/11-related health condition must first be certified by the program in order to file a claim with the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. It’s essential to be aware that while the programs work together, they are separate entities with distinct eligibility criteria. Additionally, although the VCF only awards compensation for physical health problems, the WTC Health Program covers treatment for survivors who suffer from certain mental health conditions in connection with September 11th.  

Contact a New York City 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Attorney

Being diagnosed with a 9/11 health condition can take a devastating toll on your life — physically, emotionally, and financially. If you’re a 9/11 survivor who developed cancer or another illness, you may be entitled to monetary recovery from the VCF. However, filing a claim with the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund can be confusing and frustrating. It’s essential to have a knowledgeable VCF attorney who can help you navigate the process and ensure you obtain the maximum amount of compensation you deserve.

The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund attorneys at The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. have represented claimants and their families in 9/11 VCF claims for over a decade. For a free consultation, contact us today.


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