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How Do You Know If Your Illness Is Covered by the VCF?


If you’re a responder or survivor who meets the qualification criteria, you may be eligible to receive an award from the VCF for the economic and non-economic losses you suffered in connection with your 9/11-related illness. The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) recognizes a wide range of health conditions as eligible for compensation — including aerodigestive disorders, respiratory illnesses, acute traumatic injuries, and all forms of cancer.   

VCF-Covered Conditions

To receive an award from the VCF, a responder or survivor must meet the eligibility criteria set forth under the Zadroga Act. This includes having at least one condition certified by the WTC Health Program. Specifically, the Act requires that an individual has suffered “physical harm or death as a result of” the September 11th terrorist attacks or debris removal. Although the VCF does not compensate mental health conditions in connection with the terrorist attacks, the WTC Health Program provides treatment for psychological conditions as part of its services.

Presumptively covered conditions eligible for certification include the following:

  • Interstitial Lung Disease
  • Chronic Respiratory Disorder
  • Asthma
  • Chronic Cough Syndrome
  • Upper Airway Hyper Reactivity
  • New Onset Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  • WTC-Exacerbated Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  • Reactive Airways Dysfunction Syndrome
  • Chronic Rhinosinusitis
  • Chronic Nasopharyngitis
  • Chronic Laryngitis
  • Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disorder
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Acute Traumatic Injuries
  • Musculoskeletal Disorders
  • All Forms of Cancer

Significantly, the WTC Health Program has imposed minimum and maximum time intervals between an individual’s exposure to the toxic dust cloud and the onset of the symptoms related to their illness for a condition to be certified. Maximum time intervals are the maximum amount of time that could have gone by between the date of exposure and the date the symptoms first appeared. These time frames are different for each type of condition. Similarly, there are minimum latency requirements for cancers, which vary based on the type of cancer.   

Obtaining WTC Health Program Certification

The first step in obtaining certification for your 9/11 health condition is ensuring you qualify for the WTC Health Program. It’s essential to understand that the Program is separate from the VCF and has different eligibility criteria. You must submit documentation to the Program that details the activity in which you were engaged, your location, and the time period and hours you spent in the vicinity designated the NYC Disaster Area. 

Once you have assessed the eligibility criteria, you must submit your application. The Program will review the application and supporting documents and send you an acceptance letter if you are approved. You must then be evaluated by a WTC Health Program physician at a Clinical Center of Excellence or through the Nationwide Provider Network. This doctor will assess whether your condition is related to the September 11th terrorist attacks. The private physician process can only be used in limited circumstances. 

In addition to certifying 9/11-related illnesses, the WTC Health Program also provides ongoing treatment at no cost for eligible responders and survivors. It’s crucial to attend regular screenings to treat any conditions that may arise as soon as possible — a condition diagnosed subsequent to the initial certified condition may also be added to a VCF claim. See how VCF non-economic loss claims are valued here.

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

If you are a responder or survivor who was diagnosed with an illness connected with the toxic dust that covered Lower Manhattan in the weeks following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, you may be able to recover compensation from the VCF. However, the VCF’s regulations are often difficult to understand and confusing to navigate. It’s critical to have a skilled 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund attorney to help guide you through the process and ensure you obtain the monetary award to which you are entitled. 
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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