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What Illnesses Are Covered by the VCF?


If you are a 9/11 responder or survivor who developed an illness linked to the attack’s subsequent toxic dust cloud, you may be entitled to compensation from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. The VCF issues monetary awards for various health conditions linked to the chemicals and carcinogens found at Ground Zero and in the NYC Exposure Zone. However, it’s important to understand that any illness must first be certified by the World Trade Center Health Program before the VCF will consider a claim. 

The VCF covers the following illnesses, diseases, and health conditions: 

Aerodigestive Disorders and Respiratory Conditions

An aerodigestive disorder is a category of 9/11 health conditions that can impact the aerodigestive tract and upper digestive tract. They can affect respiratory functions, such as breathing and swallowing. These diseases are commonly found in responders and survivors — especially responders who arrived early at Ground Zero. Aerodigestive disorders and respiratory illnesses are compensated by the VCF in an amount between $10,000 and $90,000, depending on the severity of the condition. 

Common aerodigestive disorders and respiratory illnesses found in those who were in the NYC Exposure Zone can include the following:

  • Asthma
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD)
  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Reactive airway dysfunction syndrome (RADS)
  • Sleep apnea
  • Chronic respiratory disorder
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  • Upper airways hyperreactivity
  • Chronic cough syndrome
  • Chronic laryngitis     

Significantly, the WTC Health Program has determined maximum time intervals for aerodigestive disorders to ensure they are linked with exposure to the dust cloud. For instance, while the maximum time interval for conditions such as chronic rhinosinusitis and chronic cough syndrome is five years, there is no maximum time interval for COPD and all types of interstitial lung disease.                                    

All Forms of Cancer

Exposure to the chemicals in the 9/11 dust cloud caused numerous responders and survivors to develop various cancers. All forms of cancer that have been certified by the WTC Health Program are compensated by the VCF. Significantly, cancers are issued the highest amount of compensation of all eligible conditions and can be awarded up to $250,000.    

Common cancer conditions diagnosed in responders and survivors can include the following:

  • Leukemia and blood cancers     
  • Digestive system cancers
  • Prostate cancer
  • Rare cancers
  • Lung cancer
  • Male and female breast cancer
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Respiratory system cancer
  • Skin cancer
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Mesothelioma
  • Urinary system cancer

Certain types of cancers can take many years to develop. Accordingly, the WTC Health Program assigns a minimum latency period to each type of cancer that begins on the date of exposure. The latency period can range from .4 years for leukemia and blood cancers or up to 11 years for mesothelioma.                        

Musculoskeletal Disorders 

In addition to respiratory illnesses, aerodigestive disorders, and cancers, the VCF also compensates responders for the physical injuries they may have suffered due to assisting with the rescue and recovery work. Acute traumatic injuries compensated by the VCF include burns, eye injuries, fractures, tendon tears, and head trauma. Other musculoskeletal disorders for which the VCF may award compensation include carpal tunnel syndrome, low back pain, and other conditions sustained in connection with the debris removal and rebuilding efforts. 

Contact an Experienced 9/11 VCF AttorneyFiling a VCF claim can be complex. It’s essential to have a skillful VCF attorney by your side who can guide you through the process to ensure you obtain the compensation to which you’re 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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