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Obstructive Airways Disease in Responders and Survivors


Obstructive airways diseases are some of the most common 9/11-related health conditions found in responders and survivors. While several types of illnesses affecting the airways may develop over the course of years — or even decades — other types have occurred in those exposed to the dust cloud shortly after exposure. If you are a 9/11 responder or survivor who suffers from an obstructive airways disease, you may be entitled to compensation from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.       

Types of Obstructive Airways Diseases 

The toxins in the 9/11 dust cloud have been linked to countless respiratory illnesses affecting the airways, bronchioles, and lung tissues. Specifically, obstructive airways disease linked to the terrorist attacks can result in narrowing of the lungs, airflow restriction, and difficulty breathing. Common symptoms can include cough, mucus, and wheezing. However, the symptoms can vary depending upon the severity and type of illness.          

Obstructive airways diseases in 9/11 responders and survivors can include:

  • Asthma
  • COPD
  • Emphysema
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Reactive airways dysfunction
  • Reactive airways disease

Unfortunately, for many responders and survivors, these types of illnesses can adversely impact their lives and ability to earn a living. In some cases, obstructive airways diseases can require extensive treatment or lead to hospitalization. Depending on the type of illness, various procedures may be required, including bronchoscopy, CAT scans, X-rays, thoracoscopy, or a lung transplant.    

It’s crucial for responders and survivors to ensure they are properly monitored and correctly treated for any conditions affecting the airways before they worsen. Critically, the WTC Health Program offers monitoring and treatment to responders and survivors for all 9/11-related health conditions, including obstructive airways diseases.

VCF Compensation for 9/11 Obstructive Airways Diseases

The VCF awards monetary compensation to eligible responders and survivors for the economic and non-economic losses they have suffered due to a diagnosis of 9/11-related obstructive airways disease. But in order to receive any compensation from the VCF, the condition must first be certified by the WTC Health Program. 

If you have been diagnosed with obstructive airways disease, an economic loss award from the VCF can include your lost earnings, loss of benefits, and the out-of-pocket expenses you incurred in connection with medical treatment for your illness. VCF non-economic loss awards are intended to compensate you for the pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life you experienced as a result of your 9/11-related health condition. Generally, the maximum payout for obstructive airways diseases and other non-cancer conditions is $90,000 under the Zadroga Act. The award amount will vary based on the severity of the condition.   

Since obstructive airway diseases are so common among 9/11 responders and survivors, the VCF also considers certain medications and procedures in connection with them to be presumptively compensable expenses. In other words, you do not need to submit additional documentation if you are filing an amendment to your VCF claim for medical expense reimbursement for an obstructive airways disease.

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

9/11 obstructive airways diseases can have a significant impact on your life — and you may be entitled to receive a monetary award from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund for your illness. However, the process of registering with the VCF and filing a claim can often be frustrating and confusing. It is best to have an experienced 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund attorney on your side who can help ensure you obtain the award 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 more than a decade. For a free consultation, contact us today.


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