The WTC Health Program is a separate entity from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. It monitors and treats eligible responders and survivors for illnesses linked to the toxic dust cloud. It also certifies 9/11-related diseases, illnesses, cancers, and health conditions for the purposes of obtaining a monetary award from the VCF. However, many responders and survivors may be wondering whether they can enroll in the Program if they do not have a certified condition. The answer is yes — and an experienced 9/11 VCF attorney can help with the process.
Should I Enroll in the WTC Health Program if I Have an Illness That Isn’t Covered?
The WTC Health Program provides health monitoring services for all responders and survivors who meet the eligibility criteria. Even if you have not developed a 9/11-related condition or an illness on the Program’s list of certifiable conditions, you can still enroll if you were exposed to the chemicals in the toxic dust cloud. By enrolling, those who are eligible can receive health monitoring for illnesses linked to the terrorist attacks, including:
- All forms of cancer
- Aerodigestive disorders
- Respiratory illnesses
- Musculoskeletal disorders
In addition, the WTC Health Program has added new conditions in the past and has the authority to do so in the future through the rulemaking process. Any interested party may petition to add a condition to the Program’s list of WTC-Related Health Conditions.
Obtaining Certification for a 9/11 Health Condition
It can be confusing to understand whether a condition must be certified before or after you can enroll with the WTC Health Program. Certification is obtained subsequent to enrolling in the WTC Health Program. After you have been accepted into the Program, you will be evaluated to determine whether you have an eligible 9/11-related cancer or illness. Critically, certification is required in order for the VCF to issue a monetary award for your condition.
In limited cases, the VCF may allow a claimant to utilize the Private Physician process to verify an eligible 9/11-related health condition. However, a request must first be made to the VCF to go through this process. You must demonstrate that you would experience a substantial hardship by having to obtain certification through a WTC Health Program provider, as well as provide facts and documentation that support your position.
Does Your Condition Need to Be Certified to Register With the VCF?
Although the VCF only compensates conditions that have been certified, it is not necessary to obtain certification before registering to file a claim. However, a claim should only be submitted after you have been certified. It’s crucial to understand that the VCF’s registration and claim filing processes are separate and distinct.
If your condition was certified after July 29, 2019, you have two years from the date of certification to register with the VCF. Notably, a responder or survivor can register with the VCF at any time if they meet the criteria. Registration does not compel you to submit a claim. It only preserves your right to do so.
Contact an Experienced 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Attorney
A 9/11 health condition can be debilitating and impact every aspect of your life. If you have an eligible 9/11-related health condition, you may be entitled to receive compensation from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. A knowledgeable VCF attorney can guide you through the WTC Health Program certification process and help ensure you obtain the monetary award that is rightfully yours from the VCF.
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.