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What Health Conditions Are Certified by the WTC Health Program?


The World Trade Center Health Program strives to ensure that all eligible responders and survivors obtain the treatment they need for their 9/11-related health conditions. However, the Program also works cooperatively with the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund to certify health conditions linked to the toxic dust cloud so they can obtain the compensation they deserve. Hundreds of conditions are certifiable, including every form of cancer.

9/11 Cancers Certified by the WTC Health Program

The cancer rate among 9/11 rescue and recovery workers is tragically high. Due to long latency periods, many continue to develop a wide variety of cancers to this day. Significantly, firefighters and police officers who were present at Ground Zero and in the NYC Exposure Zone have an increased risk of cancer, compared with the general population. Cancer is also one of the most common 9/11-related health conditions found in survivors who lived, worked, and went to school in Lower Manhattan in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks.

The WTC Health Program certifies every type of cancer for responders and survivors who meet the location and time frame criteria. Common 9/11 cancers that are certified can include:

Importantly, there are minimum latency periods applicable to cancer certifications. This means that a certain amount of time must have passed between exposure to the toxic dust cloud and the date of your diagnosis in order for the condition to be certified.

Certified Airway and Digestive Disorders

Airway and digestive disorders, commonly known as aerodigestive disorders, are some of the most common non-cancer conditions experienced by responders and survivors. The WTC Health Program screens, treats, and certifies a wide variety of conditions that affect the breathing airways, sinuses, lungs, and the upper digestive tract. Commonly certified conditions in this category can include asthma, chronic cough syndrome, sleep apnea, interstitial lung disease, chronic rhinosinusitis, upper airways hyperreactivity, and more.  

To be certified by the Program, it’s essential to be aware that certain aerodigestive disorders must meet a maximum time interval requirement. While there is no maximum time frame to be certified for COPD or interstitial lung disease, responders and survivors must have no more than five years between their exposure and diagnosis for upper respiratory diseases and co-occurring GERD. Isolated GERD must have been diagnosed within one year.

Certified Acute Traumatic Injuries and Musculoskeletal Disorders

Various acute traumatic injuries are certified by the Program in order to obtain VCF compensation. These types of injuries that may have been sustained during the rescue efforts, including burns, sprains, eye injuries, fractures, head trauma, and torn tendons.

Responders are also able to have musculoskeletal conditions certified that were incurred while working at Ground Zero, along the debris routes, or at the Fresh Kills landfill. These disorders are chronic conditions that reoccur due to having participated in tasks that involved heavy lifting, or as a result of repetitive strain on the joints during the recovery and cleanup efforts. Certifiable conditions specifically include carpal tunnel syndrome, lower back pain, and other musculoskeletal disorders.   

Although the WTC Health Program provides treatment for mental health conditions linked to the terrorist attacks, the VCF only issues compensation for physical illnesses and injuries.

Contact an Experienced New York City 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Attorney

If you developed a 9/11-related health condition, you may be entitled to receive an award from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund for your economic losses and your pain and suffering. However, the VCF’s policies and procedures can be confusing to understand and overwhelming to navigate. It’s best to have the guidance of a skilled 9/11 VCF attorney who can help you secure the compensation 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 more than a decade. For a free consultation, contact us today.


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