If you’re a 9/11 responder or survivor, you may be aware that you might be eligible for health monitoring and screening with the World Trade Center Health Program. However, it’s essential to understand that in order to receive monetary recovery from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, the WTC Health Program must certify your eligible 9/11 health condition. While the two entities are separate, they work closely together to facilitate your VCF claim for compensation.
What is WTC Health Program Certification?
The WTC Health Program treats 9/11-related illnesses, conditions, and diseases in responders and survivors. It also certifies eligible conditions so that responders and survivors can file a claim for compensation with the VCF and receive the award they deserve for how their 9/11 health condition impacted their lives. Certification occurs when a doctor who works for the Program determines that a health condition satisfies certain criteria.
Specifically, a condition can be certified by the WTC Health Program if:
- You satisfy the WTC Health Program time and presence criteria;
- The illness is on the list of WTC-Related Health Conditions list;
- You meet the criteria for the minimum latency requirements; and
- Your exposure to the dust cloud was substantially likely to have caused or aggravated the condition
If the WTC Health Program doctor determines that your health condition meets the necessary criteria, a certification package must be completed to formally request certification. The WTC Health Program will then review the package to decide whether your condition is certifiable. Notification regarding the Program’s decision will be provided to you in writing.
Enrolling With the WTC Health Program
Importantly, you must first enroll in the WTC Health Program in order to have your condition certified and obtain treatment. When applying as a responder, you must submit documentation that establishes the type of work you performed, the location where you worked, and the times you were there. As a survivor, you must provide the Program with documentation concerning the address of your home, workplace, or school — as well as proof that you were present in the NYC Disaster Area on September 11, 2001.
Generally, a WTC Health Program application is processed within a few weeks. If your enrollment has been denied, you may be eligible to appeal the decision.
What Happens at the Initial Health Evaluation?
To get your 9/11-related health condition certified by the WTC Health Program, you must attend a health evaluation at one of the Program’s Clinical Centers of Excellence. If you live outside of the New York Metropolitan area, providers are available through the Nationwide Provider Network.
At the initial evaluation — which can last from two to four hours — the healthcare provider will examine you for possible WTC-related health conditions. They will also run several tests and discuss your health information with you. Typically, they will check your vital signs, as well as conduct a breathing test and blood test. If the doctor thinks it is necessary, they may also take chest X-rays, an EKG, and a urine test.
In addition to obtaining certification to receive compensation from the VCF, your condition will also need to be certified by the Program in order for medical treatment to be covered at no cost to you.
Contact an Experienced 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Attorney
A 9/11-related cancer, illness, or health condition can take a substantial toll on your life, livelihood, and family. If you’ve been diagnosed with a disease linked to the toxins in the dust cloud, a knowledgeable VCF attorney can help ensure you receive the monetary award to which you’re entitled from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.
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.