Frequently Asked Questions

How much funding is available under the VCF?

The Zadroga Act originally allocated $2.775 billion to the VCF to provide financial compensation to victims of the 9/11 attacks and their heirs. The “Reauthorized” Zadroga Act signed into law on December 18, 2015 allocated an additional $4.6 billion to the VCF. These amounts include the governmental cost of operating the VCF (staff salaries, computer equipment, websites, phone systems, printing, etc.).

What is the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF)?

The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (“VCF”) provides financial compensation for pain and suffering, lost earnings and benefits, replacement services, and past out-of-pocket medical expenses caused by eligible physical conditions. Unlike the World Trade Center Health Program (“WTCHP”), the VCF does not cover psychological conditions. The VCF is administered by the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) with Sheila Birnbaum of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP as the current Special Master.

What is the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP)?

The World Trade Center Health Program (“WTCHP”) provides free medical monitoring, treatment, and medication for physical and psychological illnesses to responders and survivors who satisfy certain eligibility criteria. Healthcare is offered through seven Clinical Centers of Excellence (“CCEs”) located throughout the NY/NJ metropolitan area. Those located outside the NY/NJ metropolitan area have access to the National Provider Network (“NPN”) administered by Logistics Health Inc. (“LHI”) that provides free healthcare at a vast network of clinics nationwide.

The WTCHP is administered by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (“NIOSH”) as part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), a federal agency.

 

What is the Reauthorized Zadroga Act?

The Zadroga Act was due to expire in October of 2016 but was extended thanks to the efforts of union coalitions, activists, and years of relentless advocacy championed by Kirsten Gillibrand, Carolyn Maloney, Jerrold Nadler, Peter King, and Chuck Schumer. The extension, entitled the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act, was included in the 2015 Omnibus spending bill signed into law by President Obama on December 18, 2015.

What is the Zadroga Act?

On January 2, 2011, President Obama signed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010. The Zadroga Act (named for James Zadroga, an NYPD Detective who died in 2006 from respiratory failure linked to Ground Zero exposure) established and provided funding for two separate but related federal benefit programs: The World Trade Center Health Program (“WTCHP”) and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (“VCF”).

How are VCF awards distributed?

September 11th Victim Compensation Fund awards are being distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis.

What will happen if the VCF runs out of funding?

It is unknown at this time. Because awards are distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis, we encourage all prospective claimants to register and file their claims as soon as possible.

How long will World Trade Center Health Program benefits be available?

The “Reauthorized” Zadroga Act allocated an additional $3.5 billion for the WTCHP to provide free medical monitoring, treatment, and medication benefits until 2090.

Do I need to hire an attorney to obtain World Trade Center Health Program benefits?

No. The World Trade Center Health Program has an online application process or you can call 888-WTC-HP4U to request a hardcopy application.

Do I need to hire an attorney to obtain a 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund award?

No. As with other benefits programs such as workers’ compensation, and as with personal injury lawsuits, you are not required to be represented by an attorney. You are free to represent yourself. However 83% of all VCF claimants are represented by attorneys Source: VCF Fourth Annual Status Report, February 2016 . Pitta Giblin & Baione LLP attorneys have years of experience representing VCF claimants and decades of litigation experience. Contact us if you are considering hiring our firm to handle your VCF claim from start to finish.

Are psychological conditions such as PTSD covered under the Zadroga Act?

The Zadroga Act provides for the free diagnosis and treatment of psychological conditions such as PTSD and depression through the World Trade Center Health Program but does not provide for financial compensation through the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.

Are there any World Trade Center Health Program deadlines?

Generally, there are no deadlines concerning the World Trade Center Health Program other than its 2090 expiration date. However, there are important deadlines relating to the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.

When are the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund deadlines?

There are two important deadlines The applicable deadline is the date by which the required forms must be submitted/uploaded to your online claim or postmarked (if sending by mail). If the date falls on a Sunday or a Federal Government holiday, the forms must be submitted/uploaded or postmarked by the next business day. for each claim. The first deadline is the date by which you must register your claim with the Victim Compensation Fund. This date is different for each claimant and depends on individual circumstances. The second deadline is the date by which you must file your completed forms and all required supporting documents. This date is the same for all claimants: December 18, 2020.

VCF Registration Deadlines for Personal Injury Claimants

Victim’s ConditionRegistration Start DateRegistration Deadline
Non-Cancer ConditionsOn or before 10/3/1110/3/13
On or after 10/4/11Two years after Registration Start Date, but no later than 12/18/20
Cancer (excluding prostate and rare cancers)On or before 10/12/1210/12/14
On or after 10/13/12Two years after Registration Start Date, but no later than 12/18/20
Prostate CancerOn or before 10/21/1310/21/15
On or after 10/22/13Two years after Registration Start Date, but no later than 12/18/20
Rare cancers added to the WTCHP list on 2/18/14On or before 2/18/142/18/16
On or after 2/19/14Two years after Registration Start Date, but no later than 12/18/20
New-Onset Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary DiseaseOn or before 8/4/168/4/18
On or after 8/6/16Two years after Registration Start Date, but no later than 12/18/20

VCF Registration Deadlines for Deceased Claimants

Victim is Deceased and Died of:Date of DeathClaim Filing Deadline
Non-Cancer ConditionsOn or before 10/3/1110/3/13
On or after 10/4/11Two years after the date of death
Cancer (excluding prostate and rare cancers)On or before 10/12/1210/12/14
On or after 10/13/12Two years after the date of death
Prostate CancerOn or before 10/21/1310/21/15
On or after 10/22/13Two years after the date of death
Rare cancers added to the WTCHP list on 2/18/14On or before 2/18/142/18/16
On or after 2/19/14Two years after the date of death
New-Onset Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary DiseaseOn or before 8/4/168/4/18
On or after 8/6/16Two years after the date of death
What is the difference between the World Trade Center Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund?

The World Trade Center Health Program provides free medical monitoring, treatment, and medication for physical and psychological conditions while the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund provides financial compensation for physical conditions. Each program is operated by different government agencies and has different eligibility criteria.

Am I eligible for 9/11 benefits?

In general, anyone who was present in Lower Manhattan below Canal Street, the Fresh Kills landfill, barges/trucks that moved debris, the NYC Morgue, or garages where emergency vehicles were cleaned; or responded to the Pentagon or Shanksville, PA crash sites between the dates of September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002; and contracted a covered illness may be eligible for free healthcare and/or financial compensation. It depends on whether all eligibility criteria is satisfied and all applicable deadlines are met. Contact us to learn more.

What is the relationship between the World Trade Center Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund?

Although they are two separate benefit programs with different eligibility criteria and application processes You must apply separately to either program. Registering for one does not mean you are registered for the other. , the World Trade Center Health Program (“WTCHP”) and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (“VCF”) are related in the following way. Physicians at the WTCHP determine if your conditions are likely to be caused by 9/11. If your conditions are deemed to be caused by 9/11, the WTCHP will issue you a certification letter This is sent from WTCHP Administrator Dr. Howard and has a table listing the certification date, condition category, and certification category. listing all certified conditions. This letter may include certifications for both physical and psychological conditions, but only physical conditions Psychological conditions such as PTSD, depression, and anxiety are NOT eligible for financial compensation under the VCF. are eligible for financial compensation under the VCF. WTCHP certifications for physical conditions will be accepted by the VCF as proof of your eligible condition.

Do I need to be enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Program to be eligible for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund?

No. If you are not enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Program (“WTCHP”) and instead treat with your own private physicians, you can still receive financial compensation from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (“VCF”). However, you face the additional requirement of submitting specific medical records directly to the VCF to prove your conditions are related to 9/11 through what is known as the Private Physician Process. This process takes longer and requires submission of additional forms, information, and the precise medical records required by the VCF. More information on the Private Physician Process can be found here.

Which conditions are covered under the Zadroga Act?

Conditions ranging from gastroesophageal reflux disease (“GERD”) to rare cancers are covered under the Zadroga Act entitling thousands to medical monitoring, treatment by the World Trade Center Health Program (“WTCHP”) and financial compensation from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (“VCF”). Please note that psychological conditions such as PTSD, depression, and anxiety are covered for medical monitoring and treatment through the WTCHP but are not eligible for financial compensation from the VCF. Illnesses covered under the VCF include but are not limited to:

CancersAerodigestive Disorders
Over 70 types including:Interstitial lung diseases (ILDs):
Non-melanoma skin cancerSarcoidosis
Melanoma skin cancerPulmonary Fibrosis
Prostate cancerAsbestosis
LymphomaObstructive airways disesases (OADs):
Thyroid cancerChronic Respiratory Disorder – fumes/vapors
Breast cancerAsthma
Lung cancerReactive Airways Dysfunction Syndrome (RADS)
Bronchus cancerChronic cough syndrome
Kidney cancerWTC-exacerbated Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
LeukemiaUpper respiratory diseases (URDs):
Colon cancerUpper airway hyperreactivity
Bladder cancerChronic laryngitis
MyelomaChronic rhinosinusitis
Oropharynx cancerChronic nasopharyngitis
Rectal cancerGastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
MesotheliomaSleep apnea exacerbated by or related to another of the above aerodigestive conditions
Musculoskeletal Disorders
Low back pain
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)
Certain other musculoskeletal disorders caused by repetitive stress on the joints or skeleton during the covered period
Traumatic injuries, such as broken bones, head injuries and other blunt traumas

The complete list of the 70 plus cancers and other covered conditions can be found at the Centers for Disease Control’s website. Conditions not on this list may be covered if they resulted from the treatment or progression of an underlying certified WTC-health condition. For example, certain permanent conditions caused by cancer treatment such as chemotherapy and radiation may be certified.

Why are psychological conditions covered by the World Trade Center Health Program but not the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund?

The Zadroga Act, the statute that created the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (“VCF”), limits eligible injuries to those consisting of “physical harm.” While individuals with psychological injuries such as PTSD, depression, or anxiety may be eligible for free treatment by the World Trade Center Health Program (“WTCHP”), the statutory language Source: James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 does not allow the VCF to cover individuals’ psychological injuries.

How long does it take to receive an award from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund?

It generally takes anywhere from nine months to 1-2 years for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (“VCF”) to fully process a claim for compensation. The date submitted and the specific circumstances of each claim affect the processing time. For those suffering from a terminal illness or impending foreclosure or bankruptcy, there is a mechanism to request expedited claim review for “exigent circumstances.”

What is the NYC Exposure Area?

For eligibility purposes, applicants to the World Trade Center Health Program (“WTCHP”) and claimants with the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (“VCF”) must have been physically present at a 9/11 crash site Ground Zero, The Pentagon, or Shanksville, PA or within the NYC Exposure Area. The exposure area differs for the WTCHP and the VCF. The WTCHP employs a broader definition that encompasses the area of Manhattan south of Houston Street and any block in Brooklyn that is wholly or partially contained within a 1.5-mile radius of the former World Trade Center site. As you can see in the map below, the WTCHP differentiates between responders and survivors who have different eligibility criteria Responders must have been present below Canal Street while survivors must have been present below Houston Street or within the 1.5 mile radius into Brooklyn. In general, responders require a lower number of hours of exposure than survivors to be eligible for the WTCHP. and access to medical treatment Responders are entitled to an annual checkup even if they have no medical issues whereas survivors must have symptoms of at least one covered condition. Responders also have access to a broader range of treatment locations within the Metropolitan New York City Area. .

WTCHP Exposure Zone

The VCF employs a smaller NYC Exposure Area defined as the area in Manhattan south of the line that runs along Canal Street from the Hudson River to the intersection of Canal Street and East Broadway, north on East Broadway to Clinton Street, and east on Clinton Street to the East River.

VCF Exposure Zone

Both the WTCHP and VCF may consider the eligibility of individuals who worked at Fresh Kills Landfill in Staten Island, the New York City Chief Medical Examiner’s Office, or other areas related to, or along, routes of debris removal, such as garages and barges.

Where is the World Trade Center Health Program?

The World Trade Center Health Program (“WTCHP”) provides monitoring and treatment at seven Clinical Centers of Excellence (“CCEs”) throughout the NY/NJ metropolitan area (some having multiple locations) as well as the National Provider Network (“NPN”) of clinics located throughout the United States. If you live in an urban area, the NPN will try to find you care within 30 miles or less of your residence. If you live in a rural area, the NPN will try to find you care within 70 miles or less of your residence Enrollees can select a location of their choice that corresponds with their respective category, but only one transfer per year is allowed (except under special circumstances).

The enrollee categories, the seven CCEs and their additional locations are listed below:

Responders

  • Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
    Selikoff Centers for Occupational Health
    Two Locations:

    • Annenberg Building
      1468 Madison Ave, 3rd Floor
      New York, NY 10029
    • Mount Sinai – Staten Island WTC Clinical Center
      690 Castleton Ave (corner of Hoyt Ave/with entry on Hoyt), 2nd Floor
      Staten Island, NY 10310
  • New York University School of Medicine
    Bellevue/NYU Department of Occupational & Environmental Medicine
  • Northwell Health
  • State University of New York, Stony Brook
    Two Locations:

    • Suffolk County (Main Clinic)
      1345 Motor Parkway, 1st Floor
      Islandia, NY 11749
    • Mineola (Contact Main Clinic First)
      173 Mineola Blvd Suite 302
      Mineola, NY 11501
  • Rutgers University
    Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
    Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences Institute

Survivors

  • NYC Health and Hospitals System WTC Environmental Health Center
    Three Locations:

    • Bellevue Hospital Center
      462 First Ave (27th St.)
      New York, NY 10016
    • Gouverneur Healthcare Services
      227 Madison St
      (Clinton St.)
      New York, NY 10002
    • Elmhurst Hospital Center
      79-01 Broadway (79th St.)
      Elmhurst, NY 11373

FDNY Responders

  • FDNY Responder Health Program
    Seven Locations:

    • FDNY Headquarters
      9 Metro Tech Center
      Brooklyn, NY
    • Brentwood, Long Island (Mental Health Services Only)
      1001 Crooked Hill Road
      Brentwood, NY 11717
    • Commack (Physical Health Services Only)
      66 Commack Rd Suite 200
      Commack, NY 11725
    • Fort Totten, Queens
      Fort Totten, Building 413B
      Bayside, NY 11359
    • Manhattan (Mental Health Services Only)
      251 Lafayette St.
      New York, NY 10012
    • Middletown, Orange County
      2279 Goshen Turnpike
      Middletown, NY 10941
    • Staten Island
      1688 Victory Boulevard, Suite 101A
      Staten Island, NY 10314
What is the National Provider Network (NPN)?

The World Trade Center Health Program National Provider Network (NPN) provides care for WTC responders and survivors who live outside of the New York Metropolitan Area. The NPN was designed to allow convenient care near victims’ workplaces or residences. It also permits continuity of care in the event of a change in residence. If you live in an urban area, the NPN will try to find you care within 30 miles or less of your residence. If you live in a rural area, the NPN will try to find you care within 70 miles or less of your residence. For more information, including information on the location of local providers available to you through the NPN, contact the NPN tollfree at 877-498-2911. The NPN handbook can be found here.