9/11 VCF Cuts: No Impact on WTC Health Program
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (9/11 VCF) funding crisis has left many 9/11 victims concerned about their 9/11 VCF claims, and their status with the World Trade Center Health Program (WTC Health Program).
With time running out and funds dwindling, the 9/11 VCF is in crisis. The Special Master recently announced 50 to 70% funding cuts in compensation, citing rapidly rising numbers of 9/11-related cancers and deaths. The only hope of resolving the 9/11 VCF crisis the currently pending legislation, the Never Forget the Heroes Act, which would rollback the recently announced cuts, extend the 9/11 VCF indefinitely, and return to paying 9/11 victims what they deserve in full.
However, while the 9/11 VCF is unfortunately in crisis, the WTC Health Program is not. The WTC Health Program is not impacted by the 9/11 VCF funding crisis, and is fully funded through 2090. The goal of the Never Forget the Heroes Act is to bring the 9/11 VCF in line with the WTC Health Program by extending the 9/11 VCF deadline through 2090 as well.
The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, which was reauthorized in 2015 as part of the Congressional omnibus budget, provided for the WTC Health Program and reopened the 9/11 VCF. The World Trade Center Health Program, administered by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, provides free medical, monitoring and treatment. The 9/11 VCF provides compensation to 9/11 victims suffering from eligible physical conditions. The WTC Health Program and 9/11 VCF are separate and distinct federal government benefit programs, but are related in that the 9/11 VCF requires WTC Health Program Certification of conditions in order to be eligible for compensation (with limited exception).
Individuals enrolled in the WTC Health Program should not expect any interruptions in their treatment. As of December 2018, the WTC Health Program provided care for 74,107 responders and 18,921 survivors. If you were in Lower Manhattan, Fresh Kills Landfill, or anywhere along the routes of debris removal from 9/11/01 to 5/30/02, you may be eligible for benefits from the WTC Health Program and/or for compensation from the 9/11 VCF.