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What are the Eligible Conditions, Illnesses, and Injuries for a VCF Claim?

If you were a first responder or survivor of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, you may have sustained acute traumatic injuries in the immediate aftermath or been diagnosed with cancer or respiratory ailments years later as a result of exposure to the toxic dust. Thousands of responders and survivors have developed various conditions and cancers linked back to their presence at Ground Zero or the surrounding area. 

The September 11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) recognizes numerous health conditions for which you may receive compensation. Since VCF’s creation in 2010, additional conditions and forms of cancer were recognized as 9/11-related on four occasions.  Presently, all forms of cancer and certain non-cancerous conditions are eligible for financial compensation from the VCF.  If you have been diagnosed with any form of cancer after 9/11, or any of the other eligible conditions, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. 

Obtaining Certification from the WTC Health Program 

To be awarded compensation by the VCF, your cancer or non-cancerous condition needs to first be certified from the World Trade Center Health Program (WTC Health Program). The WTC Health Program provides medical monitoring and health treatment to those affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Although the VCF and WTC Health Program are separate entities and have different eligibility criteria, the VCF cannot review your claim or award compensation unless you have received a WTC Health Program certification letter. 

9/11-Related Cancers Eligible for VCF Compensation

All forms of cancer are eligible for compensation from the VCF and medical treatment through the WTC Health Program. Since tumors and cancers can take years to develop after exposure to carcinogens, there are also minimum latency periods assigned to each specific type of cancer. The most common minimum latency period is four years, meaning that if you were exposed to the NYC Exposure Zone on 9/11, the earliest date your cancer could have been diagnosed is September 11, 2005.  However, there are forms of cancer with earlier minimum latency periods, so it is important to fully understand the rule.

Some of the more common forms of 9/11-related cancers include:

  • Blood and Lymphoid Tissue Cancers (Leukemia, Lymphoma, Hodgkin’s)
  • Breast Cancer
  • Head and Neck Cancers
  • Lung Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Esophageal Cancer
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Skin Cancers (Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, and Melanoma)
  • Thyroid Cancer
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Mesothelioma
  • Rare Cancers

Other Injuries Eligible for VCF Compensation

The non-cancerous eligible conditions include three very broad groups of medical disorders: Aerodigestive Disorders, Acute Traumatic Injuries, and Musculoskeletal Disorders.  

The first group combines airway disorders and digestive disorders into Aerodigestive Disorders.  Aerodigestive Disorders are a group of medical conditions that affect breathing airways like your lungs and sinuses, and upper digestive tract like your esophagus.  

Examples of the specific conditions that fall within Aerodigestive Disorders include: Asthma, COPD, Emphysema, Interstitial Lung Disease, Chronic Rhinosinusitis, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disorder (GERD), and Sleep Apnea.

Acute Traumatic Injuries cover physical damages caused by falling debris on 9/11 itself as well as the hazard work of debris removal thereafter.  Included in this group are injuries like fractured or broken bones, burns, complex sprains and head trauma.

Musculoskeletal Disorders are chronic or recurring disorders of the bone and muscle systems in your body caused by heavy lifting or the repetitive physical strain of debris removal.  Conditions that fall within this group are Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Low Back Pain.    

While many survivors and responders have suffered mental health conditions as a result of 9/11, including PTSD and depression, only physical conditions like Cancers and Aerodigestive Disorders are eligible for financial compensation from the VCF.  However, medical treatment for mental health conditions is available through the WTC Health Program.

Contact a New York City 9/11 VCF Attorney

If you have been diagnosed with any form of cancer after 9/11, or any other non-cancerous eligible condition as a result of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, you may be entitled to receive medical care from the WTC Health Program and financial compensation from the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). Navigating the WTC Health Program and the VCF regulations can be confusing, frustrating and complicated. It is best to have an attorney on your side who can fight for your rights and ensure that you receive the medical treatment and maximum monetary compensation to which you are entitled.

The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has represented claimants and their families in 9/11 VCF claims for over a decade. For a free consultation, contact us today. 

John P. Dearie

John P. Dearie is a graduate of Regis High School, The University of Notre Dame, and St. John’s University School of Law. After working at a corporate law firm in New York City for two years following law school graduation, he joined The Dearie Law Firm in 2011.

John represents injured New Yorkers in third-party negligence litigations, as well as first responders, workers, volunteers and residents in claims to the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.