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

If you or a loved one suffered an injury or illness related to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, there are two important programs you should be familiar with — The World Trade Center Health Program (WTC Health Program) and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). But it’s important to understand that they are not the same — VCF and WTC Health Program are separate and distinct entities. Each provides different kinds of services and benefits to 9/11 survivors and responders. 

While the VCF provides financial compensation to those who suffered illness, injury, or death as a result of the 9/11 terror attacks, the WTC Health Program provides medical monitoring and treatment for eligible individuals. As separate entities, both programs have their own set of criteria and eligibility requirements. For example, being enrolled in the WTC Health Program and receiving treatment through their network does not mean that you have registered or submitted a claim for financial compensation to the VCF. 

The WTC Health Program Eligibility

The World Trade Center Health Program is a federal program administered through the CDC. It provides medical monitoring and treatment for eligible responders, survivors, office workers, residents and students, including:

  • Con Ed
  • FDNY 
  • NYPD
  • Rescue, recovery, clean-up or related support service workers and volunteers
  • Port Authority Police Department (PAPD)
  • Union workers
  • Employees of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of NYC
  • Morgue workers
  • MTA New York City Transit Authority workers
  • Anyone who lived, worked or attended school in the NYC disaster area 

In addition to providing medical monitoring and treatment to those who were in the NYC Exposure Zone, the WTC Health Program is also available to those who were present at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania sites. 

WTC Health Program Covered Conditions

The WTC Health Program provides treatment for an extensive list of physical and mental conditions, though only physical conditions are eligible for compensation from the VCF. Eligible conditions include all forms of cancer, respiratory conditions (i.e., asthma, COPD, chronic bronchitis, interstitial lung disease), aerodigestive conditions (i.e., chronic sinusitis, rhinitis, laryngitis), and acute traumatic injuries.  

There are WTC Health Program clinic locations throughout the NYC Tri-State area, as well as around the country. The Clinical Centers of Excellence provide care for those in the New York metro area, and the Nationwide Provider Network is available to those living outside of the New York City region.         

September 11th Victim Compensation Fund

Administered through the United States Department of Justice, the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund is separate from the WTC Health Program and does not provide medical treatment.  Rather, the VCF is a federal fund established to provide financial compensation for individuals, and the families of deceased individuals, who have suffered illness, cancer, injury, or death as a result of the 9/11 terror attacks. The VCF provides compensation for economic (lost earnings) and non-economic (pain and suffering) damages incurred by responders, survivors, volunteers, and those who lived or worked in the area.

Again, it is important to note that even if you are receiving medical care through the WTC Health Program, that does not mean you are registered for financial compensation from the VCF. While the two programs are separate, in order to submit a VCF claim for financial compensation, you must first have your eligible conditions certified by the WTC Health Program. The VCF cannot review your claim until you have received a WTC Health Program certification letter. 

Contact a New York City 9/11 VCF Attorney

If you have been diagnosed with a 9/11-related medical condition or cancer 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 VCF. Navigating the WTC Health Program and the VCF regulations can be extremely complex. 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, call 1-800-2-DEARIE.

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.