New York Attorney Advises 9/11 Victims about the World Trade Center Health Program
Understanding Who Is Served by the WTC Health Program
The WTC Health Program provides no-cost medical monitoring and treatment for people with diagnosed and potential health conditions related to the 9/11 attacks. It was established by the Zadroga Act and serves eligible responders and volunteers who provided rescue, recovery and cleanup services at Ground Zero, as well as survivors who lived, worked or attended school in the area. The Marcowitz Law Firm, PLLC in Manhattan and Nyack assists individuals seeking to apply for the program. You can apply for the WTC Health Program as either a responder or an NYC survivor. To qualify as a responder, you must have done one of the following on September 11, 2001, or the ensuing months:
- Responded as New York City firefighter to the World Trade Center, Staten Island landfill, or the New York City Chief Medical Examiner’s Office
- Responded as any other emergency worker (police officer, firefighter) to the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, or the crash site of Flight 93 near Shanksville, Pa.
- Served as a volunteer (Red Cross, Salvation Army, etc.) at any of the three affected sites
- Assisted with the recovery, demolition, and cleanup at any of the affected sites (federal employees, medical examiners, Port Authority workers, vehicle maintenance workers, sanitation workers)
The health program also is open to surviving immediate family members of any member of the Fire Department of New York who was killed at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The family member must have received treatment for a health condition related to the attacks on or before September 1, 2008.
People qualify as survivors if they were present within the New York City Disaster Area during a particular span of time.
The NYC Disaster area covers lower Manhattan south of Houston Street (areas such as SoHo, Chinatown, the Lower East Side, Greenwich Village, Bowling Green, and Battery Park City).
It also includes parts of downtown Brooklyn that fall within a 1.5-mile radius of the former World Trade Center (Brooklyn Heights west of Cadman Plaza, for instance). For a detailed map, please click here.
The following categories can qualify you as an NYC survivor:
- You lived or worked within the NYC Disaster Area for at least four days from September 11, 2001, and January 10, 2002; or at least 30 days from September 11, 2001, through July 31, 2002.
- You attended school, child care, or any adult or child day care facility within the disaster area during these same dates.
- You performed maintenance work or did cleanup work in the disaster area from September 11, 2001, through January 10, 2002.
- You were in the dust or dust cloud in the disaster area on September 11, 2001.
- Your place of employment was located in the disaster area at any time from September 11, 2001, through May 31, 2003.
- Your workplace was eligible to receive a grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation WTC Small Firms Attraction and Retention Act program or other government incentive program designed to revitalize the economy in lower Manhattan after the attacks.
How does the WTC Health Program Help Individuals Affected by 9/11 Illnesses?
The WTC Health Program pays for medical care, testing and prescription drugs for all certified conditions, including those that are ongoing. Members do not have to pay co-payments, deductibles or other out-of-pocket expenses for medically necessary treatment of certified 9/11 illnesses. Attorney Eddie Marcowitz can help you pursue program benefits and will see that you provide all the necessary information to maximize your changes of approval.
Where Can Survivors and First Responders Go to Get an Exam?
There are numerous Clinical Centers of Excellence in the New York metropolitan area that serve WTCHP beneficiaries. People elsewhere in the country can receive care through the Nationwide Provider Network.
What is the Health Evaluation Process for Patients Covered by WTCHP?
Once you are enrolled, you will be sent information about how to schedule an initial health evaluation. The evaluation will take two to four hours and will include taking various tests and providing information about your health. You can prepare for the evaluation by writing down your symptoms, questions for the medical provider and medications you are taking ahead of time.
Regardless of whether you’re a responder or an NYC survivor, you must have symptoms of a physical or mental health condition that has been determined to be caused by exposure to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. (You don’t have to prove that your illness is connected to the attacks.)
These conditions include, for example:
- Acute traumatic injury (head trauma, burns, fractures)
- Aerodigestive disorders (asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, gastroesophageal reflux disorder, interstitial lung diseases)
- Mental health conditions (anxiety disorder, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, substance abuse)
- Musculoskeletal disorders among first responders (carpal tunnel syndrome, low back pain
Please click here for a full list of covered conditions.
The World Trade Center Health Program costs nothing for members who use healthcare providers and pharmacies within its network. All treatment, medication, and monitoring are free.
Getting your WTC Health Program Claim Approved
Similar to registering for the Zadroga Act September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, you’ll need to fill out an application and provide proof of your location or activity during the relevant time period. This documentation might include:
- Employment records such as a work roster or pay stub
- A lease or utility bill
- Attendance records at a school or day-care facility
Once you’ve been determined to be eligible and enrolled, you’ll have an initial appointment at a WTC Health Program clinic. There, a doctor affiliated with the program will evaluate your condition and medical needs.
How Is the WTC Health Program Different from a Zadroga Act Claim?
The Zadroga Act passed by Congress authorized the WTC Health Program as well as the Victims Compensation Fund. The WTC Health Program provides healthcare services to eligible members. A VCF claim provides financial compensation for medical treatment, pain and suffering, lost income and other damages to victims of 9/11-related medical conditions and family members of those who died.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. I was in an attack zone during or after 9/11, but don’t have an associated illness or symptoms. Can I still get free health monitoring?
A. No. At the moment, only those who are currently suffering from a recognized illness or symptoms are eligible for WTCHP services.
Q. Which cancers may be associated with harmful airborne particles related to the attack?
A. Particles in the air near the 9/11 site may be associated with a number of cancers, including cancers of the skin, prostate, thyroid, lungs, kidneys, bladder, tonsils and more.
Q. Does the WTCHP program replace my current insurance?
A. It will only cover costs that are associated with 9/11.
Contact a New York Personal Injury Attorney for Help with Your Claim
At The Marcowitz Law Firm, PLLC, with offices in Manhattan and Nyack, Attorney Eddie Marcowitz assists people with 9/11-related health conditions who seek inclusion within the World Trade Center Health Program. To schedule a free consultation, call our firm at 718-529-4040 or contact us online.