WTC Health Program Information

WTC Health Program Information

In 2011, with the passage of the Zadroga Act, the World Trade Center Health Program (WTC Health Program) was established to provide lifetime healthcare to everyone who suffers from the many diseases (including over 68 types of cancer) caused by breathing the toxic dust and fumes that hung in the air over lower Manhattan in the ten months after 9/11. This program delivers free medical monitoring and healthcare to survivors with a 9/11-related illness, including most breathing a digestive issue and dozens of different types of cancer. The covered by the WTC Health Program include first responders, construction and cleanup workers (on and off the pile), employees and workers, business owners, students, and residents in the Lower Manhattan area south of Houston Street.

To obtain benefits, however, you need to show Proof of Presence in the Exposure Zone between September 11, 2001, and July 31, 2002. You must also show that you have a medical condition, cancer, illness, or respiratory illness likely due to the exposure to toxins present in the air during that time.

Getting the benefits you deserve is not easy, however. While you attend medical visits, treatments, rehabilitation, and monitoring, you need someone on your side that can help you file the necessary paperwork (including at least two “proof of presence” affidavits) to be eligible for certification from the WTC Health Program that is necessary for lifetime healthcare.

At Hansen & Rosasco, LLP, our 9/11 attorneys have the experience and resources needed to help you through this complex application process. We dedicated our entire practice to assisting individuals in Lower Manhattan who were present during and the many months after 9/11. We stand behind them because they stood by us when our City needed them the most. From first responders to the workers and residents who returned to their jobs and apartments after 9/11, each one played an important role in New York’s recovery. We’re devoting to helping them now—when they need it most.

The Trauma of 9/11 Continues

On September 11, 2001, the country watched in horror at 8:45 that morning as the first plane hit the North WTC tower followed by a second plane eighteen minutes later crashing into the South Tower. The Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda (with fifteen of the nineteen hijackers from Saudi Arabia) coordinated these deadly terrorist attacks — the worst attacks on U.S. soil in American history. They resulted in nearly 3,000 fatalities that day, over 25,000 injuries, and hundreds of thousands sickened by the deadly environmental fallout and the long-term health consequences in the nearly 20 years since.

For many Americans, the trauma of 9/11 marked the beginning of toxic exposure with the devastating health consequences that has lasted for decades. As Lower Manhattan began to rebuild, downtown residents faced constant visual reminders of the attacks and the devastation they suffered — the acrid air, the dust that turned up everywhere for years, and the immediate “World Trade Center cough” that began right away. And now, 20 years later, residents, students, employees, and responders anywhere within a mile and a half of Ground Zero, are still being diagnosed with 9/11 illnesses and cancers.

Since then, over 100,000 people received diagnoses of a 9/11 related illness, cancer, or medical condition. These people lived and worked in the community. They hauled debris away and cleaned up the city. They even played with their children in parks and took them to school, all in an effort to try to get back to normal. They did this because they are tough New Yorkers, and because the federal health and safety officials said it was safe to breathe the air after 9/11. This is an EPA lie.

Over 2,500 contaminants swirled around in the air in the months following the attack. This dust cloud contained glass, concrete powder, asbestos, and silica. In addition, jet fuel burned for weeks, further contaminating the air in the city. Now, tens of thousands downtown on 9/11 and the year after suffer from lung damage, asthma, sarcoidosis, digestive diseases, and cancer.

Who the WTC Health Program Serves

When you become a member of the WTC Health Program, you are a part of the many people who are recognized to have been downtown or went back despite the false promise by the EPA that the air was safe to breathe. While Health Program members come from all backgrounds and cultures, they share one important thing: they were all present in the Exposure Zone during the days and months after 9/11. Tens of thousands of these individuals now all have a serious and often debilitating 9/11-related illness, such as cancer, GERD, asthma, or PTSD.

What is the Exposure Zone? The Exposure Zone includes the section of Downtown Brooklyn known as Brooklyn Heights. It also includes all of Lower Manhattan that is south of Houston Street. If you present in this area on 9/11 or lived, worked, or went to school in this area in the year that followed 9/11, you most likely qualify for benefits through the WTC Health Programs.

The WTC Health Program serves four different types of members, including:

  • FDNY responders. Members of the Fire Department of New York City that participated in at least one day in the recovery and rescue efforts can obtain membership in the WTC Health Program.
  • General responders. Any worker or volunteer who provided services and support during 9/11 and the aftermath. This includes construction workers who worked in cleanup or demolition, as well as police officers who set the perimeter or was otherwise present in the downtown area or worked at Fresh Kills. It also includes volunteers who helped remove debris or offered support, such as the Bucket Brigade, observed meals, provided medical care, or otherwise aided or assisted the first responders. Volunteers and others from outside of New York, the National Guard, members of churches or other faith groups are also part of this group.
  • NYC survivors. Any person who was present during 9/11 and subsequent months may receive healthcare services and support from the WTC Health Program. This includes students, office and other area workers, employees, business owners, and residents. Even children who attended daycare in the Exposure Zone qualify for a lifetime of free medical monitoring and healthcare for 9/11-related illnesses and cancers.
  • Pentagon/Shanksville, PA responders. Any responder, recovery, or cleanup worker, as well as volunteers in the area of the Pentagon or near Shanksville, PA may qualify for WTC Health Program benefits.

Since 2011, over 100,000 people have enrolled in the WTC Health Program. Of those 78,534 are responders and 25,484 are survivors. Why are there so few survivors registered? Many survivors do not realize that they qualify for benefits and compensation. They mistakenly believe that the program is just for those first responders, such as FDNY and NYPD officers. However, the WTC Health Program is there to serve ALL survivors — the hundreds of thousands of people who lived and worked downtown on and after 9/11.

To determine if you may qualify for health benefits and medical monitoring, it is important to speak to one of our experienced 9/11 attorneys at Hansen & Rosasco, LLP. Do not worry about depleting funds from first responders. These programs are now 100% funded, so you can get the benefits you deserve without worry.

What Does the WTC Health Program Provide?

The World Trade Center Health Program provides members with medical and mental health services, and monitoring at no cost. Members can access care at any of the Clinical Centers of Excellence in New York or New Jersey. There are seven Centers including ones in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island, Piscataway, Suffolk County, Nassau County, and Queens. Newly enrolled members can go to Bellevue Hospital, Elmhurst Hospital, Governor Hospital, or a clinic on William Street. The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is also an in-network WTC Health Program provider. 

If you live outside the NYC metro area, do not worry. You can still access care through the Nationwide Provider Network and find a specialist, a physician, or hospital closer to home.

The WTC Health Program provides these medical services at no cost to members. This means that you can get care without paying co-payments, deductibles, or other out-of-pocket expenses for any certified 9/11 health-related condition. The program covers the cost fully whenever you use an affiliated healthcare provider and pharmacy. You must have your 9/11 cancer or other condition “certified” by the WTC Health Program before beginning to obtain full coverage and benefits.

Obtaining Pharmacy Benefits

When getting pharmacy benefits, survivors must first have their prescriptions billed to their primary insurance. Then they can bill the WTC Health Program. This is known as a “Coordination of Benefits.” Optum is the company that manages all WTC Health Program pharmacy benefits. It is a secondary payer. This means that your primary insurance will pay for your pharmacy benefits first. The WTC Health Program then covers any remaining costs.

WTC Health Program Covered Conditions

The World Trade Center Health Program identified the main types of illnesses, cancers, and medical conditions caused by 9/11. This list is constantly changing and expanding as more illnesses become identified.

What medical conditions and illnesses qualify for coverage?

Acute Traumatic Injury

  • Complex sprain
  • Burn
  • Head trauma
  • Eye injury
  • Fracture
  • Tendon tear
  • Other similar acute traumatic injuries

Aerodigestive Disorders

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD)
  • Chronic laryngitis
  • Chronic nasopharyngitis
  • Sleep apnea exacerbated by or related to another condition in the list of aerodigestive disorders
  • Chronic respiratory disorder due to fumes/vapors
  • Chronic rhinosinusitis
  • Interstitial lung diseases
  • Asthma
  • Chronic cough syndrome
  • Reactive airways dysfunction syndrome (RADS)
  • Upper airway hyperreactivity
  • New onset chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • WTC-exacerbated chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Cancers

  • Childhood Cancers
  • Digestive System
  • Blood and Lymphoid Tissue
  • Female Reproductive Organs
  • Female Breast
  • Head and Neck
  • Eye and Orbit
  • Respiratory System
  • Soft Tissue
  • Skin (Melanoma and non-Melanoma)
  • Urinary System
  • Rare Cancers
  • Thyroid
  • Mesothelioma

Mental Health Conditions

  • Acute stress disorder
  • Anxiety disorder (not otherwise specified)
  • Adjustment disorder
  • Dysthymic disorder
  • Depression (not otherwise specified)
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Substance abuse

Musculoskeletal Disorders

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Back pain

Even if you do not see your illness or respiratory condition listed, speak to our 9/11 law firm immediately. Many other types of illnesses and conditions still qualify for benefits. The WTC Health Program also covers pre-existing illnesses that progressed or worsened because of 9/11. 

We Handle WTC Health Program Claims

At Hansen & Rosasco, LLP, we handle all WTC Health Program claims for you to ensure that your application is properly prepared, submitted, and that you are accepted into the Program. We focus on the federal government and getting you approved, so you can focus on what matters most. 

Membership and certification in the right program are not easy to obtain without the help of a lawyer who works exclusively with September 11th VCF and WTC healthcare cases. In addition, the application process is often time-consuming. Even when you have a qualifying illness, cancer, or condition, you may find it difficult to prove your presence in the area. At Hansen & Rosasco, LLP, however, our 9/11 attorneys know how to gather and compile the evidence needed to get you the benefits you deserve. We will also guide you through the two separate programs that make-up the WTC Health Program: a responder program and a survivor program.

Here is how we can help you gain 9/11 health benefits and compensation:

Initial Consultation. We will meet with you to learn more about you and get to know your case. This will give us more insight into what programs you may qualify for, and how we can better serve you. We sit down to talk with you (or during the Covid19 crisis speak on the phone or teleconference) and hear more about your illness and how the WTC Health Program can best meet your needs. We talk about where you were during 9/11, and we learn how to best pursue your case.

Meet With Medical Experts. We then begin compiling the evidence needed to show that you suffered a 9/11-related illness. To do this, we may consult with medical experts and examine your medical records closely. This gives us an idea of how your illness or condition has progressed and what types of benefits and compensation you may need. We then check this against the list of approved medical conditions listed by the WTC Health Program.

Gather Proof of Presence. One of the most time-consuming parts of helping you get benefits from the WTC Health Program is gathering “Proof of Presence.“ Proof of Presence is the evidence needed to show that you were present in the Exposure Zone. This can take a considerable amount of time.

To do this, we will need to examine and produce many documents, including:

  • Rent or mortgage payment receipts
  • Utility bill receipts
  • Landlord or neighbor testimony as sworn affidavits
  • School transcripts
  • Employment records or pay stubs
  • Any other documents that relate to you being downtown NYC on or after 9/11

This process takes time and special knowledge of all the 9/11 laws and benefits that may help you. Your time is better spent doing the things you love and caring for yourself during this time. Let us handle the government paperwork and red tape for you. We will stand by you and protect you during this time.

What is the WTCHP?

The Zadroga Act of 2010 established the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) (in addition to the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund). When the WTCHP was reauthorized by Congress in 2015, it stated that those who were exposed to dust and toxins on September 11, 2001 and the months following would receive medical monitoring and treatment services for both physical and mental 9/11-related injuries through 2090, at no cost to the responder or survivor (e.g., area resident, Lower Manhattan worker, or student). 

The Zadroga Reauthorization Act guarantees 9/11 responders, cleanup and recovery workers, and office workers and residents of Lower Manhattan free lifetime medical care for 9/11-related conditions at world-class hospitals and other health institutions. 

Free Lifetime Medical Care for 9/11 Victims

We Handle WTCHP Applications and VCF Claims

Oftentimes, when potential clients call Hansen & Rosasco, LLP for information, they are just as concerned about the lifetime WTCHP benefits as they are about 9/11 Victim Compensation. For this reason, our law firm files WTCHP applications as a courtesy to our clients, at no cost to them. 

The WTC Health Program consists of a Responder Program (for rescue and recovery workers and volunteers, which include more than 15,000 New York City firefighters) and a Survivor Program (for those who lived, worked, or went to school in Lower Manhattan on 9/11). See the WTCHP applications for NYC Responders, FDNY Responders, NYC Survivors, and Pentagon/Shanksville Responders here. If you have questions about enrolling in the WTC Health Program, please call us today at 1-855-WTC-INFO.

WTCHP for New York City Responders Includes:

  • An individual, including current and former Federal employees, who worked or volunteered onsite in rescue, recovery, demolition, debris cleanup or related support services in Lower Manhattan (south of Canal St.), the Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island, or the barge loading piers;
  • A member of the Police Department of New York City (active or retired) or a member of the Port Authority Police of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (active or retired) who participated onsite in rescue, recovery, debris cleanup, or related services in Lower Manhattan (south of Canal St.), including Ground Zero, the Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island, or the barge loading piers;
  • An employee of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York City involved in the examination and handling of human remains from the World Trade Center attacks, or other morgue worker who performed similar post-September 11 functions for such Office staff;
  • A worker in the Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation Tunnel;
  • A vehicle-maintenance worker who was exposed to debris from the former World Trade Center site while retrieving, driving, cleaning, repairing, and maintaining vehicles contaminated by airborne toxins from the September 11th terrorist attacks.

WTCHP for the Fire Department of the City of New York Includes:

  • A member of the Fire Department of New York City (fire or emergency personnel, active or retired) who participated at least one day in the rescue and recovery effort at any of the former World Trade Center sites (including Ground Zero, the Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island, and the New York City Chief Medical Examiner’s Office), or;
  • A surviving immediate family member of a member of the Fire Department of New York City (whether fire or emergency personnel, active or retired) who was killed at the World Trade Center site on September 11, 2001, if the family member received any treatment for a WTC-related mental health condition on or before September 1, 2008.

WTCHP for New York City Survivors Includes:

  • A person who was present in the NYC “Exposure Zone” in the dust or dust cloud on September 11, 2001;
  • A person who worked, lived, or attended school, child care, or adult day care in the NYC “Crash Site Area” for at least four days during the four-month period beginning September 11, 2001, and ending on January 10, 2002, or at least 30 days during the 11 months beginning September 11, 2001 and ending on July 31, 2002;
  • Any person who worked as a cleanup worker or performed maintenance work in the NYC “Disaster Area” during the four months starting September 11, 2001, and ending on January 10, 2002;
  • A person who had a lease for a residence or bought a residence in the NYC “Exposure Zone” and who lived in that residence during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, and ending on May 30, 2002;
  • A person whose place of employment – At any time during the period beginning on September 11, 2001, and ending on May 30, 2002, was in the “New York City Disaster Area

WTCHP for Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania Responders

Includes any of the following who took part in the rescue, recovery, demolition, debris cleanup, or other related services after the terrorist-related air crashes on September 11, 2001, at the Pentagon in Arlington, VA, or the passenger-jet crash site in Shanksville, PA.

  • Fire department employees (fire and emergency personnel, active or retired)
  • Police department employees (active or retired)
  • Recovery or cleanup workers and contractors
  • Volunteers (including members of the Red Cross)

 

Where Can I Get 9/11 WTC Health Program Medical Treatment

There are seven Clinical Centers of Excellence (CCEs) in the New York metropolitan area. Many of these clinics have multiple locations throughout New York and New Jersey, including locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island, Nassau County, Suffolk County and Piscataway, NJ. For responders living outside this NYC/NJ area, the “Nationwide Provider Network” has physicians across the country that are able to provide care.

We Help the Heroes Who Helped Us

Current and Retired FDNY Employees

They are seen at the Bureau of Health Services office in Brooklyn or may be referred to satellite locations. For FDNY members living outside this NYC/NJ area, the Nationwide Provider Network has physicians across the country who are able to provide care.

So many people were heroes in the hours, days, and months that followed 9/11. First responders, volunteers who cleaned up debris, employees who bravely went back to work, business owners who cleaned the dust off their merchandise and opened back up, students who went back to classes, and all residents who lived amidst the chaos. You all helped New York recover after those deadly attacks and get back on its feet. Now, you need help, and we are here to help you.

Newly enrolled “survivors” 

Survivors in the New York metropolitan area must go to the Bellevue Hospital, Elmhurst Hospital, Governor Hospital, or a clinic on William Street. For survivors living outside the NYC/NJ metro area, the Nationwide Provider Network has physicians across the country who will provide care. 

If you suffer from cancer, a chronic illness, or debilitating respiratory condition, a 9/11 lawyer at Hansen & Rosasco, LLP can help. We help the heroes who helped us during those dark times. We stand proudly by all 9/11 survivors and their families. You can reach us at (855) 353-4907 or through our confidential contact page.

Hansen & Rosasco - 9/11 Cancer Claim

If you have questions about the Zadroga Act or enrolling in the WTC Health Program, please call us today at 800-887-7299 or fill out a contact form here.

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