The impact of the September 11th attacks on victims, first responders, and recovery workers takes many forms. Physical injuries, illnesses, and conditions are the most visible and common ways in which the trauma of 9/11 manifests itself among survivors. But the psychological impact of that horrible day and its aftermath – including such conditions as PTSD, anxiety, and major depressive order – is just as real and can be just as devastating.

Physical Injury Required to Obtain 9/11 Victim Compensation

However, the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) was established to compensate victims for their 9/11-related physical injuries and the economic losses that victims incur as a result. As set forth in the VCF’s Policies and Procedures:

“To be eligible for compensation, the Zadroga Act requires an individual to have suffered “physical harm or death as a result of” one of the terrorist-related aircraft crashes of September 11, 2001 or debris removal. Generally, the VCF provides compensation for the physical injuries and conditions that the WTC Health Program has found to be related to 9/11 and therefore are on the list of conditions established by the WTC Health Program.”

Put simply, if you did not experience any physical injury or condition as a result of the 9/11 attacks, but you only experienced emotional or mental harm, you are not eligible for compensation by the VCF. As the VCF explains:

“When Congress first created the VCF in 2001, it directed that only victims who have a “physical injury” can be eligible for the VCF, and then-Special Master Ken Feinberg interpreted that phrase to mean “a physical injury to the body,” thus excluding claims for psychological conditions. Congress has not directed otherwise, and the Reauthorized Zadroga Act explicitly prohibits the VCF from compensating for Mental Health Conditions. As a result, the VCF is not able to accept claims solely for psychological conditions. This means that claims for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder are not eligible for compensation in the VCF.”

Help for Psychological Issues May Be Available Through the WTC Health Program

While solely psychological conditions without accompanying physical injuries preclude an award of compensation from the VCF, that does not mean that help is unavailable for those struggling with 9/11-related mental illness. The WTC Health Program provides options for treatment of psychological conditions. For information about whether you may be eligible for WTC Health Program treatment for emotional or mental harms, you may contact them by phone at 1-888-WTC-HP4U (1-888- 982-4748), or on the web at www.cdc.gov/wtc/.

If you are facing psychological or emotional distress related to September 11th and its aftermath, please seek professional help. If you have questions about how to get that help or about whether you may be eligible for 9/11 victim compensation, please contact the experienced 9/11 attorneys at Turley, Hansen & Rosasco. We are the only law firm in the nation that focuses exclusively on representing victims, first responders, and recovery workers for their 9/11 related illnesses and injuries. Please call us at 1-855-WTC-INFO (982-4636) or fill out our contact form to schedule a free claim review today. We look forward to assisting you and your family.