The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) and the Zadroga Act which established it has been a life-saving godsend for thousands of victims, first responders, recovery workers and their families who have suffered serious illnesses, injuries, or death as a result of that terrible day. Applying for Zadroga Act compensation can be complicated, and you have to meet specific criteria in order to be eligible. One of those criteria is having a condition that has been certified as being “9/11-related.” But what exactly does that mean and how is this critical determination made?
To be eligible for compensation from the VCF, you must have a physical injury or condition caused by the 9/11 attacks, or the rescue and recovery efforts or debris removal efforts that took place in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. At least one of the claimed injuries or conditions must be a “WTC-Related Physical Health Condition.” The VCF determines whether a condition is a WTC-Related Physical Health Condition based on the evidence presented with your claim.
Even if you have one of the listed conditions, you still need to have a doctor or other medical professional determine that your physical injury or condition is related to your 9/11 exposure. There are two ways to satisfy this requirement:
- Your condition has been certified for treatment by the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP). If your physical injury or condition is certified for treatment by the WTCHP, the VCF will generally find the condition eligible subject to confirmation that other elements of eligibility, including presence at the site, are documented.
- Your condition was treated by your private physician and verified through the VCF’s Private Physician process. It is important to note that this process is available only in limited circumstances. Specifically:
- Deceased victims who were not treated by the WTCHP for the condition that caused the death;
- Individuals who are not able to go to a WTCHP center to have their condition evaluated and certified for treatment, without suffering significant hardship.
Additionally, you must have received medical treatment for your physical injury or condition within a reasonable time after discovering it and have contemporaneous medical records verifying the injury or condition to be eligible for compensation. What constitutes a “reasonable time” is determined on a case-by-case basis. There are also complicated and specific minimum and maximum timeframes between an individual’s 9/11 exposure and the onset of symptoms related to an eligible physical injury or condition.
Turley Hansen Can Help You Get the WTCHP Treatment You Need
Making sure that your claim for 9/11 victim compensation is complete and satisfies all necessary requirements for eligibility is just one of the ways the WTC lawyers at Turley, Hansen & Rosasco can help you. We have been fighting for 9/11 victims since shortly after the Towers fell. We have helped thousands of 9/11 victims and responders obtain millions of dollars in compensation. Please call us today at 1-855-WTC-INFO (1-855-982-4636) or fill out our contact form to arrange for your free 9/11 claim evaluation. We look forward to assisting you.