Why are psychological conditions covered by the World Trade Center Health Program but not the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund?
When the original 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund was debated in Congress in 2001, the issue of whether or not to cover psychological conditions, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression and similar conditions, was hotly debated.
At the end of this debate, members of Congress made the decision to provide victim compensation only for physical injuries that happened as a result on the 9/11 attacks. When the Zadroga Act was proposed in 2010 – which reopened the VCF to cover the first responders and anyone else present in lower Manhattan (or anywhere debris was handled) – the issue of whether or not to provide compensation for PTSD was raised again, and again the members of Congress made the legislative decision not to provide compensation for PTSD or similar psychological injuries. This limit or exclusion of PTSD was written into the VCF, as re-opened by the Zadroga Act of 2010, with the law’s requirement that compensation would be made only for “physical injuries.”
After the Zadroga Act was passed in 2010, federal hearings were held and the issue of including PTSD and related conditions was debated. The attorneys at Turley Hansen argued and testified on behalf of the 9/11 victims that PTSD and similar psychological conditions should be included, but the Special Master at the time stated that she was bound by the language of the actual law and was not permitted to award compensaiton for PTSD.
Perhaps as part of a compromise in Congress, the Zadroga Act did provide for health care and treatment for non-physical conditions such as PTSD.
Should you have questions about medical care or an award from the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, please call us at 1- 800-887-7299.