9/11 Health and Compensation Act (FAQ)

The James L. Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act (PDF), signed into law by President Obama in early 2011, establishes the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program. It ensures that those affected by 9/11 continue to receive monitoring and treatment services for 9/11-related health problems through at least 2015.

Private insurance doesn’t pay for work-related illness, so people currently being treated for 9/11-related health conditions who got sick because they worked at the WTC site do not have coverage.

In addition, many of the people being treated by the programs currently are under-insured, or don’t have any insurance at all.

It shouldn’t. Worker’s compensation and insurance must be used before federal funds go to 9/11 health care.

No. While the New York/New Jersey area had the largest number of people affected, people from all over the country came to New York to help in the rescue and recovery effort. Ten thousand (10,000) WTC Health Registry enrollees (nearly 15% of the total) live outside the New York/New Jersey area. In fact, WTC Health Registry enrollees live in almost every Congressional district, reflecting the breadth of the nation’s emergency response to the terrorist attacks, as well as the re-location of many Americans who were directly exposed to the WTC collapse. Find more information (PDF).

The WTC Health Program establishes a nationwide network of providers to monitor and treat BOTH responders and survivors no matter where they live now.

Anyone currently enrolled in one of the federally funded WTC programs—nearly 60,000 people—is eligible for the WTC Health Program. All these individuals have met certain criteria establishing that they were exposed to the WTC disaster.

As many as 25,000 additional responders and 25,000 additional survivors also are eligible provided they meet the specific requirements established by the legislation. For example, only survivors who lived, worked or went to school within 1.5 miles of the WTC site during a defined time period are eligible. However, the legislation also includes a review process so people with 9/11-related health problems who don't meet the eligibility criteria can also receive monitoring and treatment.

The WTC Health Program provides screening and medical treatment for 9/11-related health conditions which research suggests may be related to WTC exposure, or which may have been aggravated by WTC exposure. These conditions include aerodigestive disorders, such as chronic cough, asthma, sinusitis, gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD), sleep apnea and many different types of cancer, mental health problems, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and depression and other health problems, such as lower back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome.

In addition, the 9/11 health legislation assures continued funding for the WTC Health Registry which tracks the health of more than 71,000 people exposed to the WTC disaster. Since it was established by the federal government and the New York City Department of Health in 2003, the Registry has completed four health surveys of enrollees, and more targeted surveys, such as for enrollees who have reported auto-immune disease and asthma.

Yes, New York City will pay 10% of the program’s cost.

The federal September 11th Victim Compensation Fund compensated people who lost loved ones or were injured in the 9/11 attacks for their economic losses. In exchange, the claimants agreed not to file lawsuits against the government or airlines for their loss. However, the Fund closed in 2003, well before many people with 9/11-related health conditions got sick.

Reopening the Victim Compensation Fund allows people who became physically ill after the Fund closed to seek compensation for their financial losses.

Yes. By law, WTC-exposed individuals who plan to file a claim with the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and who knew (or reasonably should have known) that they had a WTC-related physical health condition as of October 3, 2011 were required to register by October 3, 2013. Special circumstances apply to people with WTC-related cancer who have longer to register.

WTC-exposed individuals who didn’t know as of October 3, 2011 that they had a physical health condition related to their exposure must register within 2 years of the date they learned or reasonably should have known this information for the first time.

As long as you register within the relevant two-year window, you can submit your eligibility form online at any time through October 3, 2016. More information