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.

Why can't people with 9/11-related health conditions use their insurance if they're sick?

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.

But if people are receiving Workers Compensation or they do have insurance, why should tax dollars be used to fund WTC treatment?

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

What about those affected who are outside the NY metropolitan area? Isn't the 9/11 health legislation only for New York area residents?

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. Enrollee population throughout the United States (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.

Who is eligible for the WTC Health Program?

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. For more information on eligibility visit How To Apply.

What will the WTC Health Program cover?

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. For a complete list of covered conditions visit the WTC Health Program’s FAQ page.

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.

Will New York City help pay for the WTC Health Program?

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

Why was it important to reopen the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund?

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 allow people who became physically ill after the Fund closed to seek compensation for their financial losses.

The signing of the “Never Forget the Heroes, James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act” in July 2019, fully funded the VCF to pay all eligible claims and extended the claim filing deadline to October 1, 2090. The enactment of this new law is a testament to the responders, survivors, and advocates who worked tirelessly to secure its passage, and in turn, our ability to continue our vital work.

Is there a deadline to register for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund?

There are two deadlines associated with filing a VCF Claim: A Registration Deadline and a Claim Filing Deadline.

Registration is not the same as filing a claim and the Registration Deadline is not the same for everyone. It varies according to individual circumstances:

You are only required to register with the VCF by July 29, 2021, if you meet the following circumstances:

  • You were certified by the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program for a 9/11-related physical health condition before July 29, 2019; or
  • You are registering to file a claim for an individual who you believe died of a 9/11-related physical health condition before July 29, 2019.

Individuals in other circumstances have different Registration Deadlines. To understand what is applicable to your situation, please see detailed information about the VCF’s Registration Deadlines.

The Claim Filing Deadline is the same for everyone: October 1, 2090.