Get Help Applying for the World Trade Center Health Program From Skilled 9/11 Zadroga Act Attorneys
Many heroes emerged on Sept. 11, 2001, and many of them were first-responders. Police officers, firefighters, EMS staff, Port Authority workers, and members of the military raced into danger in their effort to save lives, rushing into a cloud of toxic dust and debris. We lost about 3,000 people that tragic day in New York City, at the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, more than 400 of them first-responders.
To combat the onslaught of illnesses caused by being surrounded by the dust and debris at these sites, Congress passed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. The Zadroga Act is named after New York City Police Det. James Zadroga, who died in 2006 after developing a respiratory disease that doctors attributed to his work at ground zero. The Zadroga Act allotted funds for the World Trade Center Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.
If you need help obtaining benefits from the 9/11 World Trade Center Health Program or compensation from the Victim Compensation Fund, the skilled 9/11 attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP can help. At our New York law firm, many of us were personally touched by the tragic events of 9/11, and we promise to advocate vigorously for you and your family to get the Word Trade Center Health Program benefits you need. Contact us for a free consultation with our World Trade Center Health Program attorneys today to learn how we can help you.
What Is the World Trade Center Health Program?
The World Trade Center Health Program is a program set up to offer health monitoring and treatment for people whose health was negatively affected because of their presence at ground zero or their work at either of the other two 9/11 attack sites.
World Trade Center Health Program Benefits
The World Trade Center Health Program is not health insurance. The program will only pay for treatment of adverse health conditions and monitoring for 9/11-related health problems, such as mesothelioma, post-traumatic stress disorder, gastroesophageal reflux disease or World Trade Center cough. You must be certified as eligible for the program before you can participate. The program will pay for your treatment and maintenance as long as you:
- Use physicians, health-care providers, and pharmacists who are associated with the program.
- Seek care for a health condition that was previously certified as being related to 9/11.
- Make sure that the treatment you receive is authorized or approved by the program before the treatment is administered.
What Is World Trade Center Cough?
“World Trade Center cough” is a common name for an impairment of lung function due to inhaling toxic dust at ground zero. It’s characterized by a persistent cough and shortness of breath and often associated with bronchitis, asthma or gastroesophageal reflux disease.
WTC Health Program Covered Conditions: What Are 9/11-Related Illnesses?
The 9/11 WTC Health Program recognizes five distinct groupings of 9/11-related health complications. The list is not exhaustive, in fact, the program reserves the right to expand this list. They have done so previously and will continue to do as health professionals learn more about the terrible effects exposure to the contaminants from 9/11 have on the human body.
Acute Traumatic Injury
Most acute traumatic injuries that qualifying applicants suffered on 9/11 are healed by now. But there could be complications from these injuries that could qualify under the program, especially burns, eye injuries or brain injuries.
The category of aerodigestive disorders combines illnesses relating to breathing and the digestive system. Problems relating to breathing include asthma, laryngitis, chronic cough (World Trade Center cough), rhinosinusitis, interstitial lung disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asbestosis, and other respiratory disorders. Digestive disorders include GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disorder, digestive problems caused by cancer, and obstructions of the intestinal tract caused by unknowingly swallowing contaminants.
The WTC Health Program and Cancer
The WTC Health Program recognizes around 60 individual forms of cancer. The cancers that doctors have connected to exposure to 9/11 affect every system of the body. The 9/11 WTC Health Program has approved health-care coverage for various kinds of cancers in the blood and lymph tissue (such as leukemia and lymphoma), digestive system, eye, breast, female reproductive system, head and neck, respiratory system, skin, soft tissue, thyroid, and urinary system. Furthermore, the program covers treatment for mesothelioma, a type of cancer caused by significant exposure to asbestos, and other rare forms of cancer.
Mental Health Disorders
Many of the mental illnesses covered by the program are based on anxiety and depression, as might be anticipated. Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is also included in the list of 9/11-related medical conditions. Other covered psychological conditions include acute stress disorder, adjustment disorder, major depressive disorder, major anxiety disorder, dysthymia, panic attacks, and substance misuse or abuse disorder.
This category of approved conditions is the most restricted. The program will permit treatment for musculoskeletal problems only if you received medical care for the injury within two years of 9/11 and your work on the site caused the problem. The program restricts coverage under this category to people who responded to the World Trade Center, whether as a member of the FDNY or another general responder.
WTC Health Program Eligibility Requirements
Eligibility for the WTC Health Program is dependent upon whether you or your loved one can satisfy the program requirements. The classes are as follows:
- An FDNY responder is defined as a member of the New York City Fire Department or emergency services, whether active or now retired, who spent at least one day working on the rescue and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center. Recovery work also includes working at the Staten Island landfill site and the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office. Additionally, loved ones of members of the FDNY who were killed on 9/11 are eligible to receive WTC mental health program benefits provided that they received treatment for their condition before Sept. 1, 2008.
- General responders, whether paid or through volunteer services, assisted at ground zero in rescue and recovery efforts, demolition, debris removal or any position that provided support for those tasks. This category includes federal employees who participated in the recovery and cleanup of lower Manhattan (south of Canal Street) or assisted at the Staten Island landfill or the piers at which debris was loaded on barges. Additionally, members of the NYPD and Port Authority are considered general responders under the program. This group also includes members of the office of the Chief Medical Examiner and any employee who performed maintenance on vehicles that transported contaminated materials.
- An NYC survivor is an individual who found themselves in the World Trade Center or in the vicinity of the aftermath because of their job, residence, school, day care for children or day care for adults. Everyone who was in the area of the Twin Towers during the specified time period is covered. The vicinity of the aftermath encompasses lower Manhattan and spans from Houston Street south and southeast, stretching almost into downtown Brooklyn. This is the area that was covered by the dust cloud after the towers fell on 9/11. This category also includes all of those people employed to clean the streets and remove debris.
- The Pentagon/Shanksville, PA, category belongs to those heroes who participated in the rescue and recovery mission as a component of emergency services and response, volunteer, cleanup worker or another person who responded to the crash site at the Pentagon building and the site of the Flight 93 crash at Shanksville.
The WTC Health Program distinguishes each category from the others because each group has particular needs. The program can better meet those needs when the program applicants are grouped by the function they performed or the circumstances in which they found themselves.
Get Help With Your Claim From a 9/11 Compensation Lawyer
The World Trade Center Health Program allows applicants to have an attorney with the necessary experience in representing 9/11 victims to represent them throughout the application process. Parker Waichman’s World Trade Center Health Program attorneys have the requisite experience along with the skill, knowledge, determination, and resources to help you get the benefits to which you are entitled because of your 9/11-related illness. If you believe you should be covered but the program denied your application, then you have a right to appeal that decision. We can help you with the WTC Health Program appeals process as well.
As fellow New Yorkers with a national practice, we have represented many people who have suffered adverse health conditions from the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Our WTC Health Program lawyers promise to represent you and your family zealously so that you can focus on getting well and fighting the health problems you must now endure. Call us today at 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER (1-800-968-7529) for a free consultation.
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