The United States experienced one of the worst terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, carried out on specific targets, including the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York City, Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. These suicide attacks resulted in almost 3,000 deaths, with many survivors, rescue groups, and first responders subjected to trauma.

After the attacks, cleanup began in Lower Manhattan. Residents, recovery workers, and students were exposed to different health hazards due to toxic substances on 9/11 and during the cleanup. Therefore, major US initiatives were established to help the victims obtain free medical care and financial compensation.

Particularly, the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) offers compensation to people or representatives of the deceased at the exposure zones who have suffered a 9/11-related health condition. Even so, the illness should be certified by World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) as a 9/11-related condition. Also, the benefits extend to those involved in the cleanup, such as those who volunteered in debris removal and construction.

Here are the medical conditions that the fund covers:

1. Cancers

health condition

Cancer is an uncontrolled growth or spread of cells that may happen at different parts of the body, preventing normal body functioning. A much higher cancer rate has been witnessed among the 9/11 victims compared to the rest of the population in the US. The collapse of the World Trade Tower resulted in the release of toxic and irritating substances, which settled in Lower Manhattan for an extended period. A mix of jet fuel, building materials, and other wastes created toxic dust containing harmful substances like dioxins, chromium, gypsum, cement, and polychlorinated biphenyls.

This high exposure to carcinogens increases the risks for different cancers among individuals. For more comprehensive information about the cancer types covered, you’d want to click for info. Even so, here are some examples of cancers covered by VCF compensation:

  • Female breast
  • Soft tissue
  • Blood and lymphoid tissue (leukemia, myeloma, and lymphoma)
  • Mesothelioma
  • Childhood cancers
  • Respiratory system (lung and bronchus)
  • Urinary system
  • Thyroid
  • Digestive system (colon and rectum)
  • Ovary
  • Urinary system (kidney and bladder)
  • Head and neck (tonsil and oropharynx)
  • Skin (melanoma and non-melanoma)
  • Thyroid
  • Female breast

Aside from that, rare cancers are associated with the 9/11 attacks and qualify to be certified by WTCHP as 9/11-related. Generally, health centers report very few cases of these types of cancers every year since they’re not common. They include:

  • Malignant neoplasms: These are cancerous tumors that can spread to nearby or distant tissues of the body. There are malignant neoplasms of the placenta, vagina, pancreas, adrenal gland, central nervous system, and bone cartilage.
  • Malignant neuroendocrine neoplasm: They’re neuroendocrine tumors originating from specialized cells called neuroendocrine cells. They include carcinoid tumors and myeloid neoplasms like myelodysplastic neoplasms, myeloproliferative neoplasms, and myeloid malignancies.

Therefore, if you suffer any of the above cancer types and believe it’s linked to the 9/11 toxic dust, it’s best to inquire from the WTC professionals if it’s eligible.

2. Airway And Digestive Disorders

This non-cancerous eligible condition combines digestive system disorders and airway disorders. It mainly affects the breathing airways like the sinuses and lungs, and the digestive tract. These disorders are caused primarily by toxic dust; that’s why it’s prevalent among the 9/11 victims due to the exposure to fumes and vapors. Below are some of the Aerodigestive Disorders that are eligible for VCF compensation:

  • Upper airway hyperreactivity
  • Chronic respiratory disorder
  • Reactive airways dysfunction syndrome (RADS)
  • Lung diseases include bronchiolitis obliterans, sarcoidosis, asbestosis, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and autoimmune diseases like small-vessel vasculitides
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease (COPD), like chronic bronchitis and refractory asthma

Traumatic Injuries

Therefore, if your condition is eligible, ensure you make your claim to be compensated.

3. Acute Traumatic Injuries

Severe injuries related to the September 2001 attacks or obtained during rescue missions and the cleanup process all qualify for VCF compensation. These are characterized by severe physical damage to the body. Examples of debilitating injuries include:

  • Tendon tear
  • Complex sprain
  • Fractures
  • Eye injuries
  • Burn
  • Traumatic brain injuries

All acute traumatic injuries must be accompanied by medical documentation synchronous with the injury.

4. Musculoskeletal Disorders

Musculoskeletal disorders are chronic disorders of your body’s muscle and bone systems. Most of the 9/11 victims have suffered this because of the excessive strain and heavy lifting during the cleanup. The conditions eligible for coverage include carpal tunnel syndrome and lower back pain.



If you have one of the above conditions or believe you might be suffering from them, it’s best to get immediate medical attention. Fortunately, you can get your condition certified by WTCHP to receive your VCF compensation to finance your medical and healing process. Note that WTCHP reviews the list occasionally so that they may add more conditions. Therefore, consider consulting a lawyer to learn more about the eligibility for compensation to ensure you receive your rightful benefits.

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