As soon as the World Trade Center collapsed in 2001, building materials, furniture, electronic equipment, and so on, were pulverized and spread throughout the Financial District of Lower Manhattan in New York.
In the months that followed, dust containing toxins continued to infiltrate the air in the area, which resulted in many people who were present developing various illnesses and health conditions.
In response, several health programs were set up to assist people. Survivors who need ongoing medical treatment can still get assistance from various programs.
Here are the federal and state programs that are available.
There are two federal programs that can help 9/11 survivors who need medical treatment: the World Trade Center Health Program and the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.
The World Trade Center Health Program
This program provides both medical monitoring and treatment to responders and survivors who were exposed to the toxins in the air at Ground Zero and have developed health conditions as a result.
“Survivors” refers to workers, residents, and students. The World Trade Center Health Program is delivered nationally, by a network of medical care providers, and locally in New York via the Medical Centers of Excellence.
In 2015, the program was extended until the year 2090. There is no time limit in place for joining the World Trade Center Health Program.
The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund
People who were present at the World Trade Center or the surrounding Exposure Zone in New York City, the site of the Pentagon crash, or the site of the Shanksville crash between September 11, 2001, and May 30, 2002, and who have since developed a 9/11-related illness could be eligible to pursue compensation from the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.
The fund is available to first responders and volunteers and workers who contributed to the cleanup operation as well as to people who worked at, lived in, or went to school in the Exposure Zone.
Take a look at this article about VCF claim status to find out how long it takes for a claim to be decided.
New York State Programs
If you developed a health condition related to 9/11 and need ongoing medical treatment, there are several New York State programs that could assist you.
New York State Workers Compensation
Workers who are injured or become ill at work normally need to file claims with the New York State Workers Compensation Board within a period of two years after sustaining the injury or illness.
However, it can take years for some 9/11-related health conditions to develop. Therefore, the above legal deadline has been extended for 9/11 responders.
To qualify for compensation from the New York State Workers Compensation Board, you must also register with the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.
Line of Duty Injury Benefits
DSNY employees and active-duty NYPD, FDNY, and DOC employees can receive treatment for injuries and illnesses related to participating in operations at the World Trade Center via Line of Duty Injury benefits.
The benefits come to an end when the employee retires.
The World Trade Center Disability Law
If New York City and State employees developed certain illnesses as a result of rescue, recovery, or cleanup operations at the World Trade Center site, they could be entitled to accidental disability retirement benefits via the World Trade Center Disability Law.
The World Trade Center Volunteer Fund
Lastly, the World Trade Center Volunteer Fund provides volunteers who participated in the rescue, recovery, or cleanup operations at the World Trade Center site with benefits.
Benefits are available to volunteers who developed health conditions related to their volunteer work. Volunteers can claim benefits for incurred lost wages as well.
You may also be interested in this interview with Dr. Linda Bilmes, who talks about the long-term costs associated with caring for veterans who participated in the U.S.’s post-9/11 conflicts.