A campaign has been launched to publicize available compensation for people who suffered non-economic losses due to 9/11 injuries. October 3, 2013 is the deadline for the Victims Compensation Fund (VCF). First responders and survivors must complete and submit an online registration. Established by the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, the program provides compensation for non-economic losses, including pain and suffering (such as job loss) resulting from injuries at the trade center, the Pentagon, or the Pennsylvania crash site.

"The fund has been made stronger as a result of the constructive suggestions and insights of the hundreds of first responders, area residents and workers I have spoken with during this process," said Sheila L. Birnbaum, who, as special master, heads the VCF program. A life-long New Yorker, Birnbaum gained recognition for her work mediating a settlement of $500 million for 92 families of victims of the September 11th terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Birnbaum noted that pro bono counsels are volunteering to assist claimants. Claimants who currently suffer from a covered condition have until October to file a claim, and others will have two years from the date on which they know or should have known of the condition for which they seek compensation, until the VCF stops accepting claims in 2016.


Tens of thousands of people already are eligible for free medical exams, treatment, and medication under the World Trade Center Health Program. The program covers those who lived and worked in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn in the year following 9/11 — even those who may have been exposed just briefly to possible toxins.

There is no deadline to file health claims.

There is also a nationwide provider network offering medical monitoring and treatment for eligible responders and survivors who live outside the New York City metropolitan area. People are eligible for a medical evaluation if they were in the New York City disaster area in Lower Manhattan and northwest parts of Brooklyn on September 11, 2001, or if they lived, worked, went to school or day care, or were otherwise in the area for some time afterward.

The WTC Health Program does not cost anything for people who are enrolled as long as they use health providers who are approved by the program to medically evaluate their condition. Participants must also use health providers and pharmacies approved by the program for 9/11-related health conditions. The complaints covered by the program that apply to FDNY members, New York City Responders, and New York City Survivors include:

  • Airways and digestive disorders, including interstitial lung diseases (diseases that cause scarring of lung tissue); chronic respiratory disorder-fumes/vapors; asthma; reactive airways dysfunction syndrome (RADS); WTC-exacerbated chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); chronic cough syndrome; upper airway hyperreactivity; chronic rhinosinusitis; chronic nasopharyngitis; chronic laryngitis; gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD); sleep apnea exacerbated by or related to any of these conditions.
  • Mental health conditions, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and certain mood, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders
  • Cancer
  • Secondary conditions related to disease progression or complication from treatment of the primary covered health condition

Musculoskeletal disorders, including low back pain from disc injury, carpal tunnel syndrome from repetitive motion injury, and secondary conditions related to disease progression or complication from treatment of the primary covered health condition are also covered for FDNY members and other New York City Responders only.

The types of cancer covered by the program include:

  • Mesothelioma
  • Childhood cancers occurring after 9/11/01
  • Rare cancers malignant neoplasms of the following: Lip, tongue, salivary gland, floor of mouth, gum and other mouth, tonsil, oropharynx, hypopharynx, and other oral cavity and pharynx.
  • Nasopharynx
  • Nose, nasal cavity, middle ear and accessory sinuses
  • Larynx
  • Esophagus
  • Stomach
  • Colon and rectum
  • Liver and intrahepatic bile duct
  • Retroperitoneum, peritoneum, omentum and mesentery
  • Trachea; bronchus and lung; heart, mediastinum and pleura; and other ill-defined sites in the respiratory system and intrathoracic organs
  • Soft tissues (sarcomas)
  • Skin (melanoma and non-melanoma), including scrotal cancer
  • Breast
  • Ovary
  • Urinary bladder
  • Kidney
  • Renal pelvis, ureter and other urinary organs
  • Eye and orbit
  • Thyroid
  • Blood and lymphoid tissues (including, but not limited to, lymphoma, leukemia, and myeloma)

The list of conditions was established by medical and scientific experts based on existing knowledge of what people were exposed to and the health effects that responders and survivors have experienced.