Overview of WTC Health Program & Victim Compensation Fund

The James Zadroga Act of 2010 created two separate federal programs:

  • WTC Health Program (WTCHP) which provides medical care for physical and mental illness to first responders and survivors (i.e., those who lived, worked, and who attended school below Houston Street).
  • Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) which provides compensation for physical injury, medical care reimbursement, and wrongful death claims to victims and victims’ families. (i.e., those who lived, worked, and attended school south of Canal Street).

Both programs have separate application and eligibility criteria which are similar, but not identical as outlined below.

The WTCHP certifies for and provides medical care for both physical and mental illnesses, so it is possible for a victim to be certified for a covered illness and not qualify for compensation from the VCF, which compensates for physical injury only.  In addition, because of the different geographic areas covered by the two programs, a victim who lived, worked, or attended school between Houston Street and Canal Street would not qualify for compensation from the VCF.

Both programs have been reauthorized for 70 years, until October 1, 2090.

Eligibility Criteria

VCF WTC Health Program
Illnesses Covered: Physical only Physical and psychological
Presence/Exposure Zone: South of Canal Street (Manhattan only) South of Houston Street and parts of Brooklyn
Presence/Exposure Timeframe: September 11, 2001 to May 30, 2002 September 11, 2001 to July 31, 2002
Presence/Exposure Duration: Minimum time requirements apply. Minimum time requirements apply.

Illnesses Covered by the WTC Health Program

Most Common 9/11 Illnesses

68 Cancers Including:

  • Skin Cancer (Basal Cell, Squamous Cell, and Melanoma)
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Thyroid Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Blood Cancers, including Multiple Myeloma, Lymphoma, and Leukemia
  • Lung Cancer
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Colon Cancer
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Rare Cancers and Childhood Cancers


  • Interstitial Lung Diseases, including Pulmonary Fibrosis, Sarcoidosis, Emphysema
  • Chronic Rhinosinusitis
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
  • Asthma
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Chronic Respiratory Disorder – Fumes / Vapors
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

NOTE: You may still be eligible even if you have been diagnosed with a cancer that is not on this list.

More About Covered Conditions (www.CDC.gov)

Exposure Zone

The geographical boundaries that the WTCHP and the VCF serve are overlapping but not entirely the same. The VCF has more restrictive boundaries than the WTCHP.

To receive free health treatment, victims must prove they lived, worked, or went to school below Houston Street or in a small swatch of Western Brooklyn that is within 1.5 miles of the WTC site. VCF claimants, however, must show that they were below Canal Street during the qualifying period (or at the Fresh Kills landfill, on the debris removal barges or at any of the morgues). People who were in Western Brooklyn or between Houston Street and Canal Street qualify for health treatment through the WTCHP, but do not qualify compensation from the VCF.

September 11 Exposure Zones

Exposure Time Frame

The exposure time frame to qualify for medical care from the WTCHP and the VCF is slightly different.  For the WTCHP, the exposure time frame is from September 11, 2001 to July 31, 2002.  For the VCF, however, the exposure time frame is from September 11, 2001 to May 30, 2002.

Exposure Time Requirement

The WTCHP and the VCF require proof that both responders and survivors were:

  • exposed either on 9/11/01; or,
  • more than 4 hours between 9/11/01 and 9/14/01; or,
  • more than 24 hours during September 2001; or,
  • more than 80 hours during part of the 8 months that followed.