NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- People sickened after the 9/11 attacks can access free healthcare and compensation, but many not even know it.
Comedian and 9/11 advocate Jon Stewart will be on hand Monday at the Borough of Manhattan Community College to help launch a publicity blitz urging hundreds of thousands of people to apply for the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.
About 400,000 worked, lived and went to school in Lower Manhattan on 9/11 and in the months after the attacks, when the streets and sidewalks were a dusty, toxic stew coated with pulverized concrete steel and glass.
"The conditions outside were absolutely not safe," says Lila Nordstrom, who was a senior attending Stuyvesant High School at the time. "We were in the middle of the World Trade Center cleanup zone."All of those people are eligible the World Trade Center Health Program and Compensation.Attorney Michael Barasch says most people don't realize this."They're stunned when I tell them that they too are eligible," said Barasch, who has more than 130 clients with 9/11-related cancers who were students or teachers.
Residents need to provide evidence to prove they spent time in the Ground Zero vicinity to obtain medical coverage.
Those who lived and worked in Lower Manhattan are encouraged to enroll in the World Trade Center Health Program and are urged to schedule screenings for skin cancer and other common 9/11 cancers and illnesses. They are also urged to prepare a will to protect family members in the event of death or incapacitation.
Currently, there are 68 cancers linked to the World Trade Center.