The health consequences of the 9/11 World Trade Center (WTC) terrorist attacks are well documented, but few studies have assessed the disaster's impact on employment among individuals exposed to the disaster. We examined the association between 9/11-related health conditions and early retirement among residents and workers who resided and/or worked near the WTC site on 9/11, and the association between such conditions and post-retirement income loss. The study included 6377 residents and/or area workers who completed the WTC Health Registry longitudinal health surveys in 2003-2004 and 2006-2007, and the 2017-2018 Health and Employment Survey. Logistic regression models were used to examine the associations. We found that 9/11-related health conditions were significantly associated with the likelihood of early retirement. Residents and/or area workers with more physical health conditions, especially when comorbid with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), were more likely to retire before age 60 than those with no conditions. For retirees, having PTSD or PTSD comorbid with any number of physical conditions increased the odds of reporting substantial post-retirement income loss. Disaster-related outcomes can negatively impact aging individuals in the form of early retirement and income loss. Long-term effects of major disasters must continue to be studied.
Keywords: 9/11 impact; PTSD; chronic disease; disaster; income loss; retirement.