9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Is Dwindling

The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, used to assist survivors with ongoing injuries and illnesses, is quickly running out.

The 9/11 Memorial emerges from the New York skyline.
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The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, used to assist survivors with ongoing injuries and illnesses, is quickly running out.

Although it’s been 17 years since the tragic terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, many are still dealing with the aftermath to this day. Including those in the hijacked planes, the Pentagon, the World Trade Center and those in the surrounding area, 2,996 people lost their lives that day. In addition, more than 6,000 people were injured, many of whom died in the years following from smoke inhalation and other illnesses they developed on the scene. The numbers are staggering. However, with all the more recent tragedies that have happened since, it is easy to forget that many are still suffering from the attacks. The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund was created to assist those who are struggling with illnesses and injuries from that day. Unfortunately, that fund is quickly running out of money, according to NBC.

Due to dwindling funds, future payments to victims will be cut from 50 to 70 percent. This cut is necessary to ensure that all qualified victims receive at least some kind of assistance, even if it is not the entirety that is deserved. Almost 40,000 people have applied to the fund claiming illnesses related to the events of that day. Still, 19,000 of those individuals are still waiting for their application to receive approval. Nearly $5 billion has already been passed out to those in need, drawing from a fund that was once $7.3 billion in total. Although it may seem like a massive quantity still remaining, it isn’t nearly enough to cover the remaining claims or the ones that are still rolling into this day.

The special master of the fund, Rupa Bhattacharyya, says she is “painfully aware” of how unfair the situation was and wishes that every deserving person could receive the full amount they are owed. “I could not abide a plan that would at the end of the day leave some claimants uncompensated,” she said.

Senator Charles Schumer is looking into finding a way to provide legislation that will get rid of the cuts and compensate all victims for the full amount. He believes a restoration of funds is necessary not only to provide for the peace of mind of the victims but for their families as well.

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“For too many, ailments and disease from exposure to that toxic airborne brew have taken years to show up and – as the need for the fund grows – the chance it may not have adequate resources to take care of our heroes is just unacceptable.”

His statement comes after an influx of applications to the fund in recent months. Many victims are just now experiencing symptoms that are related to 9/11.