Fund created to compensate sick survivors of 9/11 may run out of money

Fund created to compensate sick survivors of 9/11 may run out of money

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The fund established to compensate sick survivors of Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks may run out of money before all the claims are paid, according to a warning from a woman who oversees the fund in a report to be published Wednesday.

The $7 billion the federal government set aside for those sickened at Ground Zero “may be insufficient to compensate all claims,” Rupa Bhattacharyya, special master of the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund, said.

Remembering 9/11
SLIDESHOW: PHOTOS: Remembering 9/11

Bhattacharyya’s warning is in a report to be published in the Federal Register that seeks public input on how the remaining money should be spent with an estimated 5,500 new claims expected to be filed before the fund stops taking claims in December 2020.

MORE: The 9/11 toll still grows: More than 16,000 Ground Zero responders who got sick found eligble for awards

Priority is still given to those with the most debilitating conditions. The special master wants to know whether certain non-cancer conditions should no longer be considered severe.

PHOTO: A guest wipes a tear among names at the edge of the south reflecting pool at the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum during ceremonies marking the 17th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York.Brendan McDermid/Reuters, FILE
A guest wipes a tear among names at the edge of the south reflecting pool at the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum during ceremonies marking the 17th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York.

“Are there certain non-cancer conditions that should no longer be considered as presumptively severe and debilitating (and therefore no longer presumed to receive the maximum $90,000 non-economic loss award), at least without any further documentation of ongoing severity,” Bhattacharyya said.

MORE: ‘I asked him not to go anywhere that evening’: One murder on 9/11 is still unsolved in New York City

Since the 2011 Zadroga Act reauthorized the victims’ compensation fund, Congress has dedicated $7.3 billion to compensate relatives of the dead and those who suffered physical harm in the attacks or in the debris removal that took place in the subsequent months.

PHOTO: Remembering 9/11 terror attacksUniversal History Archive via Getty Images, FILE
Remembering 9/11 terror attacks

The special master determines monetary awards based on the harm to the claimant, the facts and the circumstances.

“The projections suggest the possibility that the $7.375 billion in total funding that has been appropriated to compensate claimants may be insufficient to compensate all claims (including those already filed and those anticipated to be filed) under the current policies and procedures guiding the calculation of awards,” the special master’s report said.

PHOTO: Flowers and a flag are left on names at the National 9/11 Memorial during ceremonies marking the 17th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, in New York, Sept. 11, 2018.Brendan McDermid/Reuters
Flowers and a flag are left on names at the National 9/11 Memorial during ceremonies marking the 17th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, in New York, Sept. 11, 2018.

“I am seeking public input on how the remaining funds might be allocated in a fair and equitable manner to claims and amendments that have not yet been decided,” Bhattacharyya said.

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