The compensation fund established to help 9/11 victims may run out before all claims are paid, special master Rupa Bhattacharyya (above) has warned
The compensation fund established to help the sick survivors of the 9/11 terror attacks may run out of money before all the claims are paid, the woman who oversees it has warned.
Rupa Bhattacharyya, the special master of the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund, said the $7.375 billion provided by the federal government ‘may be insufficient to compensate all claims.’
Her warning is in a report published in the Federal Register on Wednesday that is seeking input from the public on how the remaining funds should be spent.
About 38,500 people have applied to a compensation fund, and over $3.9 billion in claims have been approved.
An estimated 5,500 new claims are expected to be filed before the deadline for applications in December 2020, according to ABC News.
But projections ‘suggest a possibility that the funds that have been appropriated to compensate claimants… may be insufficient to compensate all claims (including those filed and those anticipated to be filed) under the current policies and procedures guiding the calculation of awards,’ Bhattacharyya’s report said.
People who suffered health effects caused by the 2001 attacks and the survivors of people whose deaths are linked to the attacks are eligible. Pictured, a firefighter in the rubble of Ground Zero following the attacks in 2001
‘In an abundance of caution, therefore, and in fulfillment of her statutory responsibility to conduct periodic reassessments of VCF policies and procedures under the Act, the Special Master issues this Notice of Inquiry to seek public comments on how the remaining funds might be allocated in a fair and equitable manner to claims and amendments that have not yet been determined, with priority given, as the Reauthorization Act requires, to those claimants with the most debilitating conditions.’
Bhattacharyya wants to know if there are some non-cancer conditions that can excluded from the severe category – and therefore, no longer presumed to receive the maximum non-economic loss award of $90,000, ABC News reports.
In a post on the VCF website on Tuesday, Bhattacharyya said the fund expended just over $.25 billion in the past two-and-a-half years – and has more than $3 billion in funding remaining.
In response to reports suggesting the fund may run out of money, she said: ‘There is no immediate funding crisis.’
Congress established the compensation fund after the 2001 terror attacks. Pictured, flowers are placed at a the memorial to the victims in September last year
But she added: ‘As some of you may have read in the press reporting that surrounded this year’s anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, however, there is concern among some groups that the VCF may run short of funding.
‘Accordingly, in both an abundance of caution and a steadfast commitment to fulfilling my statutory responsibilities, 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, with priority given, as the Reauthorization Act requires, to those claimants with the most debilitating conditions,’ she added.
Congress established the compensation fund after the 2001 terror attacks.
It operated for two years, giving $6 billion to victims’ families and $1 billion to the injured.
The fund was reopened by the passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010.
The Zadroga Act, named for a detective who died in 2006, put $2.8 billion in the fund. The Zadroga Act was reauthorized in 2015.
People who suffered health effects caused by the 2001 attacks and the survivors of people whose deaths are linked to the attacks are eligible.
The fund’s special master determines the amounts awarded factoring in the harm to the claimant and their circumstances.