The $7.3 billion 9/11 Victims’ Compensation Fund is not set to expire until 2020 but may run out of money even sooner, as survivors continue to battle long-term illness.
Special Master of the fund Rupa Bhattacharyya told New York’s PIX11 News that they have paid out approximately $4 billion to the survivors of the tragic terrorist attack of September 11, 2001. While over $3 billion remains, more and more of the survivors are becoming sick by the day.
Retired NYPD detective Dennis Murphy said that he would “be on the verge of bankruptcy right now” if not for the fund: “They have taken care of my medical expenses 100 percent.” Murphy has an aggressive tongue cancer that has already spread to other organs in his body and may now have metastasized to his liver and bones.
Uniformed Fire Officers Association President Jake Lemonda said more than 1,000 firefighters have been diagnosed with both cancer and other illnesses related to 9/11, and that 182 have already died.
Meanwhile, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is protesting the red tape that NYPD first responders have to cut through to collect their disability pensions. As of now, the state requires them to show multiple forms of proof asserting that they were even present on the day of the attack. “You cannot deny documented 9/11-related illnesses for the officers because of the sloppy record keeping and retention of the police department,” Adams said.
In other words, the fund is more important now than ever. “We’re not at a point where this is an imminent concern, but it’s one that we obviously all want to keep an eye on so we know what we’re looking at for the future,” Bhattacharyya said.