NY lawmakers: 9/11 victims could lose financial support

NY lawmakers: 9/11 victims could lose financial support
© Greg Nash

Three New York lawmakers are warning that victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks could lose financial support in October 2016 if Congress doesn’t reauthorize the compensation fund.

The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund is slated to expire then, and only a quarter of compensation claims have been resolved so far.

More than 5,600 awards have been approved that have totaled more than $1.3 billion.

“At that pace, the program will run out of money,” Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney (D), Jerrold Nadler (D) and Peter King (R) warned in a press release Monday.

“Claim determinations could be cut by half or more, unless Congress extends and fully funds the program,” added the lawmakers, who introduced a bill a few months ago that authorizes the funding and extends it permanently.

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Earlier this month, Maloney said a quarter of the House had already backed the legislation.

Their call for a reauthorization comes the same day as the fund released a new report outlining how many people have filed claims, are waiting on claims and have received compensation so far.

First responders account for 91 percent of the awards given so far, and people with cancer make up 18 percent of the awards.

More than 19,000 people have submitted compensation eligibility forms to the fund, but only about 13,000 could be decided for now. Of that group, about more than 11,700 were eligible for compensation, but about half of them haven’t received it.

The lawmakers’ bill would prevent a shutdown of the compensation fund in October 2016.

To be eligible for the program, a person must have evidence that the claimant was present at the World Trade Center, Pentagon or Shanksville, Pa., during or after the attacks in 2001.

The person must also have evidence that the claimant died of, or suffered from, an illness or injury directly related to the attacks and have a signed authorization allowing the fund to collect information to process the claim.