News out of Washington, D.C. this week proves to be what some are terming a “devastating blow” to the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. The fund is going dry, and as a result, payouts to the victims and families of the 9/11 attacks will soon see a reduction of the monies they receive, up to an estimated 70 percent.
The fund, established in 2011, ten years after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, was devised to compensate the victims, and families of victims, for the impact of being exposed to toxic materials. In a statement released Friday, the administrator of the fund stated that there was currently $2 million left in its coffers.
According to that same administrator, Rupa Bhattacharyya, the remaining amount will be needed to cover the estimated 20,000 pending, current claims, along with the predicted thousands of claims that are anticipated to be filed before the fund expires in December 2020.
To make clear just how widely spread the fund is, as of this date, the administrator stated that the Victim Compensation Fund distributed its first $5 billion amongst approximately 21,000 claims. Because the fund is close to depletion, the administrator noted that any claims pending and filed before February 1, 2019, would only receive 50 percent of the original payout. Those filed after the February 1st date would receive 30 percent of the initial payout.
Bhattacharyya did express her regret that the reduction in payouts had to be put into place stating that there was just no way to accurately predict from the onset just how many claims the fund would receive. She also went on to say that there was a sharp increase in claims starting in 2015 and attributes this to the fact that some cancers have a more extended period before being diagnosed.
In a statement Bhattacharyya posted on the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund’s website, she apologized for the reduction in payouts adding: “..the stark reality of the date leaves me no choice. If there had been a different option available to me, I assure you I would have taken it.”
There is no way of predicting just how many claims will end up being filed before the deadline. There were ten’s of thousand’s of people exposed to the toxins from the buildings disintegrating on that fateful day. There most assuredly will be those whose illnesses may not even present until after the fund it shut down, which will afford them no help with their care.
So, what’s the verdict—you decide.
Is the reduction in payouts for claims the only recourse at this point in time?