9/11 Victims’ Compensation Fund may run out of money as more victims become sick

Posted at 9:30 AM, Sep 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-11 09:30:39-04

NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. -- The 9/11 Victims' Compensation Fund was allotted $7.3 billion to finance medical expenses for survivors. The money is set to expire at the end of 2020, but could run out sooner as more people are getting sick.

The fund has paid out just over $4 billion to date, leaving a little more than $3 billion left, said Special Master of the Victims' Compensation Fund Rupa Bhattacharyya.

"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 told WPIX.

Dennis Murphy, a retired NYPD detective, said the fund has paid his medical expenses as he battles tongue cancer that has spread to several parts of his body and may now have metastasized in his liver and bones. "They have taken care of my medical expenses 100 percent," said Murphy. "I'd be on the verge of bankruptcy right now."

In a press conference Monday morning, Uniformed Fire Officers Association President Jake Lemonda said more than 1,000 firefighters have been diagnosed with cancer or a respiratory illness related to 9/11. To date, 182 firefighters have died from 9/11-related illnesses.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is also calling on the NYPD to change its rules regarding disability pension claims. Adams says first responders are required to show multiple forms of proof that they responded on 9/11 but believe only one proof of presence should be necessary.

"You cannot deny documented 9/11-related illnesses for the officers because of the sloppy record keeping and retention of the police department," said Adams.

Everyone near the towers during or after the attacks is urged to join the World Trade Center Health Fund, even if you do not have health problems. The fund is free to join and can help assist in obtaining medical monitoring and treatment if needed.