Photo Courtesy of the Office of the Governor
“New Yorkers have always banded together to support the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, and we will never let them be forgotten,” Gov. Cuomo said.
By Michael V. Cusenza
Governor Andrew Cuomo this week called on Congress to ensure full funding for the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund.
“New Yorkers have always banded together to support the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks,” Cuomo said on Monday, “and we will never let them be forgotten.”
Cuomo’s call comes on the heels of distressing published reports that indicate that the $7.3 billion fund may, at some point, run out of money. Fund Special Master Rupa Bhattacharyya told the New York Daily News that the VCF conducts periodic assessments of its data. The most recent analysis was not encouraging.
“I’m starting to get a little concerned,” she said.
According to VCF Program Statistics, as of Aug. 31, 2018, the fund has found 20,874 claimants eligible for compensation. The VCF has made initial award determinations on 19,204 of those claims, and has issued revised awards on 5,011 claims due to an amendment or appeal. Thanks to an increase in applicants, the total amount awarded to date is approximately $4.3 billion.
Cuomo said on Monday that Congress really needs to pay close attention to the latest numbers.
“Some are suggesting that we dilute compensation to the next rounds of applicants due to diminution of funding. That is exactly the wrong approach. All are equally heroes to the nation, and all should be equally and fully funded,” the governor noted. “While significant funding is still available, it is critical that full funding is available for all who need it in the years to come, and I call on Congress to renew and expand the program. In New York, we will always stand with the victims of the attacks, and I will work with the New York delegation to lead the effort in ensuring that everyone receives the fair and ample compensation they deserve.”
In other Sept. 11 developments, Cuomo on Tuesday signed legislation to extend the period for workers and volunteers to file a Notice of Participation for lost wage and medical benefits as a result of their involvement in the rescue, recovery and clean-up operations following the attacks.
“We will never forget the selfless heroes who did not make it home that day, and we owe first responders and those who aided in the recovery effort an eternal debt of gratitude,” Cuomo said. “This bill rightly and fairly provides 9/11’s brave recovery workers and volunteers the time they need to receive the health benefits and compensation they deserve.”