As Funds for Sick 9/11 Heroes Shrinks, a Push for Action From NJ
Efforts have been stepped up to get more lawmakers to back a measure to renew and restore the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund. Members of New Jersey law enforcement have been helping politicians go door to door to muster as much support as possible for the bipartisan effort.
U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer said the goal is to get to 290 sponsors, which would send the measure to the floor of the House of Representatives for a formal vote and debate. It could then advance to the U.S. Senate and then to President Donald Trump's desk.
Gottheimer, a Democrat serving the 5th District, is an original cosponsor of the Never Forget the Heroes Act aimed at ensuring the Victim's Compensation Fund is able to pay out all valid existing and future claims. The fund is set to expire in December 2020 unless action is taken.
Through the end of April, more than 49,548 claims had been filed with the Victim Compensation Fund. The total amount awarded through the same time span was more than $5 billion.
Back on Feb. 15, the Special Master of the fund announced that injured and ill 9/11 responders and survivors would receive just half of the money that they were expecting for pending claims, and 70% less than expected would be paid out for future claims.
More than 47,000 people who are in the federal World Trade Center Health Program are suffering from at least one certified 9/11 condition caused by toxins at Ground Zero, the Pentagon and the Shanksville crash site, according to the CDC. A number of them have multiple conditions.
More than 11,000 survivors and first-responders enrolled in the Health Program have been certified with at least one 9/11-related cancer, according to the CDC. Thousands more who have been diagnosed with cancer are only now joining the health program, so the numbers are expected to increase.