Oct. 3 (UPI) — A fund that had more than $7 billion earmarked to help survivors and families affected by the Sept. 11 terror attacks might be empty within the next two years.
Victim Compensation Fund Special Master Rupa Bhattacharyya warned Wednesday in a Notice of Inquiry the cash on hand might not be enough to cover all the filed claims.
“The projections suggest the possibility that the $7.375 billion in total funding that has been appropriated to compensate claimants may be insufficient to compensate all claims,” Bhattacharyya said.
He said the lack of funding could apply to new and existing claims, and by law priority must be given to those with the most debilitating circumstances.
Bhattacharyya said his warning isn’t a formal determination, but a call for public comment from the Sept. 11 community on how they would like to see the remaining funds allocated.
“In both an abundance of caution and a steadfast commitment to fulfilling my statutory responsibilities, I am seeking public input on how the remaining funds might be allocated in a fair and equitable manner to claims and amendments that have not yet been decided,” he said.
Questions in the comment section include whether there are “non-cancer conditions that should no longer be considered severe and debilitating.”
Another question asked if the minimum payment for non-economic loss, $20,000, should be lowered. The request also asked if there should be a cap on cash awards.
Executive Director Ben Chevat of 9/11 Health Watch said he’s pleasedBhattacharyya, the Justice Department and Attorney General Jeff Sessionsare “involving the 9/11 community in the difficult decisions they may have to face.”
A statement on Chevat’s 9/11 Health Watch website said it’s “Congress’s problem to solve.”