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Long Island News

The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund lessened wait times and gave out $1.4 billion last year

Tribute in Light, two vertical columns of light representing the fallen towers of the World Trade Center shine against the lower Manhattan skyline on the 19th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.
Stefan Jeremiah
/
Associated Press
Tribute in Light, two vertical columns of light representing the fallen towers of the World Trade Center shine against the lower Manhattan skyline on the 19th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund’s annual report shows over $1.4 billion was awarded last year, and wait times were reduced while most staff were working remotely due to pandemic restrictions.

The Fund’s administrators said they reduced the wait time to receive an award to 12 months on average — the shortest wait time since the Fund began shortly after 9/11.

“A particular point of pride for me is our progress in reducing the time it takes a submitted claim to move to award,” Rupa Bhattacharyya, the Fund’s Special Master, said in a statement. “In April 2021, that timeframe became 12 months or less, on average, in claims where we have the information that we need to process the claim…. Reaching this one-year-from-submission-to- award mark was a commitment I made when I first took on the role of Special Master five years ago.”

The $1.4 billion handed out in 2021 is down slightly from the year before. In total, $9.3 billion has been awarded to about 42,000 victims of the 9/11 attacks.

Residents who lived or worked near the sites of the attacks who develop certain diseases could be eligible to receive compensation.

Long Island native Luis Alvarez, a former NYPD detective, lobbied Congress before he died to make the fund permanent.