Rupa Bhattacharyya, who has been Special Master of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) since 2016, recently announced that she will leave the VCF at the end of April.
She will assume a position with Georgetown University Law Center’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection.
Earning bipartisan support, Bhattacharyya was appointed Special Master by President Barack Obama soon after a reauthorization of the fund and retained by President Donald Trump.
During her tenure with the 9/11 VCF, Bhattacharyya worked tirelessly to improve efficiency, reducing the amount of time required to process a claim from three or four years to fewer than 12 months.
Her leadership of the 9/11 VCF through the COVID-19 pandemic provided crucial support for 9/11 first responders and survivors who were diagnosed with any of the 68 types of cancers or many respiratory illnesses from their exposure to Ground Zero toxins, as well as their families.
Even as her staff worked remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic last year, the team reached 7,183 approved eligibility determinations, issued 7,297 initial award letters, processed 9,239 payments, held 580 appeal hearings, and expedited 340 claims, according to the 2021 VCF Annual Report.
Barasch & McGarry Managing Partner Michael Barasch commended Bhattacharyya on her achievements with the 9/11 VCF, noting that she and her team had “transformed” the process, to the benefit of first responders, survivors, and their families.
Thanks to Bhattacharyya, Barasch added, VCF staff “are universally respected for their professionalism, compassion, responsiveness, and work ethic.”
Barasch also applauded her decision to warn Congress in 2019 when the fund had been depleted by an unexpectedly high number of claims, for which, he said, “we all owe her a debt of gratitude.”
Several months later, Congress fully funded the 9/11 VCF, permanently protecting the financial security of 9/11 families.
In closing, Barasch said, “I am honored to have worked with her, and I especially admire her compassion for those sickened by the 9/11 toxins. It would be a privilege to support her in the future.”