Significant progress reported by the Victim Compensation Fund
The VCF began to accept applications in October, 2011 and it rendered its first award determinations in January, 2013. While the VCF has made tremendous strides in streamlining the application process and making compensation determinations to those who have been deemed eligible, it is now likely that funding for the sick and dying is insufficient. $2.4 billion for health care and $2.77 billion for compensation may have seemed like a sufficient amount when the Act was signed into law by President Obama in January, 2011. However, five years ago there was no evidence that the WTC toxic dust would be linked to cancer. Since 2011, peer reviewed medical studies and NIOSH have linked the toxic dust to 68 cancers.
In April, the Victim Compensation Fund published its 2015 First Quarter stats. They confirm the tremendous progress that is being made, as well as the daunting amount of work that must be completed before the VCF closes in October, 2016.
The VCF reported the following promising statistics
- As of March 31st, 10,549 claimants have been found eligible for compensation (approximately half of what we expect by the time the VCF closes on October 3, 2016).
- Over $1 billion has been awarded to 4,415 claimants, an average of $241,000 per claimant. Approximately 10% of those who received awards were found eligible for compensation as a result of being diagnosed with a cancer certified by NIOSH.
- 5,000 claims are currently being reviewed for compensation awards.
If the average amount of the awards remains consistent and another 15,000 claimants are rendered awards, there clearly won’t be sufficient funds to ensure that every claimant receives a full award. Additional funding and an extension of the WTH Health Program are critical to ensure full payment of the awards and continuation of vital medical care, especially for the estimated 3,000 patients currently receiving treatment for cancer.
The WTC Health Program is currently treating 30,000 patients per year. They are men and women. They are white, black and Hispanic. They are Republicans, Democrats and Independents. They are currently living in 420 of the 436 Congressional districts. If additional funding for health care is not made available, these patients will be without health care. More will no doubt die.