Joint Statement by Representatives Carolyn Maloney, Jerrold Nadler and Peter King on the Appointment of a New Special Master of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund

Jul 21, 2016 Issues: 9/11 Attacks, Health Care

New York – Today, Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and Peter King (R-NY), co-authors of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, issued the following joint statement regarding the stepping down of Ms. Sheila Birnbaum as the Special Master of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) and the appointment of Ms. Rupa Bhattacharyya as the new Special Master. 

“We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Ms. Sheila Birnbaum, who is stepping down as Special Master, for her service to her country and to the responders and survivors of 9/11.  She faced enormous challenges in implementing the law, restarting the fund, and making sure families’ claims were processed and ultimately paid.  She oversaw the distribution of approximately $1.8 billion to more than 9,000 claimants.  She has touched the lives of thousands of Americans and helped ensure the government lived up to its responsibilities to care for those suffering from the 9/11 attacks against our nation.  We thank her for her dedication and for her service.

“As we approach the 15th Anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, we welcome Ms. Rupa Bhattacharyya to her new position as Special Master of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) and look forward to meeting with her soon and working with her to ensure that the remaining sick and injured 9/11 responders, survivors, and their families whose claims have not yet been finalized receive the financial compensation they need and deserve.

“When we passed the reauthorization of the James Zadroga Act late last year, we wisely did away with the pro-rata requirement that had delayed help to so many people for so long.  As we move forward, we will continue to work with the Justice Department and the VCF to look for ways to innovate and improve the VCF to ensure that we process the remaining claims quickly and that we provide the proper financial assistance to the injured 9/11 responders, survivors, and their families.  We have made tremendous progress in our fight for health care and financial assistance for those injured by the attacks and their aftermath, but our work is not over. Many of the remaining claimants, whose cases are especially complex, have been waiting for years for assistance. Once again, we look forward to working with Ms. Bhattacharyya to meet their needs as we continue the critical work of the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund.”