NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New York Sen. Charles Schumer has demanded swift action from the group in charge of distributing funds to those sickened in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
The James Zadroga Act appropriated $2.7 billion to the Victim Compensation Fund. Of that, $875 million was to be doled out from 2011, when the measure became law, to 2016. The rest was then to be distributed in 2016.
So far, however, victims have not received a dime, the New York Post reported.
“We understand this is complicated but we worked so hard to get this done. To have it almost two years since it was signed into law, Jan. 2, 2011, with no one getting compensation – outrageous,” Schumer told reporters Sunday.
“I don’t care how complex it is. The people at the Victim Compensation Fund should be moving heaven and earth to get the funds to those who were injured,” he added.
About 15,000 firefighters, police officers, construction workers and lower Manhattan residents have registered with the Fund as potential claimants but just 1,500 have filed formal applications, an official told the Post.
“I’ll be sending a letter to the Victim Compensation Fund telling them they better start working overtime and get some of these funds, particularly for applications that seem to be in total order, by Christmas,” Schumer said.
The Zadroga Act covers people suffering from 9/11-related illnesses acquired from exposure to toxic ground zero dust.
Several forms of cancer were recently added to the list of covered conditions, but those applicants have not yet been issued forms, according to the Post.
The special master of the fund Sheila Birnbaum told the Post that most of the applications for aid have arrived incomplete.
She added her goal is to begin making payouts in January while making sure all claims are legitimate.
The bill was named for James Zadroga, a 34-year-old police detective who died of lung disease his family said was linked to 9/11.
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