First responders call for permanent financing for 9/11 compensation fund

Posted: Updated:
TEANECK -

First responders who assisted at Ground Zero after the Sept. 11 terror attacks are calling for permanent financing for the Victims Compensation Fund.

The group spoke with the media Monday in an event organized by New Jersey Rep. Josh Gottheimer.

The fund announced last month that it was running out of money and would cut benefits by as much as 70 percent for first responders who suffered health issues related to working at the attack site.

“What irks me is that just because someone got sick later, why should they be treated at 70 percent less than a person who got sick first?” asked Jaime Hazan, a former volunteer EMT and fund recipient.

The fund was set up in 2010 and is due to expire in 2020.

Gottheimer says that he wants to have it extended and fully funded for years to come. He says that there is some opposition from some other members of Congress.

“I can’t believe that we have to come together for this. That we have to make this a fight is outrageous,” said the Democratic congressman.

Nearly half of the fund’s 40,000 applications for aid are still pending, according to the fund’s administrator. A little more than $2 billion remains in the fund, out of more than $7 billion allocated.

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