SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – For many years, those affected by 9/11 were helped through compensation funds, but now, almost two decades later that money is beginning to run out.
During the attacks, 2,977 people were killed and 18 years later people are still dying because of it.
There’s been an ongoing debate in Washington D.C. about funding the 9/11 Victim’s Compensation Fund. Earlier this month, Comedian Jon Stewart delivered a powerful testimony on the behalf of first responders still battling health issues due to the 9/11 attacks.
“Sick and dying they brought themselves down here to speak to no one,” said Stewart in reference to the amount of politicians who attended the hearing.
The collapse of the World Trade Center caused a thick cloud of smoke to engulf lower Manhattan and fires at ground zero burned for weeks.
The volunteers and first responders who helped with the clean up often did so without proper respiratory protection which resulted in cancer.
“These people have suffered. Cancers, leukemia, bone cancer, lung cancer and and many of them are retired or have been forced to retire as a result of these injuries,” said Springfield Fire Commissioner B.J. Calvi. “So it’s very devastating on their families and their financial situations to go through all of this.”
More than 40,000 people have applied to the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, which helps pay for medical expenses that people have as a result of the September 11th attacks.
More than $5 billion in benefits have already been awarded out of the $7.4 billion fund and thousands of unpaid claims are still left to process.
The House Judiciary Committee unanimously passed a bill which would permanently reauthorize the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund the day after Jon Stewart’s impassioned testimony.
The “Never Forget the Heroes Act of 2019” would extend funding through 2090. The bill will now go to the floor for a full vote in the House of Representatives.