9/11 Victim Compensation Fund makes first payments to sick responders

The first respodners will get 10 percent of their cash awards now. (1/30/13)

WOODBURY - First responders are starting to receive payments from the Sept. 11 Victim Compensation fund, but so far, they're only getting a small fraction of what they're entitled to.

More than a decade after the terrorist attack, the fund is beginning the process of giving out cash settlements to those who developed illnesses after being exposed to toxins at the site. But recipients will only be getting 10 percent of their money up-front, and officials say it's not clear when they will see they rest.

Officials say that so far, just 15 first responders-- mostly firefighters-- have been offered amounts ranging from $10,000 to $1.5 million. About 16,000 first responders have applied for settlements, and there are still three years left to apply.

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Recipients are only getting a portion of their grants because of a larger potential problem: there is some concern that the fund could run out of money, according to Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford). King says if the $2.8 billion fund runs out, Congress would have to approve additional funds.

For some of the first responders who are coping with respiratory illnesses and other medical problems, the money can't come soon enough.

To hear Rep. Peter King's remarks on the compensation, click on News 12 Extra on Optimum TV channel 612. 

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