IAVA Calls on Congress to Pass the Never Forget Our Heroes Act
New York, NY (April 24, 2019) – Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) stands with the thousands of 9/11 first responders and their families at risk of losing critical compensation for deaths and illnesses from exposure to toxins at the sites of the September 11th attacks. IAVA calls upon Members of Congress to support and swiftly pass into law The Never Forget the Heroes: Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act, which seeks to endow and extend the rapidly dwindling September 11th Victim Compensation fund to 2090.
In the days, weeks and months that followed September 11th, 2001, thousands of American heroes converged to locate survivors, clear debris and begin the process of healing a nation still reeling from the shock of a series of devastating terrorist attacks. Risking their safety and health, brave men and women placed duty and service above all else to face the perilous task of serving as the first ‘boots on the ground’ in the war on terror. In return, our nation is indebted for their sacrifice.
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund is set to expire in December 2020. The long-term latency of illnesses caused by toxic exposures has resulted in a 235 percent uptick in claimant filings since 2015. The increase has led to a significant reduction in payouts – gutting compensation by up to 70 percent for recent claimants. With nearly 19,000 claims still unpaid, this expansion in claimant filings not only speaks to the need to extend the life of the fund, but to the necessity of continued advocacy around the long-term welfare of 9/11 First-Responders and their families.
“First-Responders did not hesitate to respond in the immediate aftermath of the worst terrorist attack in American history. Congress must not hesitate in ensuring these men and women are fully cared for,” said Jeremy Butler, IAVA CEO. “Congress must act to pass The Never Forget the Heroes: Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act. The lives of 9/11 First-Responders and their families depend on it.”
IAVA has long stood beside the heroic men and women who heeded a call to action in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 and has historically championed efforts to ensure care and compensation are justly administered.