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A Message from Special Master Sheila Birnbaum

September 9, 2014

Every year on September 11th we reflect on the lives that were forever changed by that terrible day. At the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, we are working harder than ever to assist the survivors who have been injured as a result of 9/11. We have made great strides in the past year, resulting in 7,885 claimants being found eligible to receive compensation and issuing 1,843 compensation decisions totaling $493,768,674. But this somber anniversary is, for the Fund, not a moment to pause, but rather a reminder that we must increase our efforts and build on our recent progress.

I have had the privilege of meeting with many of the Fund’s claimants, and, with each person I meet, I am reminded that many of the people the Fund serves are those who have dedicated their lives to helping others. At the Fund, we all work for the firefighters who rushed into the burning buildings and then toiled at Ground Zero, refusing to leave a brother behind; the police officers who worked day and night to keep us safe; the city workers, volunteers, local workers, maintenance workers, residents, and all others whose health was adversely affected by this tragic event. Recently, I met with a claimant who told me that he struggled with asking for help from the Fund because he was raised to believe that, “When you put your hand out, it’s to give, not to receive.” All of us working at the Fund believe it is a great responsibility and a greater honor to provide help to him and others like him.

The Congress has designated September 11th as “Patriot Day” and a “National Day of Service and Remembrance.” Here at the Fund, we work every day to serve those who were injured or became ill because of the attacks of 9/11. I ask that you join us, on this somber anniversary, in recognizing the service and sacrifice of those who rushed to the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and Shanksville, PA sites to put a hand out to give help to those in need.

As always, if you have questions about the VCF claims process, I encourage you to call our toll-free Helpline at 1-855-885-1555. For the hearing impaired, please call 1-855-885-1558 (TDD). If you are calling from outside the United States, please call 1-202-353-0356.