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Notes and Renderings

9/11 Fund Special Master Faces New Challenge

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In June, a federal health official’s ruling cleared the way for 50 different types of cancer to be added to the list of sicknesses covered by a $4.3 billion fund set up to compensate people exposed to toxic smoke, dust, and fumes in the months after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

While this was a win—Representative Carolyn Maloney of New York told the New York Times it was “an important statement that the country’s going to take care of the workers and people who are there to save the lives of the people of the city”—it undoubtedly complicates the picture for all of the people who hope to receive funds, and for the administrator in charge of the process.

“We cannot add any more money to the fund,” Sheila Birnbaum ’65, special master of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, said in the Times shortly before the ruling. “So we would have to prorate what we’re giving to people depending on the amount of people that apply, the seriousness of their injuries, the economic loss that they’ve sustained.” Birnbaum was the cover profile of the 2011 Law School magazine.

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