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Schumer: Bipartisan deal would allow 9/11 families to access more funding

Beth Murphy of Northport, who lost her husband

Beth Murphy of Northport, who lost her husband Kevin on 9/11, leaves a rose at his name at the 9/11 Memorial in lower Manhattan on September 11, 2019. Credit: Murphy family photo

Spouses and children of 9/11 victims can access additional compensation under a bipartisan legislative agreement announced Tuesday by Sen. Chuck Schumer.

The deal would make any spouses and children of 9/11 victims eligible for the $1 billion U.S. Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund, which they could not access beforehand if they had received money from another 9/11 victims fund.

Schumer said the plan will allow 9/11 spouses and families to rest a little easier.

“New Yorkers — more than anyone — know the personal and financial costs that the 9/11 attacks continue to deliver every single day,” Schumer said in a statement. “For widows and kids, just compensation will never replace the loved one they lost, but it will make a difference in living a life to the fullest, paying for college, raising a family, all the things these courageous Americans would have done alongside their beloved family member.”

The legislation will be included in the upcoming spending bill being voted on this week in both chambers.

The plan is not the first fund established for the spouses and families of 9/11 victims. This compensation includes no federal taxpayer dollars. It is funded through penalties imposed on international states that are found to be sponsors of terror, such as Iran. It had already been open to the hostages taken in 1979 at the U.S. Embassy in Iran and the victims of the 1983 Beirut Marine barracks bombing.

Schumer said the bipartisan deal — reached with Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) — expands victims’ eligibility for the longstanding U.S. Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund. The fund would also be open to a new group of Tehran hostages.

The fund will also be split in half, between Sept. 11 victims and non-Sept. 11 victims of terror, so the two victim groups would not be pitted against one another, Schumer said.

The legislation also extends the fund for an additional 10 years. It will now expire in 2030.

Beth Murphy of Northport, whose husband was killed on 9/11, said she will look into the benefits of the fund.

She was battling melanoma when her husband, Kevin, was killed.

“He went to work and never came home,” she said.

Kevin Murphy, 40, was an employee of Marsh & McLennan working on the 100th floor of the North Tower when the attack occurred. Beth Murphy said she’s had two bouts of cancer since then.

Beth Murphy, 55, said she’s grateful for access to the fund, especially considering she had no husband to help her through her health problems and paying for college for her two children, Connor, 25, and Caitlyn, 22.

“I’m grateful to the people in Congress who looked into this,” said Murphy, a Suffolk County worker. “It’s been tough.”

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