The Justice Department announced today the appointment of August E. Flentje as the interim Special Master of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). Rupa Bhattacharyya resigned as Special Master on April 29. The VCF was created by Congress to compensate those who suffered personal injuries or died as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the rescue, recovery, and debris removal efforts undertaken in the aftermath of the attacks.
“I want to convey my sincere appreciation for Rupa’s 27 years of dedicated public service,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “I am especially grateful for her service as Special Master for the September 11th VCF. In her six years as Special Master, Rupa enhanced the efficiency of this vital program, helped it achieve permanent status, and garnered the support of the 9/11 community and Members of Congress.”
Bhattacharyya was appointed to the position of VCF Special Master by the Attorney General in July 2016. She is a career civil servant who has held numerous leadership positions within the Department of Justice and the Department of the Treasury.
Under Bhattacharyya’s leadership, the VCF has significantly reduced the time it takes to review and decide a claim, and has awarded over $8 billion in compensation to more than 35,000 responders and survivors who have become sick or died because of their exposure to 9/11 toxins. Bhattacharyya helmed the program when a bipartisan Congress reauthorized the VCF in 2019 to accept claims until 2090 and appropriated to it such funds as may be necessary to pay all eligible claims, thus ensuring both the program’s financial stability and that it would remain operational to assist victims of the 9/11 terror attacks for decades to come.
The Attorney General appointed Flentje as the VCF’s Special Master on an interim basis while a search for a permanent Special Master is conducted. Flentje is a career civil service attorney with the Department’s Civil Division and has managed several Civil Division components for temporary periods, including the Torts Branch, through which the Civil Division has provided administrative oversight of VCF operations.
The Department does not expect any interruption in VCF claim review or in the issuance of awards during this interim period.
Learn more information on the VCF at: https://www.vcf.gov.