Boston bombing victims who cash survivor checks face losing health insurance

By David Edwards
Monday, September 16, 2013 10:25 EDT
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A woman in a Boston Marathon runners jacket at a makeshift memorial blocks from the finish line, April 17, 2013 (AFP, Stan Honda)
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Months after the Boston Marathon bombing, J.P. Norden is still recovering from losing his leg, but he can’t cash a $1.2 million check provided to survivors because he would lose his state health insurance for the poor.

Norden, and his brother Paul, both had legs amputated and received identical checks as part of the $60 million being distributed by One Fund charity. They told The Washington Post that they are very aware they would quickly use up the $1.2 million with their ongoing medical expenses.

“People will say stuff: ‘Oh, you guys got $1.2 million,’” J.P. Norden explained. “Did we? Because I know I’ve got to buy a leg for the rest of my life. I can’t go out and buy a house.”

While the benefit checks are tax free, cashing them means that the state will drop the brothers from the health insurance program for the poor. And within years, the costs of prosthetics alone will be more than the men were awarded.

“The prosthesis will make all the difference in what their lives are going to look like,” psychologist Christopher Carter told the Post. He added that the cost was not “just the prosthesis, but it’s all the medical care that goes along with that.”

While the Nordens were trying to learn to walk again, they were also meeting with financial advisers.

“We’re not wise to know what to do with it,” J.P. Norden’s wife, Liz, pointed out. “So who do you trust? … It’s like we have money, but we don’t have money.”

[Photo via AFP]

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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