Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a letter on Wednesday urged members of Congress to restore funding to the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund after the head of the fund announced reductions in payments to survivors as claims increase.

“The answer to diminishing funds is not to dilute payments to victims – it is to increase funding for all who need it and make the fund permanent,” Cuomo wrote in the letter. “All are equally heroes to the nation, and all should be equally and fully funded.”

Payments to survivors could be cut by as much as 70 percent. The federal fund has had nearly 40,000 people apply reporting illnesses related to the attacks at the World Trade Center, Pentagon or in Pennsylvania.

So far, almost $5 billion has awarded out of the fund, which restarted in 2011 to aid those with health problems.

“In New York, we will always stand with the victims of the 9/11 attacks,” Cuomo wrote in the letter. “I will work with New York’s delegation, the champions for this effort, to secure the funding that survivors deserve.”