By DEVLIN BARRETT
Associated Press Writer
June 11, 2004, 5:27 PM EDT
WASHINGTON -- The fund for victims of the Sept. 11 attacks has
already agreed to pay out nearly $6 billion as the unprecedented
program nears its final day of operation next week.
The fund has paid or authorized payments totaling $5.8 billion, fund
officials said Friday. Fund workers are rushing to complete all of
their work before the fund's final day of operation on Tuesday.
The fund was created by Congress after the terrorist attacks to
compensate those injured and the families of those killed, and to
protect the airlines and other U.S. entities from potentially
More than 7,000 claims were filed with the fund.
As of Friday, 2,425 death claim payments have been made or
authorized. With about 90 other death claims rejected or withdrawn,
that leaves about 400 claims still to be processed.
After receiving 4,429 injury claims, the fund has rejected 1,651, or
more than a third. Officials have determined injury awards for 2,334
injury claims, and have several hundred still to complete.
"The process has been exhaustive, and seemingly exhausting," said
Perry Binder, a professor at Georgia State University's Robinson
College of Business who has tracked the fund's progress.
The average payout to families of deceased victims has consistently
edged upward since the program's inception, and now stands at just
above $2 million, while the median is $1.7 million. The largest
presumed award is more than $7 million.
Injury payments have ranged from as little as $500 to as high as
$8.6 million, which was recently awarded to a 33-year-old woman
crushed by debris at the World Trade Center.
While the overwhelming majority of victims' families have enrolled
in the fund for compensation, a small minority have opted instead to
file lawsuits charging negligence by airlines, security companies,
and other U.S. entities in failing to prevent the terror attacks.
On the Net:
Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund: http://www.usdoj.gov/victimcompensation/
Copyright © 2004, The Associated Press