Payments slow from 9/11 health fund

Written by The Associated Press | Nov 22, 2013 10:52 AM
Heroes of September 11, 2001

NEW YORK (AP) _ The compensation program for people with health problems related to the Sept. 11 attacks is struggling to process a deluge of nearly 55,000 aid applications.

A report from the administrator in charge of the Sept. 11th Victim Compensation Fund reveals that in two years, the fund has decided on compensation for only 112 people.

At least 91 people who rushed to respond to the crash sites in Pennsylvania and the Pentagon have applied for benefits through the program.

No medical study or environmental survey has been conducted on the risks at those sites in the aftermath of the attacks.

Less than 1% of the $2.78 billion appropriated by Congress has been awarded.

The slow pace has upset some advocates for the sick.

Fund special master Sheila Birnbaum says she recently boosted staff to relieve the bottleneck. The fund now employs 75 people, up from 31 a year ago.

Birnbaum says one big hurdle has been difficulty gathering required documents. Many people waited to apply until just before an October deadline.

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