No claims will be accepted after Dec. 22.

WASHINGTON (AP) – More than half of the families of people who died in the Sept. 11 terror attacks have yet to file claims with a federal compensation fund, officials said Friday.

The deadline for filing claims with the Sept. 11th Victim Compensation Fund is Dec. 22. No claims will be accepted after that date.

“It is, therefore, vitally important that all eligible claimants submit an application as soon as possible,” said Kenneth R. Feinberg, the special master appointed by Attorney General John Ashcroft to oversee the fund.

The fund, signed into law Sept. 24, 2001 by President Bush, was created by Congress to protect airlines and other entities from being hit with huge lawsuits in the wake of the attacks that killed about 3,000 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. People who accept awards give up their right to sue.

As of Friday, the fund had received 2,191 claims, both from the families of those who died and from people injured in the attacks. It had paid out more than $565 million.

About 1,700 families of victims have yet to file.

The average payment to families of those who died in the attacks is just over $1.5 million, while individual awards have ranged in size from $250,000 to $6.1 million.

Payments to people who suffered physical injuries in the attacks have ranged from $500 to $6.8 million.

Some relatives of high-earning victims have challenged Feinberg’s awards as too small, but a judge in May tossed out their lawsuits. The case is on appeal.

The awards are based on a victim’s projected lifetime income combined with other factors such as number of children and minus money from sources such as life insurance.

Feinberg said he and his staff “will make every effort between now and Dec. 22 to encourage all eligible families to file with the fund.”

All claims are expected to be processed and paid by June 15, Feinberg said.

Facebook comments