Although financial relief
for the survivors of those killed in last week's terrorist attacks may total
in the hundreds of millions of dollars, some families now stand to receive
no more than $30,000 in direct aid.
While millions in public
and private funds are flowing to the relief effort, much of it is committed
to families of firefighters or the children of airline passengers who may
have fought with hijackers, according to The New York Times.
have long been in place for the families of firefighters and police officers
who die in the line of duty. A federal program provides a lump sum of more
than $150,000 to the family of each "first responder" who died in
the catastrophe, the newspaper reported. Surviving spouses of New York emergency
workers - but not paramedics, under current law - receive a lifetime tax-free
pension equal to the last year's earnings, plus health insurance.
In contrast, kitchen
workers at Windows on the World restaurant at the top of the Trade Center
have $15,000 life insurance policies, and their families' union health insurance
will end in November.
The financial circumstances
of the families left by the 5,000 missing people depend greatly on their employers,
and on the employees' own planning. Officials say planning has begun to coordinate
where the funds will go, but are awaiting word on how much of the $40 billion
in promised federal aid will flow to victims' families.
Ken Curtin, a Red Cross
employee who coordinates private relief efforts for the Federal Emergency
Management Agency, told the Times that agencies must be careful. Certain government
benefits may be forfeited if private charity is provided. "I don't see
any lack of private funds to get people taken care of," Curtin said.
"It looks like it's all a matter of good organization now, and not a
matter of resources."
Every victim is eligible
for support from the New York Crime Victims Board, no other resources are
available. As a safety net of last resort for the disaster's victims and their
families, the board will provide up to $600 a week in lost income, to a maximum