9/11 payout to victims

Here we are at the 10th anniversary of 9/11, and through the years, I have asked many people WHY did the U.S. government spend our hard earned tax dollars, giving payouts to the victims and families of that event.

" The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund was created by an Act of Congress, the Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act (49 USC 40101),[1] shortly after 9/11 to compensate the victims of the attack (or their families) in exchange for their agreement not to sue the airline corporations involved." according to Wikipedia.

my question is WHY should we taxpayers care whether or not the airline corps. were sued or not? I would rather have their insurance companies compansate the victims and families, rather than the taxpayers.

Am I missing something here??

there are some in my circle of friends who INSIST that the reason is that the U.S. Government was complicit in SOME WAY, and thus wanted to avoid any deep questions about how or why these planes made their way into the twin towers (conspiracy lovers rejoice)

The potential litigation would have tied up billions of dollars amongst the airlines, airport authorities, and their insurers for years. Given the enormous drop-off in passenger air travel after the attacks, Congress felt it was in the national interest to try to forestall potential bankruptcies in the airline industry.

Let the airlines take the hit, rather than the taxpayer; it seems to have started a trend for the US to bail out anybody in trouble, such as GM, and then the banks and AIG, fanny and freddy mac. It isn’t going to end soon.

I heard somewhere these payouts were far more extensive than widely publicized, as in even people who resided near ground zero in New York state and New Jersey could file for funds for emotional disturbance or something like that. I know my sister’s husband received something as well but I couldn’t say from whom, he lives in Texas but is a traveling sales rep for Kodak(or was) and he had to fly out of NYC frequently so he claimed emotional disturbance and got some money for compensation.

Seems like for those in the know the whole event was well exploited.

Rather than the airlines, I would say sue the airports and their lack of security. In 1999, I went through LAX and set off the metal detector with my daughter’s stroller. I sttod there expecting them to wand me or the stroller and when they didn’t and I asked if they were going to do anything about it, they were sooooooo inconvinenced. I distinctly remember thinking to myself that to get anything through LAX, you merely had to put it under a stroller with a baby blanket over it

That seems extremely unlikely. The Victims Compensation Fund was specifically restricted by statute to the immediate families of people who were killed in the attacks.

There was a separate, private non-profit organization, set up by NY Community Trust, that did offer some grants and counseling services to people affected by the attacks. I’m sure it would have been possible to get a few bucks out of them if you worked at it.

I’m not trying to argue one way or another, but let’s remember the context of how the government compensation fund was established. It was part of the Air Transportation Safety and Stabilization Act passed a couple weeks after 9/11. There was a very great concern (rightly or wrongly) that lawsuits related to the airlines would not only take long periods of time to adjudicate, but would result in liabilities that were feared would bankrupt United and American Airlines, and have tremendous consequences to the whole airline industry. (I believe the argument was that if UA and AA were found liable for billions in damages, insurance companies would be on the hook, and the cost to insure other airlines would rise phenomenally, destabilizing the whole industry). Keep in mind that the law didn’t just create the victim compensation fund, it also established what was basically a loan program for airlines to keep them operating after the disaster; a program to defray the increased cost for insurance for the airlines; a delay in making the airlines pay certain taxes; and some other stuff. The victim fund was just once piece of a much larger proposal to stabilize the airline industry.

And as far as people claiming emotional distress and getting money from the government compensation fund, that is impossible. The eligibility for compensation was limited by law to people who were present at the sites of the attacks and suffered physical harm, or the dependents of such people. Like friedo said, there were lots of other “help the victims of 9/11” funds run by different organizations that were not the government that may have provided compensation to different sets of claims.

This is way off base. I worked on the recovery for nearly a year (dick-deep in debris, you might say) doing minimum 12-hour shifts (and frequently multiple days at a time). I’m not eligible for a nickel - nor would I request any compensation other than the paycheck I received, unless an illness was directly attributable to the event/recovery.

To the point of the OP, the government intervention via the VCF was a bailout of sorts. The $99 billion value of the towers, plus the additional buildings that went down, posed a serious threat to the insurance industry (not just the Liberty Mutuals, but the insurance companies - like Lloyd’s of London - that insure the insurance companies).

You also have to remember the social climate at the time. It’s easy now, when we feel safe and airlines are doing perfectly fine, to look back and say “the airlines should have taken the hit just to make a symbolic point”. But at the time people across the country thought they were at risk of dying in their own cities. People were terrified. Economists thought a severe recession was starting. There were fears the airline industry would collapse on its own, let alone if there’d been enormous lawsuits against them. The government’s major concern was keeping the country together, preventing social unrest, preventing the economy from collapsing. There was no significant federal deficit at that point like there is now, and $7 billion is almost a trifling figure for the US government anyway. There was no appetite to watch American 9/11 victims suing American airlines in acrimonious, protracted legal cases that could have brought down Americans companies and cost American jobs. No one was blaming the airlines and no one had a problem with pulling together to compensate the victims of the tragedy.

I don’t know how old you were when 9/11 happened, but if you were an adult you must have completely forgotten what it was like at the time.

I was not making a value judgement at all, if I offended you I’m sorry but you’ll notice I was not being critical of the payouts at all. I simply stated that it was more extensive than the OP stated, and that my sister’s husband got some money from somewhere(I honestly don’t know and doubt it was government sourced).

Oh and BTW you MIGHT be eligible as the fund was reopened to applications in October of 2011, you might want to apply just to check:

BTW my point about my sister’s husband was that not all of the funds were governmental, some were private some were employer based some insurance based. Not all the assistance came out of taxpayers pockets, not that there is a problem with that.

I was a 9-11 initial responder and I live in the WTC 'hood.

I only want to say this: Those 9-11 charities are frauds. And if I knew how to sue them I would.

Nobody political or in the press wants to touch the topic. I’ve only tried for years and years…

“Tuesdays Children” and the “Fealgood Foundation” damn near destroyed our lives.

Send in the trolls…

No offense taken.

There are pretty strong restrictions on terms like “first responder” (aka, “you have to be a fireman or cop”), and that was my point. I’m not unhappy about not getting a payout (I made good money on that job), but I do resent the minority of people who try to turn disaster into a profit opportunity. I’m not calling your brother in law one of those - I can understand how people could get skeeved out by what happened.

I hope you applied for workman’s comp. It covers illnesses that may pop up in the future. I got sick early on so I get a check. In NYS it is a whopping 400 bucks a week. (I’d rather have my old paycheck believe you me.) Oh and I believe there is some kind of payout to one’s family if you drop dead from a “9-11 related illness.”*

An example of this that I’m personally knowledgeable about goes like this:

I used to work in an ER during the height of the AIDS crisis, during which time a very bad mutation of TB showed up in a couple of NYC hospitals. A colleague picked it up or was exposed (I forget) and was immediately put on prophylactic treatment. He did not develop TB at the time but he did file for workman’s comp in the eventuality he did. See, it could pop up if he developed it later or became immuno-compromised by, say, radiation treatments. It was latent in his blood.

I didn’t know this when I was bitten by a psychotic 3yo – an event from which I carry Hep B titers but have yet to develop the disease.

And the PA who got a shot of blood in the eyeball from a patient with HIV–well I hope she did.

Anyway, I just want to give people the heads up.
*PTSD and cancer do not count as per the recent Zagroda act, which could be another thread.

A psychotic toddler with Hep B?:eek:

It took you seven months to reply? And I thought that I was a slow tpyist.

Deleted: Already addressed.


I would never ask for workman’s comp on a job that I no longer do that I was proud to do at the time. It wasn’t about money at the time, and it isn’t now. I don’t want the $400/month. They can keep it and give it to someone who legitimately got injured.

IMO, PTSD is overdiagnosed, establishing the “cause” of cancer is subjective at best, and many people simply want a hand out. And I’m not sniping at you, but but in the medical profession, I would call exposure to infectious disease a known liability. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be taken care of medically, but having Hep doesn’t take you out of the workforce. There are plenty of surgeons out there who stick their hands in people every day who are Hep positive, HIV positive, etc.

They pay the related medical bills. Not everybody can turn it down. YMMV and I respect that. I hope I helped a lurker.

I’m not a lurker, I’m here every day. And I also appreciate your opinion, but would also say that everyone who went down to the pile/hole (depending on when they were there) did so voluntarily and knowing that there were risks associated with it.

Should veteran’s hospitals be shut down? There’s no draft anymore.