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Airline bailout bill guarantees aid to victims' families

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A provision in the airline bailout bill passed by the Senate guarantees full financial compensation to families of victims of the attacks on the World Trade Center if they give up their right to sue the federal government.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, said in a statement that he inserted the provision with Sens. Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, and Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont. The Senate passed the bill Friday.

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President Bush signed into law the emergency aid package for the airline industry Saturday.

Families of victims can file claims with the federal government to recover wages that would have gone to the missing and the dead and to receive compensation for the victims' pain and suffering, Schumer said.

"There is very little solace anyone can provide the families who lost loved ones in last week's heinous terrorist attacks," he said.

"So in place of solace, we can at least try to offer them financial security."

Under the bill, families who lost loved ones can get money by filing claims with the federal government showing the financial impact of the attacks on the victims.

They will include economic factors such as lost wages and noneconomic factors such as pain and suffering.

A special master appointed by the Justice Department then will review the claims and determine how much money each family will get.

The legislation requires the claims be paid within five months of the date the application is filed.

But families participating in the program must waive their right to sue in federal court.

Payments would be offset by other benefits, such as life insurance or pension plans.

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