Victims: Governor expedites death certificates
Accomodations to help victims and their families continue to take shape. Following the release of details of a victims' compensation package, the governor of New York announced Monday a change that will assist families in resolving insurance issues. (Full story)
Various companies had already committed to processing life insurance claims quickly, and the governor's action assures the same commitment from the state of New York.
A compensation package that President Bush signed into law this weekend addresses the long-term concerns of the families of air passengers killed in the hijackings on September 11. Until then, various agencies' personnel and government officials have offered interim assistance to victims and their families.(More information on the compensation package, burial expenses, life insurance, and student assistance)
New York's estimate of the number of missing persons is now 6,453 -- the number of confirmed dead is 276. Of those, 206 have been identified. Those numbers don't include the 157 people aboard both planes that crashed into the towers. The missing persons number is compiled from a variety of sources, including 4,136 families who reported their relatives missing, and may contain some duplicates.
The death toll in Pennsylvania is 44, and 189 at the Pentagon, including the 64 people who died on American Airlines Flight 77.
New York Gov. George Pataki signed an executive order Monday to speed receipt of death certificates from years to days. The new law is meant to help families settle estates, obtain access to assets and file insurance claims.
New York mayor Rudy Giuliani said lawyers would give families free legal advice on seeking death certificates.
Additionally, victims and their families -- if they give up their right to sue the airlines -- are to receive the equivalent of 20 years of salaries and additional financial aid, said Sen. Charles Schumer, a Democrat of New York.
"The federal government will make every family who lost someone or had someone injured whole," Schumer said.
"If you were a clerk who earned $30,000 a year and you had 20 years left, you'll get a lump sum payment of $30,000 a year for the next 20 years, plus the pain and suffering, plus the pension," he said.
During the weekend, New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said experts have given him very limited hope of the possibility of finding survivors in the World Trade Center rubble.
"I am told that there is very little hope, but that they wanted to wait two weeks," he told Wolf Blitzer on CNN's "Late Edition."
"We are still within that time frame," Giuliani said, "and the experts say there are still situations in which people have survived for this length of time."
Tuesday marks the 14th day of work in the debris at the site of the World Trade Center attack.
How will families who never receive remains achieve closure?
What might the lasting psychological effects be on survivors of the attacks?
What will be the toll on families affected by the mass airline industry layoffs resulting from the attacks?
How long will it take for relatives to receive confirmation of the fate of the missing? (Click here for more)
How will the remains pulled from the rubble be identified? (Click here for more)
For the families of thousands of New Yorkers, time is running out -- it's becoming harder almost by the hour now to believe that someone may be found alive in the tons of steel and concrete. While government agencies have rallied to offer financial support to individuals and businesses, the attacks leave an aching void in the lives of families and a sense of insecurity regarding the nation's safety.
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