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Compensation Deadline Arrives for Families of September 11 Victims - 2003-12-22


Families of victims of the September 11 attacks on the United States have until Monday at midnight to file for compensation from the federal government.

The head of the fund, Kenneth Feinberg, says about 92 percent of the victims' families have requested the compensation.

So far, authorities have paid out nearly $1.5 billion, with an average payout at $1.8 million per victim.

The amount of the award varies, based on factors such as the victim's salary and number of dependents. The fund also compensates those who sustained injuries in the attacks.

The fund has been criticized as the government's attempt to ward off costly lawsuits against airlines and security agencies. But only a few families have opted to file suit instead of taking the payment. Some say they feel a lawsuit is the only way to gain public access to documents that could explain how the attacks happened.

Two thousand nine hundred seventy-six people died in the attacks in 2001, when hijackers crashed planes into New York's World Trade Center, the Pentagon outside Washington, D.C., and a field in Pennsylvania.

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