Victims: Red Cross provides family grants
The American Red Cross has begun sending overnight checks to families whose relatives died in the September 11 terrorist attacks. Already more than $500,000 has been distributed. The organization's gift to more than 6,000 families will total $100 million.
Meanwhile New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani relayed details of how families whose relatives are missing and presumed dead in the World Trade Center attack can begin securing death certificates quickly.
New York's estimate of the number of missing persons is now 6,398 -- the number of confirmed dead is 287. Of those, 224 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.
The first batch of tax-free checks from the Red Cross began arriving early this week to help families with mortgage payments and funeral costs. The organization's Liberty Fund will help pay for repatriation of bodies and allow relatives living abroad to attend memorial services, Reuters reported.
Domestic and international families can claim assistance under four categories -- rent and mortgage payments, daily expenses, funeral-related costs and additional expenses. The Red Cross has pared down its paperwork to a single form.
The size of the payments depends on the number of dependents that a victim had. Families are eligible for three months of rent or mortgage payments up to $5,000 and daily expenses, such as food, transportation and clothing, calculated on cost-of-living data for Washington and New York, and then multiplied by the number of family members, according to Reuters.
The grants, for now, are not available to families who died aboard the hijacked planes because the airlines are making provisions for them, The Associated Press reported.
Victims and their families -- if they give up their right to sue the airlines -- are to receive the equivalent of 20 years of salary and additional financial aid, said U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York. (Full story)
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 by the hour 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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