— The Justice Department says new rules governing a fund to compensate victims of the 9/11 attacks will include a broader area around ground zero than was used during the first round of compensation.
The first compensation fund, administered by a special master, Ken Feinberg, paid more than $7 billion to survivors of the 2,880 people killed in the attacks and to 2,680 others who were injured either in the attacks or during rescue efforts. Congress then passed a law to reopen the program with new categories of benefits.
Now the new special master, Sheila Birnbaum, has prepared the rules to govern this new round, and they'll be published this week. They expand the definition of "crash site" more broadly than during the first effort. In Manhattan, they include an area south of Canal Street, in addition to the World Trade Center site itself, the Pentagon, and the area in Shanksville, Pa. where the fourth plane crashed.
"The Special Master has determined that individuals in the area of Manhattan south of Canal Street suffered an increased risk of harm as a result of the crashes, depending on the duration, timing, and amount of exposure. In addition to the dust that was present most heavily in the area south of Reade Street, there is also evidence suggesting that prolonged exposure to dust between Reade Street and Canal Street created a demonstrable risk of physical harm," the new rules say.
Some had urged the government to include an even broader area where dust drifted, including parts of Brooklyn. But, the rules say, "By the time the smoke cloud had reached other areas, such as Brooklyn, the particulate concentrations were significantly diluted."
The government will begin accepting claims under this new round of the compensation fund on Oct. 3rd.