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Thread: Big gaps found in 9/11 benefits

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    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    Big gaps found in 9/11 benefits

    Big gaps found in 9/11 benefits
    Emergency workers' kin get 7 times that of others

    Copyright 2002 Gannett Company, Inc.
    USA TODAY...08/19/2002

    Martin Kasindorf

    Families of New York City emergency workers killed at Ground Zero are receiving seven times as much money from charitable funds as others who died in the Sept. 11 attacks, according to a USA TODAY analysis.

    About 3,400 people died or were seriously injured in the attacks. An analysis of donations distributed so far shows a wide gap between million-dollar gifts to families of the 403 firefighters, police officers and ambulance crews members and gifts to others.

    Families of firefighters and ambulance personnel who died at the World Trade Center are receiving an average $ 1,037,000 in tax-free cash. The money is intended for food, housing costs and other living expenses, but it can be used for anything. For families of the 23 New York police officers who died: $ 929,000. The totals do not include federal payments of $ 250,000 received by all public-safety workers killed in the line of duty.

    In contrast, the injured and relatives of the others who died in New York, Arlington, Va., and Shanksville, Pa., are averaging $ 146,000.

    If they resent the unequal treatment, families receiving smaller amounts don't express it. Rescuers "went running in when everyone else was running out," says David Gordenstein of Boston, whose wife, Lisa Fenn Gordenstein, died aboard American Airlines Flight 11. "Let their families be well."

    Donors created the imbalance by giving to charities formed just to aid uniformed rescue workers, says Nicole Elkon of 9-11 United Services Group, a consortium of 13 charities. "The public seemed to want to make sure that uniformed families were more taken care of than other people," Elkon says.

    But Daniel Borochoff, president of the watchdog American Institute for Philanthropy, accuses charities of flocking to a popular cause and implying that rescuers' spouses faced destitution. In fact, spouses receive lifetime, tax-free continuation of their loved one's base salaries from the city until they remarry. That's generally about $ 50,000 a year.

    "We lost track of the point of charity on Sept. 11, and that is to provide for needs," Borochoff says.

    Stephen Dannhauser, president of the New York Police & Fire Widows' & Children's Benefit Fund, says that "over time, some of the disparity will disappear."

    That's because of a Justice Department fund to compensate all families of victims -- including emergency workers. The average award is expected to be $ 1.85 million. Families of high-income victims may receive $ 4 million or more. These awards will be reduced by the value of pensions and life insurance that families receive. But the charitable money will not be deducted.

    Another $ 1 billion in charity funds remains to be given out, but little of that will go directly to surviving family members; much will be given to displaced workers and residents in Lower Manhattan.



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    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
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    FAMILIES' FISCAL FURY

    FAMILIES' FISCAL FURY

    By ALY SUJO


    August 20, 2002 -- Stunned families of 9/11 victims yesterday said they were outraged by reports that survivors of emergency workers received seven times more money from charity than those of civilians killed in the World Trade Center attacks.

    On the heels of the greatest charity drive in U.S. history, the families of firefighters and ambulance attendants have received an average of $1,037,000 and police officers' families about $900,000.

    But the kin of non-emergency workers killed at Ground Zero have received only about $146,000, according to an analysis by USA Today.

    "This is like a bolt of lightning," said Jennie Farrell of Wantagh, L.I., whose 26-year-old brother James worked at the World Trade Center.

    "I'm still living with the pain every day, and this doesn't help. Regardless of their profession, they all paid the ultimate sacrifice."

    She added, "My brother was murdered for his country, and he died a hero," she said. "He was a civilian, but he was also a hero, just as much as anyone. My question to the charities is,

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