September 11 Digital Archive: XML Document
Dear Mr. Zwick:
You invited the public to comment on the Victims Compensation Fund. I am not just a member of the public, but one of the victim’s family members. My husband, , worked in Tower One of the World Trade Center and was killed on September 11, leaving behind me, his wife of 7 ½ years and two young sons, , age 3 (as of Nov. 8) and - only 6 days old at the time of the attack. My husband should have been home bonding with his new baby; instead, he was at work since 7 that morning. He was such a dedicated and hard-working young man. Look where it got him.
I know that you have received hundreds, if not thousands of individual comments regarding the Fund; however, I’d like to emphasize a few points that are important to me and many other victims’ families.
First, life insurance should NOT be deducted from any fund payments. My husband and many others were responsible estate planners and had the foresight to purchase additional life insurance in an effort to plan for their heirs. These men and women sacrificed and used their hard earned money to provide for their families. That money could have been used towards buying another car or to take a much deserved vacation; instead, our spouses chose to prepare for the future and take care of their families. Please do not lose sight of that fact.
Second, money donated by our fellow Americans to the various charities for the vicitms’ families should NOT be deducted from any fund payments. These charitable contributions were generously made as a goodwill gesture and provided a form of healing for both donor and recipient – it was the only way many people across the country knew how to help their fellow brothers and sisters. What a beautiful gesture – please don’t denigrate this wonderful symbol of patriotism and love. In addition, those legally responsible for this disaster should not benefit from the charity of the American public.
OPPORTUNITY TO BE HEARD
Each family deserves the right to be heard on an individual basis. Every family’s situation is different and we should not be lumped into one group. Please give us the opportunity to present evidence through our own testimony and the testimony of expert witnesses.
RIGHT TO APPEAL AND FORM OF PAYMENT
Any and all fund payments should be distributed as one lump sum which we will be able to invest in a manner suggested by our professional financial advisors. In addition, we should also have the opportunity to appeal a decision which we think to be unjust. The payment we receive from the fund will significantly affect us for the rest of our lives. By choosing to forgo separate litigation against the airlines, we are placing our lives in the hands of the special magistrate who should not have powers greater than a trial level judge, whose decisions are appealable.
YEARS TO BE CONSIDERED
Individuals of my husband’s age would be required to work until at least age 68 in order to receive full Social Security benefits. Moreover, since most individuals are no longer covered by defined benefit plans by their employers, it is necessary for them to work longer in order to save the funds necessary to provide an adequate income in their retirement. Accordingly, it is important that the award be determined by the earnings of the deceased over his entire working life to age 68 as it would have been had he survived.
Mr. Zwick, thank you for giving us the opportunity to be heard. We are living through the most horrific time of our lives and this at least gives us some form of comort, or control over our future – the ability to have some input on a bill that will affect us for the rest of our lives. Please remember us and our young families during these next few weeks.