September 11 Digital Archive: XML Document
Tuesday, November 27, 2001 11:14 AM
FW: September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001
TO: Kenneth L. Zwick, Director, Office of Management Programs, U.S.
Department of Justice
FROM: widow of Fire
Department of New York
RE: September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001
Dear Mr. Zwick:
My comments relate to the implications of the two paragraphs copied below.
It is in the best interest of the victims families that compensation be
disbursed on the basis of objective, equitable formulas that take into the
number and ages of dependents, future educational expenses for children, and
regional costs of living. The data the go into these determinations, and the
presumptive awards, should definitely be communicated to the families to aid in
their decisions to file. Knowledge is empowering, secrecy is demoralizing. (An
unfortunate side effect is that speculation about these figures by the media
tends to generates much unwanted "advice" and in some cases "envy" directed
toward the families)
My husband worked for the for 17 years, rising to
the rank of Lieutenant of . We have
two young children, and I also work full-time. My husband's salary as a civil
servant was modest, and he needed to work a second job to supplement our incomes
in order to live in the New York City area (we reside in the Bronx). Despite
his low salary, he took great comfort in knowing that his benefits were
outstanding. He paid the maximum into optional life insurance, deferred
compensation retirement, and disability programs. He planned very well "for the
future," with the knowledge that something adverse could happen to him.
I am very concerned that compensation from "collateral sources" that my husband
procured on our behalf, through the very hazardous nature of his work and good
financial planning, will be subtracted from funds awarded to our family. My
children are 6 and 8, and there is a long road ahead of us with unforeseeable
expenses. I expect all families to be treated fairly, and not penalized for
benefits they earned prior to the tragic events of September 11.
New York, NY
Extracted from Victim Compensation Fund summary:
Topic #6: Nature and Amount of Compensation.
Section 405(b) of the statute indicates that the Special Master shall determine
the amount of compensation based on "the harm to the claimant, the facts of the
claim, and the individual circumstances of the claimant." Yet each of the
perhaps thousands of determinations must be made in a very short period of time.
Moreover, such determinations should be founded on consistent and clear
principles that treat each claimant fairly. The Department invites comments that
identify the practical means to achieve these results all within the very short
time period that Congress has permitted. Among other topics, the Department
would welcome comment on whether and how schedules or statistical methodologies
should be developed and used in reaching a determination for each claimant
within the mandated time period. In addition, comments are welcomed on whether
publication of such schedules or hypothetical or presumptive awards for classes
of individuals would assist potential claimants in determining whether to file.
Collateral Sources: Section 405(b)(6) provides that the Special Master shall
reduce the amount of compensation by the amount of the collateral source
compensation the claimant has received or is entitled to receive as a result of
the terrorist-related aircraft crashes of September 11, 2001. The Department
invites comments on how to determine what constitutes a "collateral source" for
purposes of this provision, and other related issues. For example, the
Department appreciates the strong policy reasons for excluding charitable
contributions from the definition of "collateral sources" and invites comment
regarding whether the Act indeed permits the Department to exclude such
contributions from the definition. Similarly, the Department invites comments on
whether "in kind" and/or material contributions could or should be considered
collateral sources. Finally, the Department invites comments on how to determine
whether potential future collateral source payments are ones that individuals
are "entitled to receive" for purposes of Section 405(b)(6).
e-mailed on 11/21/01 to:
Kenneth L. Zwick, Director, Office of Management Programs, Civil Division, U.S.
Department of Justice, Main Building, Room 3140, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW,
Washington, DC 20530