The $2.8 billion victim-compensation fund the U.S. government created years ago to aid victims suffering health problems from working on site following the September 11 terrorist attacks is set to give out its first awards, reported The Wall Street Journal.
The first awards, ranging from $10,000 to $1.5 million, will go to 14 firefighters and one corrections officer, all of whom suffered respiratory problems, officials said.
However, of the more than 16,000 people who have registered with the fund, fewer than 100 of them have completed all the necessary paperwork, raising concerns that low enrollment may undercut the amount of money fund officials originally estimated for the program.
As of last week, the fund had received 194 compensation applications, reported the paper.
"Most of them are incomplete—even though they've been submitted, they haven't provided all of the information," said Sheila Birnbaum, a New York attorney overseeing the fund.
Of the $2.8 billion fund allocation, the government makes available $875 million during the fund's first five years. This structure informs the fund’s current award amounts total award. The government then distributes subsequent payments over the years to reach those amounts.
Birnbaum pointed out that fewer registrations would mean recipients would get only 10 percent of their total award initially, until the program ascertains a better idea on how many people ultimately will apply.