9/11 fund makes first payments to sick responders


The lower Manhattan skyline shows One World Trade Center April 27, 2012, in New York. By Monday April 30, 2012, the rising steel frame of One World Trade Center is expected to become the tallest building in New York City and in the Western Hemisphere.



The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, set up by Congress, is making its first round of payments to fifteen first responders with respiratory problems.

The payments are earmarked for those who got sick after being exposed toxic dust at the World Trade Center after September 11, the Associated Press reported.

Fund administrator Sheila Birnbaum said Tuesday the payouts were approved for at least 16,000 applications and the first of those will go to mostly firefighters.

Compensation runs from $10,000 to $1.5 million for illness and economic losses, the AP wrote.

More from GlobalPost: Echoes of 9/11 in 2012

Birnbaum said the group were still living and none had developed cancer.

"We think we are off to a good start, and with the help of the lawyers and the claimants, we will be able to come up with a lot more awards in the coming months," Birnbaum said.

On the same day, five of those accused of planning the September 11 terrorist attacks did not appear at a pretrial hearing in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Voice of America reported.

The group face nearly 3,000 murder charges for the attacks on Washington and New York City, VOA said.