The federal fund for people with illnesses related to the Sept. 11 attacks said Friday it has been able to issue compensation decisions to only 112 people out of nearly 55,000 who have applied so far.
Anyone who worked on lived near the World Trade Center on or after Sept. 11 and was exposed to the toxic dust is eligible to sign up ahead of the Oct. 3 deadline.
Their payouts range from $10,000 to $1.5 million. It will be years, though, before the group sees all that money.
More than 1,600 people who filed lawsuits claiming that their health was ruined by dust and smoke from the collapsed World Trade Center must decide by Jan. 2 whether to keep fighting in court, or drop the litigation and apply for benefits from a government compensation fund.
The fund is intended to help people who became ill after working at ground zero and others whose sicknesses can be tied to the site. Residents, workers and those whose claims to the first fund were denied can apply beginning today.