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Social Security and Workers' Compensation Aid September 11 Terror Victims

Existing Social Insurance Programs Prove Reliable, Equipped to Handle Disasters

For Immediate Release: March 11, 2002

Contact: Jill Braunstein, (202) 452-8097

WASHINGTON, DC – Social Security and workers' compensation are not best known as life insurance programs. But, on September 11, they were ready to help families of workers killed in the terrorist attacks, according to a report released today by the National Academy of Social Insurance.

“The first benefit checks were mailed to victims' families on October 3, 2001, less than one month after the attacks,” said Beatrice Disman, Regional Commissioner of the New York Region of the Social Security Administration (SSA). "Social Security is more than a retirement package; It is America's family protection program.”

As of early March, more than 3,000 people nationwide were receiving Social Security as a result of the September 11th terrorist attacks. More than 2,300 of these were children. Workers' compensation claims in New York State involving a worker's death in the terrorist attacks total over 2,200 – more than four times the yearly average for the state.

“Governor Pataki and the workers' compensation system in New York responded swiftly to the challenges posed by the September 11th attacks,” said Robert Snashall, Chairman of the New York State Workers' Compensation Board. “Through Executive Orders and Board resolutions, we amended key claims procedures to ensure that families and workers injured at the World Trade Center would get and will continue to get their benefits as quickly as possible without interrupting services for other claims being processed across the state.”

“Although Social Security and workers' compensation are in place to help families during normal times, the tragedy of September 11th reminds us how important their life insurance component is to American families,” said Virginia Reno, Vice President for Research at the National Academy of Social Insurance. “These programs will continue to help the victims' families for many years.”

Read the full text of "Social Insurance for Survivors: Family Benefits from Social Security and Workers' Compensation," Social Security Brief No. 12.

The National Academy of Social Insurance (www.nasi.org) is America's only private, non-partisan resource center made up of the nations' leading experts on Social Security, Medicare, workers' compensation and other public and private programs. Its mission is to enhance public understanding of social insurance by conducting research, developing new leaders, and providing a non-partisan forum for exchange of ideas on important issues in the field.