Attorney General Statement Regarding Proposed Changes To The Victims Compensation Fund

I am pleased that the Department of Justice and Special Master Kenneth Feinberg have made some changes to the Victims Compensation Fund to address concerns I raised on behalf of the families of the victims of the terrorist attacks on September 11th. By increasing overall compensation, extending the time period for injured victims to seek medical care, and ensuring that victims and their families have a full hearing on the impact of their loss, the proposed changes will provide significant assistance to families.

I am also pleased by Special Master Feinberg's statement that undocumented aliens are eligible, like any other American family, to file without fear of prosecution.

However, I am disappointed that the new rules, among other issues, failed to ensure that domestic partners and fiancees will be eligible for awards, even though these individuals should be compensated for their tragic losses. The new rules also place an unduly high burden of proof on all claimants who seek to submit evidence of their individualized losses.

My office will continue to assist victims and their families who seek to receive compensation from the federal compensation fund, and from private charities offering assistance to those who are not eligible under these final regulations. Claimants should recognize the significant risks of moving ahead with litigation, and give very serious thought to participating in the Fund.