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September 11, 2002

Jim Courtney, Press Officer

For Immediate Release

410-965-8904 FAX 410-966-9973

Social Security Online


News Release

Social Security and September 11th: One Year Later

  • Social Security is America’s family protection plan. It is more than a retirement program; it provides valuable survivors and disability protection for workers and their families.

  • As a result of September 11th, Social Security received 5,375 individual benefit claims from 2,060 families. Most of the assistance went to family members of those killed in the terrorist attacks. However, Social Security also helped workers get disability and retirement benefits.

    • Survivors Benefits: When a worker dies, certain surviving family members may be eligible for benefits. Social Security is currently paying monthly benefits to 2,376 surviving children and 852 surviving spouses. In addition to monthly benefits, one-time payments were made to 1,800 members of victims’ families.

  • Nearly $31 million in benefits have been paid to people affected by the September 11th tragedies.

  • The first payments to surviving family members (benefits for the month of September) were paid on October 3, 2001.

  • As of August 2002, Social Security is paying more than $2.9 million per month.

  • More than $30.8 million has been paid from September 2001 through August 2002.

  • Social Security responded to the September 11th terrorist attacks by activating special emergency procedures to give the fastest possible service to the families of the victims of the tragedies at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania.

    • These procedures allowed for acceptance of documents as proof of death that, under other circumstances, would not have been accepted. Airplane manifests, lists of employees furnished by employers and other statements that placed the worker at the scene of the attacks were accepted.

    • Social Security employees helped families at special assistance centers that were established in New York, Arlington, VA, and Shanksville, PA


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