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Friday, October 15, 2021
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GAO Estimates Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund Catch-Up Payments

The U.S. Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund was established in 2015 to compensate people injured in acts of international state-sponsored terrorism. It allocated about $3.3 billion in payments across three rounds—in 2017, 2019, and 2020.

Certain 9/11 victims, spouses, and dependents became eligible for the Fund in 2019. Legislation in 2020 required the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to estimate the amount of “catch-up” payments—lump sums for newly eligible groups to align with payments that other 9/11 family members got in rounds 1 and 2. Such catch-up payments would still require authorization in law.

GAO estimated that these lump sum catch-up payments to 5,364 9/11 victims, spouses, and dependents would total about $2.7 billion. This amount would result in the proportion of payments provided for claims submitted by 9/11 victims, spouses, and dependents to be equal to the proportion of payments provided for claims submitted by 9/11 family members (for example, a nondependent sibling or parent). GAO estimated that the amount of payments that 9/11 family members received (about $1.2 billion), as a percentage of their net eligible claims during the first two rounds of the Fund distributions (about $19.7 billion), was 5.8573 percent. GAO applied the percentage to the net eligible claims of 9/11 victims, spouses, and dependents (about $45.3 billion) to estimate the lump sum catch-up payments.

GAO also estimated that, if authorized, lump sum catch-up payments to these 5,364 9/11 victims, spouses, and dependents would vary widely based on their net eligible claims and other factors, such as court awarded compensation related to the act of international terrorism that gave rise to a claimant’s final judgement. 

Estimated lump sum catch-up payments could vary across all groups, for example:

  • Victims: The minimum amount is $45,056 and maximum amount is $1,171,460, with an average of $445,634;
  • Spouses: The minimum amount is $281,601 and maximum amount is $732,163, with an average of $675,423; and
  • Dependents: The minimum amount is $179,644 and maximum amount is $497,871, with an average of $432,303.

GAO said payments would vary for individuals based on a number of factors, including, for example, compensation received by individuals from other sources, such as payments already paid on a claimant’s judgment and the amount of their net eligible claims.

Read the full report at GAO

Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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