Justice database to speed survivor payments

Justice database to speed survivor payments

The Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs is building a database to expedite the processing of compensation claims by survivors of police, fire and rescue workers killed in Tuesday's terrorist attacks.

Attorney General John Ashcroft announced the database as one of several steps to speed release of the $150,000 taxfree payments due to survivors from the Public Safety Officers Benefits Program. The office also will streamline approval of benefits applications by accepting blanket eligibility certifications from local law enforcement, fire and rescue agencies on behalf of their slain employees' survivors.

Ashcroft said the payments would provide 'a measure of relief to the husbands, wives and children' of the fallen, and serve as 'a small tribute to those who sacrificed so that others might be saved.' Family members also can receive educational benefits under the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968.

The attorney general added during an early afternoon press conference that the FBI tips site, at ifccfbi.gov, already has received more than 22,700 leads, thousands of which have prompted follow-up inquiries.

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