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
5,629 individual benefit claims from 2,281 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 Social Security survivors
benefits. Social Security is currently paying monthly benefits
to 2,375 surviving children and 853 surviving spouses. In addition
to monthly benefits, one-time payments were made to 1,800 members
of victims’ families.
Disability Benefits: When a worker is
unable to work due to a disability that lasts or may be expected
to last at least one year or to result in death, the disabled
worker and certain family members may be eligible for Social Security
disability benefits. Social Security is currently paying monthly
benefits to 498 individuals disabled by the terrorist attacks
of September 11th and 81 of their dependent spouses
Nearly $67 million in benefits have been paid to people affected
by the September 11, 2001 tragedies.
The first payments to surviving family members (benefits for
the month of September) were paid on October 3, 2001.
As of August 2003, Social Security is paying more than $3 million
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