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9/11 fund makes 1st payments to sick responders, but bulk of cash won't be released for years

A special fund set up by Congress is making its first payments to people who got sick after being exposed to toxic dust at the World Trade Center following Sept. 11.

A group of 15 first responders with respiratory problems will be the first to get awards from the 9/11 victim compensation fund.

Their payouts range from $10,000 to $1.5 million.

It will be years, though, before the group sees all that money.

Officials don't yet know how many people will apply for aid from the $2.78 billion fund, or the severity of their illnesses.

That means they can't yet calculate each person's share.

So for now, applicants are getting only 10 percent of their award.

The remainder won't be paid until after the fund closes to new applicants in 2016.

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