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After 2 years, payments slow to come from 9/11 health fund; many waited to apply

The compensation program for people with health problems related to the Sept. 11 attacks is struggling to process a deluge of nearly 55,000 aid applications.

The administrator in charge of the Sept. 11th Victim Compensation Fund released a report Friday. It reveals that in two years, the fund has decided on compensation for only 112 people.

Less than 1 percent of the $2.78 billion appropriated by Congress has been awarded.

The slow pace has upset some advocates for the sick.

Fund special master Sheila Birnbaum says she recently boosted staff to relieve the bottleneck. The fund now employs 75 people, up from 31 a year ago.

Birnbaum says one big hurdle has been difficulty gathering required documents. Many people waited to apply until just before an October deadline.

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