WELCOME TO THE U.S. VICTIMS OF STATE SPONSORED TERRORISM FUND WEBSITE


A Message from USVSST Fund Special Master Mary Patrice Brown

December 19, 2023

As I complete my third year serving as the Special Master of the U.S. Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund, I wanted to take a moment to reflect upon the hardship and loss that victims of international terrorism and their families must face every day. We will never forget those whose lives have been lost, those who suffered injuries, and families who have been forced to deal with horrific trauma and loss. My team and I take inspiration from the strength, courage, and resilience of the individuals we serve, and we want to share with you some of the results of our efforts to carry out our mission of providing compensation to victims of state-sponsored terrorism and their families, as mandated by our statute.

Since the Fund was established by Congress in 2015, over $6 billion has been paid out to eligible victims, and while we know that no amount of compensation could ever repair what was lost for those devastated by acts of international terrorism, my dedicated team and I continue to work to ensure that all available funds reach victims and their families.

I authorized the Fund’s fourth distribution in December 2022, and, in early 2023, the Fund issued over 90 percent of eligible claimants’ fourth-round payments. Apart from that statutory distribution, in accordance with the Fairness for 9/11 Families Act, in April 2023, the Fund informed eligible 9/11‑related claimants of their lump sum catch‑up payment amounts. The Fund issued over 90 percent of these payments within one month. Overall, the total compensation paid by the Fund to victims of international terrorism and their families to date exceeds $6 billion.

The Fund continues to accept applications to be considered for future payment rounds, the timing of which will depend on the availability of funds. As of December 19, 2023, I have notified 1,745 new claimants that they are eligible, bringing the total number of claimants eligible for future distributions to 17,514. Of those, 12,225 are 9/11 victims and their family members, and 5,289 claimants have claims related to other acts of terrorism.

In addition to issuing payments and processing claims as efficiently as possible, the Fund responds to requests for information from the Comptroller General, Government Accountability Office in preparation for authorizing lump sum catch‑up payments for eligible 1983 Beirut barracks bombing victims and 1996 Khobar Towers bombing victims in accordance with the Fund’s governing statute.

My team and I continue to address the challenges to better serving our claimant population. We are in the process of overhauling our claims processing system, which will be better suited to handle the large number of claims that we have received and continue to receive. We are also working to improve our website, www.usvsst.com, to provide a better user experience and more detailed information about Fund operations, including more information about qualifying case deposits. In 2023, we collected more than $44 million from civil and criminal cases. We provide a chart of all qualifying deposits by year and type, starting from 2016, on this website.

I am very proud of the work of the dedicated team at the Fund. I am confident that in 2024 my team and I will continue to meet the challenges of processing and paying claims promptly, fairly, and transparently. We hope that each payment made to the victims of international terrorism can be a step closer to bringing them some semblance of justice.

Sincerely,

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Mary Patrice Brown
Special Master, U.S. Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund


About the U.S. Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund

The Justice for United States Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Act (the “Act”), 34 U.S.C. § 20144, as amended, provides for the establishment and administration of the USVSST Fund to provide compensation to certain U.S. persons who were injured in acts of international state-sponsored terrorism. Mary Patrice Brown serves as the Special Master of the USVSST Fund.

The USVSST Fund may compensate eligible United States persons who:

  • hold a final judgment issued by a United States district court awarding the applicant compensatory damages arising from acts of international terrorism for which a foreign state sponsor of terrorism was found not immune from the jurisdiction of the courts of the United States under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act;
  • were taken and held hostage from the United States Embassy in Tehran, Iran, during the period beginning November 4, 1979, and ending January 20, 1981, and certain of their spouses and children; or
  • are the personal representative of a deceased individual in those categories.

In general, the Act requires claimants to submit applications not later than 90 days after the date of obtaining a qualifying final judgment.

The USVSST Fund continues to collect qualifying deposits for potential future payment rounds. Victims and their family members can be assured that their claims will be processed promptly, fairly, and transparently. The USVSST Fund updates this website as further information becomes available.


July 3, 2023 Special Master Announcement Regarding Future Payment Rounds (click to expand)

The Special Master has determined that there will be insufficient funds to authorize an additional round of payments by January 1, 2024.

The USVSST Fund continues to work diligently to identify matters that qualify for deposit and to accumulate deposits. This chart provides information about the qualifying case deposits accumulated by the USVSST Fund. If sufficient funds are available for a distribution to all eligible claimants, the Special Master authorizes payments by January 1, the annual statutory date by which to do so.

Accordingly, if sufficient funds are available, the Special Master will authorize the next round of payments by January 1, 2025 or in subsequent years, until the USVSST Fund sunsets in 2039.

The USVSST Fund continues to accept applications to be considered for future payment rounds, the timing of which will depend on the availability of funds. In general, claimants must submit applications not later than 90 days after the date of obtaining the final judgment. The USVSST Fund will announce the deadline to submit applications for consideration for fifth round payments at a later time.

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Distributions to All Eligible Claimants (click to expand)

Distributions to All Eligible Claimants

The USVSST Fund has paid over $3.3 billion to eligible claimants in four rounds of payments. The number of eligible claimants has grown with each distribution.

Special Master Mary Patrice Brown authorized fourth‑round payments for all eligible claims by January 1, 2023. On December 30, 2022, the USVSST Fund issued letters to eligible claimants specifying their fourth‑round payment amounts. The USVSST Fund issues the payments on a rolling basis, and issued over 90 percent in early 2023.

The total amount available for the fourth distribution was $100 million. The USVSST Fund’s governing statute required the USVSST Fund to divide this amount in half, allocating 50 percent ($50 million) for 9/11‑related claimants’ payments, and the other 50 percent ($50 million) for non‑9/11‑related claimants’ payments.

Claim Statistics* Total
Number of eligible claimants from the first four distributions eligible for future distributions 15,769
Number of newly eligible claimants for future distributions 1,745
Total number of eligible claimants 17,514

Total number of 9/11‑related eligible claimants 12,225
Total number of non‑9/11‑related eligible claimants 5,289

* Data in these tables is accurate as of the date of posting. Data posted later may differ as the USVSST Fund and claimants update claim information.


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*Updated* Lump Sum Catch‑Up Payments (click to expand)

Lump Sum Catch‑Up Payments

In addition to distributions to all eligible claimants, the USVSST Fund’s governing statute provides for separate lump sum catch‑up payments to two sub‑groups of claimants. See FAQs 7.1 – 7.4.

9/11‑Related Lump Sum Catch‑Up Payments: The Fairness for 9/11 Families Act directed the Special Master to make payments in amounts equal to those calculated by the Comptroller General, Government Accountability Office (see GAO report here). In April 2023, the USVSST Fund informed the eligible sub-group of 9/11‑related claimants of their lump sum catch‑up payment amounts, and issued over 90 percent of the payments within one month.

1983 Beirut barracks bombing and 1996 Khobar Towers bombing victims: The Fairness for 9/11 Families Act also directed GAO to conduct an audit to determine proposed lump sum catch‑up payments to certain of these victims, who must have submitted applications to the USVSST Fund by June 27, 2023. GAO published a notice in the Federal Register related to proposed lump sum catch‑up payments on December 28, 2023. Until the on-going GAO audit process is complete, the Special Master and the USVSST Fund cannot predict the Comptroller General’s determination of these amounts, nor the resulting timing of the payments.

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Reminders to Claimants (click to expand)

Reminders to Claimants

Claimants must meet all USVSST Fund requirements to receive their allocated payment amounts. This includes curing outstanding deficiencies, if any. This website provides additional information in the Direct Deposit and Payment FAQs and the general FAQs, including FAQ 4.25. There is no guarantee that eligible claimants will receive the full allocated amount, or that payments will be issued immediately.

All claimants have a continuing obligation to update claim information, including informing the USVSST Fund of any compensation from any source other than this Fund not previously disclosed, as well as significant developments involving the final judgment or other facts affecting eligibility. See Notice to Update Claim Information.

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Last Updated on January 23, 2024.