State officials are writing new rules to help families receive death benefits more quickly if a loved one is killed in a terrorist attack, and no body can be found. Marti Anderson, the director of Iowa’s Victim Assistance Bureau, was among the volunteer counselors at Ground Zero after the September 11th attacks. Anderson says many of the families who had loved ones die in the World Trade Center didn’t have a body to prove their husband, wife, father, mother, brother or sister was dead. That made it impossible to get a death certificate to deal with mortgages, life insurance and other financial matters, but New York officials quickly speeded up the process for getting a death certificate when a body cannot be produced. Other states, including Iowa, are following suit. Jill France, the head of Iowa’s Bureau of Vital Statistics, says Iowa’s process will be similar to New York’s. In the case of the World Trade Center, employers provided written information showing certain employees were to be at work on a specific floor. In other cases, family or friends signed affidavits and provided written information to prove a death occurred. France says while the new rules were written with a terrorist act in mind, they could prove helpful to families who lose loved ones in a natural disaster, fire or drowning.
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