From wikipedia here is their story:
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund was created by an Act of Congress, the Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act (49 USC 40101), shortly after 9/11 to compensate the victims of the attack (or their families) in exchange for their agreement not to sue the airline corporations involved. Kenneth Feinberg was appointed by Attorney General John Ashcroft to be Special Master of the fund. He worked for 33 months pro bono. He developed the regulations governing the administration of the fund and administered all aspects of the program.
Feinberg was responsible for making the decisions on how much each family of a victim would receive. Feinberg had to estimate how much each victim would have earned in a full lifetime. If a family accepted the offer, it was not possible to appeal. Families unhappy with the offer were able to appeal in a nonadversarial,Official Fund website (archived) informal hearing to present their case however they wanted. Feinberg personally presided over more than 900 of the 1,600 hearings. At the end of the process $7 billion was awarded to 97% of the families; the average payout was $1.8 million. A non-negotiable clause in the acceptance papers for the settlements was that the families were to never file suit against the airlines for any lack of security or otherwise unsafe procedures.The United States has never even dreamed of compensating the families of American servicemen on such a lavish scale. It's hard to argue that it would be ruinously expensive either since the dead and wounded from our post 9/11 wars would barely rise to the level of Congressional awareness. More, it would impart some sense of urgency from the political masters of the nation's Armed Forces to preserve American soldier's lives at virtually any expense and we would see very different Rules of Engagement. I don't expect to see anything like this. It's not why people serve their country. Such thinking never was.
What concerns me a little bit though is that Congress established a precedent for rewarding the victims of muslim terrorism in New York City, but failed to follow the same path when it came to dealing with the aftermath of the Fort Hood mass murders carried out by a muslim terrorist. That might be due to an urgent desire on their part to extinguish the idea that the people of the United States owe anything to the victims of terrorism on our shores. After all, the Supreme Court has found that the police have "no duty" to protect citizens against violent criminals even if police officers are right there at the scene of the crime and afraid to come to an unarmed citizen's defense.
I wonder what will happen when the terrorists lay their hands on a weapon of mass destruction and use it against New York City or Washington DC. A competent attack carried out with working weapons of mass destruction will kill on the order of 100 times as many civilians as were killed on 9/11. Will those killed by muslim terrorists on 9/11 remain special victims or does every American victim of muslim terrorism deserve a payout from US?
Were one to look back at the fortunes of those who signed the Declaration of Independence one would find that we were terribly pragmatic in the early days of the Republic. They were orders of magnitude smarter and more honest than our present ruling class who have given up on even trying to pay off the national debts. The new bunch have bought into the idea that owing trillions isn't a problem for them; their failure to pay is a problem for others. At the current rate of debt payment, your great great grandchildren still won't be paying off the national debt, they'll only be paying interest on it.
History is stuffed to bursting with the fate of nations that failed to pay their debts. It's a transitory problem if you count in centuries.