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The claims process for the 9/11 Victim Fund will move even more slowly than it has, as a result of the surge in people registering to meet Thursday’s midnight deadline.

Those eligible for the federal fund include recovery workers and residents exposed to, and many who have gotten sick from, the toxic dust from the collapse of the twin towers after the attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

“The system, while slow and grueling, was working, but now with all of these people registering, those awaiting awards, and have claims in for months, if not a year, they’re going to have to wait longer, while they sift through all the registrations,” said John Feal, president and founder of the FealGood Foundation, which advocates for sick and dying first responders.

Feal estimates that between 15,000and 20,000 of the more than 40,000 people who have registered so far, have no health problems.

“It’s my hope that the special master and her team will streamline these cases because many responders are now financially destitute where they need this help from the government.

Those with certain types of cancer that were recently added to the list of covered diseases have at least one more year to register.

“I just hope those who get sick, get compensated for it, because everybody was there in the spirit of helping,” said PIX 11 photojournalist Dave Kimmel, who worked for months at Ground Zero, helping to bring information to our viewers.