WASHINGTON - (AP) - The Justice Department says a $2.78 billioncompensation fund for ground zero workers and others experiencinglong-term health effects from the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacksis now open for claimants to register.

Created by Congress, the fund is designed to help peoplesuffering from lung disease and other respiratory ailmentsconnected to the tons of caustic dust that blanketed lowerManhattan after the collapse of the twin towers.

As of Monday, victims are able to register online and receive achecklist of documents and information needed to accompany theirclaim submissions. They also can access a list of frequently askedquestions on the fund's website, The fund will begin accepting claims through the website nextmonth. Staffers also will offer seminars on how to submit claims.