Just days before the November 23 deadline for BP oil spill claims to be filed as emergency relief claims, processing of existing emergency claims has slowed to a halt. Of the handled claims, many report having claims denied or only receiving a small fraction of their requested claim amount – as little as “pennies on the dollar” in some cases. This leaves many Gulf Coast residents and businesses with filed claims wondering when, or if, they’ll get paid.
You can file an oil spill claim for 3 years
Remember the November 23 deadline is only in regards to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility emergency payment claims, you can file an oil spill claim for the next 3 years with them and they would still have to process your claim. Also if you contact an attorney he would be able to file your claim against BP for you. This November 23 deadline is only a deadline that the Gulf coast facility has instituted for the emergency claim payment.
All eyes are on the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (or GCCF), the organization tasked with distributing the $20 billion of BP money earmarked for BP spill victims. Pressure is also on Kenneth Feinberg, the claims administrator in charge of the process. Since starting his run as overseer for the BP oil spill claims process, Feinberg has undergone significant scrutiny. Most recently, Alabama attorney general Troy King made public an accusation that Feinberg is actually in BP’s pocket – to the tune of $850,000 per month. While no facts have emerged on this claim, Mr. Feinberg has also declined several opportunities to comment on or refute AG King’s accusation.
Do your need an attorney if your claim does not get paid
In the event that Feinberg or other members of the GCCF were biased towards BP, it could potentially spell trouble for spill victims. Unfair handling or other loopholes designed to deprive victims of legitimate claims money is part of the reason a third party claims administrator was brought in in the first place, and not left in the hands of BP. In recent weeks, GCCF representatives have gone on record to say that the claims process has been slowed due to the organization being inundated with fraudulent oil spill claims.
BP Claim Payments delays again
Whatever the reason for the delays, many BP oil spill claims are currently going unhandled. With the clock ticking down on November 23rd’s deadline, nearly half a million emergency claims have been filed. According to data found on the GCCF’s website, there were 406,911 claims as of November 19th. Of these, only about 120,000 have been paid so far. More troubling, over 60,000 claims have been denied – more than 50% of the number of paid claims. The GCCF also claims that nearly 150,000 of the claims they’ve received had no accompanying documentation or require additional documentation before they’re processed.
Of the claims requiring additional documentation, there may be some internal confusion on their handling process. In an article on News Vindication, small business owner Jeff Whittaker said, “I filed a business claim the first week in October and have gone back and forth with the GCCF on what documents they need.” The Gulf Breeze, FL man also said, “I’ve contacted them by phone by email and gone down to the local office but no one can provide a definitive timeline on when I might get paid.”
Whether there’s an internal hiccup with the claims process or something more sinister is to blame, time’s quickly running out. With non-emergency BP oil spill claims starting to flood in following November 23rd, the GCCF will need to step things up to provide closure to the Gulf Coast.
Sources: Jennifer Cooper. “BP Claims Process at a Standstill as Deadline Approaches.” News Vindication.
“Overall Status Report.” Gulf Coast Claims Facility.