Kenneth Feinberg, administer of economic damage payments for The Gulf Coast Claims Facility has paid out almost $4.5 billion, with $2.6 billion being payments from an emergency payment phase, to local businesses and personal claims along the gulf coast. Feinberg has utilized a quick-pay process to quickly settle the straightforward, non-continuing claims, awarding almost $1 billion in final settlements in four months of this year.
In the past two months, the GCCF has distributed close to $700 million for more complex claims that involved full review, analyzing, and documentation. The good news is that the average payment has been steadily rising in the past two months, from $16,000 to $20,000.
Since the first year anniversary of the spill this past April, Feinberg has granted an additional 15 percent of claimants, totaling 26 percent now, and made offers to nearly half of the 115,000 settlement-seeking claimants. Feinberg reports that many individuals and businesses are still submitting claims, even though the pace has drastically decreased in comparison to previous quarters. There is still time to submit a claim for your business or personal income loss, and it is important to correctly complete your claim with the necessary information and support to guarantee the greatest possible result.
Thus far, the GCCF has processed over 95 percent of the 300,000 claims filed before the end of May. Forty percent of those were deemed either deficient or ineligible. There are 54,000 claimants seeking final payment whom Feinberg considers eligible, and if they continues at this rate, all eligible claims will be paid off in the next four months. If the average payment stays the same, rather than increasing like it has been, $1.1 billion will be paid before November.
Most of the claimants that haven’t had the opportunity to access full damage are those of the fishing industry because those affects are still piling up. Oyster harvesters, especially, are still realizing the economic pain the spill inflicted. Feinberg has said he and his staff are working on developing “a more generous methodology” for oyster fishers, making changes that would “reflect the fact that the future of oysters in the Gulf as we speak is still, over a year later, very uncertain. Feinberg clarified that oyster fishers who have accepted quick payments would be able to get another shot if the payment method changes. Feinberg’s methodology for oyster fishers in February was already superior to that of regular fisherman, granting four times the loss as opposed to twice the loss. The problem with the system was that the year analyzed for the loss did not properly illustrate the oyster season, cutting half of the affected season out of the equation. Feinberg and the GCCF are working on amending the payment system to comply with the oyster season.
This change seems to be making noteworthy progress regarding claims, and the average payment is increasing. There seems to be no better time than the present to file a claim with GCCF and regain what you have lost as a result of the spill. For more information, log onto www.gulfcoastclaimsfacility.com. If ever in need of legal assistance handling your claim, Thornhill Law Firm is fully equipped and more than willing to aid you through the process.