OCEAN SPRINGS — Denied claims for Gulf of Mexico oil spill victims are rising dramatically because of a flood of new filings coming in without proper documentation or with no proof at all, the head of the $20 billion BP fund said Monday.
Some 20,000 people have been told they have no right to emergency compensation, compared to about 125 denials at the end of September. This is in addition to many others who say they are getting mere fractions of what they’ve lost, while others are receiving large checks and full payments.
In an interview with The Associated Press, claims administrator Kenneth Feinberg denied allegations the process is beset by chaos. He said the claims facility has sent about 30 potentially fraudulent claims to the Justice Department for investigation, and hundreds more are under review.
“I disagree about disarray,” Feinberg said. “There are discrepancies in claims based on documentation and your ability to demonstrate a connection to the spill and your damage.”
He said that since Oct. 1, the fund has received thousands of new claims for emergency six-month payments, bringing the total to about 315,000, in an apparent rush to meet a Nov. 23 deadline. After that, residents can only file a claim for a final payment, which would be granted only if they sign away their right to sue BP.
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