ProPublica

Journalism in the Public Interest

Cancel

Gulf Spill Paymaster Acknowledges Transparency Problems and Outlines Fixes

Kenneth Feinberg said he recognized shortcomings in communicating with claimants and promised to give them more information going forward. 

« Return to Story

Sort by: Oldest Newest  <  1 2 3 4 >

charles m

Dec. 15, 2010, 4:29 p.m.

I filed my final last week. There aren’t too many in review now, so hopefully they make a decision quickly. Anyone else file their final claims? 

I am fairly confident in getting what I am asking for as all of my industry was paid and after me getting DENIED I found out my financials docs I submitted by email were unreadable by GCCF so they denied me without asking for more docs simply because they couldn’t read my info.

RachelM

Dec. 15, 2010, 5:19 p.m.

Feinbergs contract is up for renewal with BP on December 31st.  He has to try his best in the next two weeks to get as many claims settled as possible.  He has to answer to them how the process is coming along and how many people he has settled.

Make sure everyone prints out your claim status page before the end of the day.  If you have letters from GCCF that is on your status page make sure you have the current copy before the end of tonight.  If you do not have a printer there is a small thing you can download it’s called a snapshot utility and it will let you take snapshots of your current browser page so you can save a copy.  This is free and I use it almost everyday.

To the person that has the copy of the videos…theres another one that Feinberg did when he came to Pensacola on the 10th of August.  It’s a two hour video and so far we have him saying one thing in the video and then changing after he took over on the 23rd of August.  We found 18 things he told the crowd he would do but in fact he didn’t do.  If you want the link to that just say so.  I’ll get it to you in an email. 

It’s time to either take a stand or shut up and take the pay off.  I’m taking the high ground.  It can’t get any worse than it has been.  It’s time to let the attorneys do their job.

Kit

Dec. 15, 2010, 5:19 p.m.

@Christine…are you the lady that worked security on Marco Island?  You should really have been paid if you worked at a hotel on the beach and were laid off due to the spill.  If you are receiving unemployment this should not hurt your chances to get paid.  Sounds like something is weird.

Wayne

Dec. 15, 2010, 5:28 p.m.

Well, I’ve been reading all this and WOW! I am a casino worker who was denied. And we now know that our claims were never even looked at, just denied because of the word ‘casino’. We marched, rallied, and have been in contact with the AG’s office and our senator as well. They were given proof of the claims filed and documentation we filed. Well, maybe our cause brought to their attention just how shady this whole process is. Feinburg has been questioned and he says one thing when talking to AG’s and senators, but says another when he is on the news.
  I noticed the other day a group[ of commercial fisherman rallied as well, because they to have been denied? WTF? They should have been the first ones paid in my opinion.  I am just a part time dealer, because thats all they hire now. But at least i do have some income still.
  However, it really pisses me off to know that Wal-mart, Home Depot,Taco Bell employees are getting fat checks while others of us are denied after providing the same documentaion they did. Some screwy is going on here and it should be stopped. This has to end now!
  So i suggest this…Casino workers, commercial fishermen, and any others who have been denied after show losses and providing all paperwork asked for, should band together and have one big hell of a rally. Casino workers were the first to take a stand and rally and it did get the attention of officials. Since then, there has been more and more mounting evidence of the sham going on in the GCCF. We’ve all seen F*‘s antics and heard all his lies. Its time to come together as one big voice to get even more attention to F* and this fiasco. Maybe we can cause him to be fired and someone new be put in place.

small business

Dec. 15, 2010, 5:45 p.m.

Go to cafepress.com and look for new additions get the t shirt that says FU FEINBERG, I WANT MY LIFE BACK SUE BABY SUE it made me feel better!!

Wayne

Dec. 15, 2010, 5:47 p.m.

ok i will try this one more time, may it will post this time…
  I am a casino worker denied my claim after submitted everthing they asked for, and even had more to submit, but they didnt want it. We now know our claims were never even looked at except to see the word ‘casino’ then deny it. We got mad and rallied, contacted the AG’s office and senators.  there has been action. altough it started as an effort to make our plight known, it has ended up ballooning into so much more. officials are now aware of whats really going on with GCCF and Fienburg. they have been lied to by him as well.
  Commercial fisherman rallied the other day, because they too have been denied.  WTF? They should have been some of the first paid.
  Many of us all have the same story, no matter what field we are in.  I believe its time to come together for one big hell of a rally and get attention to the fiasco called GCCF. F* can be fired, you know. 
  I know we come from all the gulf states, but if you are in Mississippi, you are over 3X more likely to be denied. ???
  So, if anyone is really ready to get something done about this, lets get together and stage one big fight. There is strength in numbers.  Casino workers were the first to stage protests and it got the attention of the gov,AG, senator Wicker, CNN, and USAToday.  Lets take that momentum and crank it up and not back down until F* does right or is fired.
  Anyone with me, let me know   I hope F* doesnt think we southerners are just stupid enough to accept 5k and sign away our right to sue that easy.
  *** just a note….anyone else wonder why all of a sudden there is so much urgency put on accepting final payments and giving up the right to sue?  I think they know somethin we don’t. Scientists and environmentalists have been in the gulf since this happened.  Im not giving away my right to sue in the next 3 years…
  ANYONE on board with me?.......

Wayne

Dec. 15, 2010, 6:32 p.m.

also.. wouldnt it be really great to do this just after christmas, just days before Feinbergs contract us up for renewal?  what better way to really show what kind of job he is doing.

Momo

Dec. 15, 2010, 8:35 p.m.

JUST CALLED GCCF SAME OLD ANSWER CLAIM STILL BEING RE-EVALUATING.

Jennifer

Dec. 15, 2010, 8:37 p.m.

@ Wayne

Jennifer

Dec. 15, 2010, 8:44 p.m.

@wayne
I am game.Today I got my detailed reason and it said I failed to turn in my unemployment records and 2010 paystub I said what! I sent them in seven diffrent times three of those times with the claims site office here. I called on an everyday basis to make sure they recieved them. They got to be kidding me time to stand up and be heard! jmrexford80 @ comcast . net

momo

Dec. 15, 2010, 9:45 p.m.

I guess im in the last bunch to get a decision. Nobody will tell me anything they even forwarded me to a final claim specialist and she was shock what my status was. Do you think they forgot about me or i slipped through the cracks?

Kit

Dec. 15, 2010, 9:54 p.m.

I never got a straight answer from BP or GCCF, it’s arbitrary, they cannot be using a consistent formula to determine payment.

Timothy

Dec. 16, 2010, 10:23 a.m.

***  states all emergency claims are complete as of 12/15/2010 **** how when over 3,000 are still showing in review?


Published: Thursday, December 16, 2010, 6:30 AM
By Dan Murtaugh, Press-Register

MOBILE, Ala.—After being criticized for treating large and small claims differently during his emergency payment process, oil spill claims czar Ken Feinberg said this week that all applications for final damage compensation will receive equal scrutiny.

Feinberg’s Gulf Coast Claims Facility has confirmed that it used a different review process for claims of more than $500,000 during the early stages of the process. That drew the ire of Alabama officials because the extra scrutiny for larger claims often resulted in them being paid at just a fraction of their reported loss.

Feinberg has since reviewed many of the larger claims, and said this week that he plans to make supplemental payments in most cases.

He told the Press-Register that it was necessary to give less scrutiny to smaller claims during the emergency phase in order to process in a timely manner the 466,000 applications filed.

“People wanted their money,” he said. “If I did that type of full-fledged review of every business claim of $25,000, people would be waiting months for their checks.”

Feinberg said that if his adjusters applied the same level of review to the smaller claims, many of those payments also would have been reduced.

The Gulf Coast Claims Facility finished processing emergency claims Wednesday, according to officials there. The claims process is now in a final compensation phase that will run through August 2013.

“Now you’ve got to treat them all the same,” Feinberg said. “The methodology must be the same, and we need to have more transparency so people know why we’re deciding what we’re deciding.”

The final claims process offers three options:


Any of the 168,000 people who were approved for emergency payments can get a quick, no-proof-necessary final check of $5,000 for individuals or $25,000 for businesses. In exchange, they must sign a liability waiver for any company involved in the spill and agree not to come back to the claims process for more money. 
Anyone can apply for a one-time payment covering all present and future economic damages caused by the spill. Feinberg’s operation will review financial documentation and consult with experts about the future impacts of the spill to decide what that payment will be. If the claimant accepts the check, a liability waiver will be required, and any money they have received in earlier payments from either Feinberg or BP PLC will be deducted. 
People who don’t want to sign a waiver can apply for quarterly interim payments for as long as the claims facility is in operation. They must supply financial documentation to demonstrate continuing losses.

Feinberg said he hopes many small claimants take the first option so that his adjusters have time to review all the other claims. By law, he has to offer people a payment within 90 days of their application or they can appeal to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Feinberg’s operation has given out more than $2.5 billion since it took over paying damages to individuals and businesses on Aug. 23. Alabama claimants have received $413 million, with another $208 million going to Mississippi. 

Red

Dec. 16, 2010, 11:27 a.m.

@Timothy well I don’t understand how they are finish with the EAP and my claim still says under detailed compensability review.

RachelM

Dec. 16, 2010, 11:38 a.m.

Print a copy of your claim status page.  You need to keep proof that what Feinberg is telling the press and doing something else can be proved.  My guess there are thousands still standing in limbo but he can put whatever figures up for the public to see but in reality he is no way near done with processing the EPA’s.

funk

Dec. 16, 2010, 11:53 a.m.

yeah something they dont want us to know is definately going on behind closed doors, i filed just almost 3 weeks ago and today recieved a letter attached to my status page saying i have been denied my claim for EAP due to them not recieving my documents by the EAP deadline but this does not affect my right to file for interim or final. i dont know what the hell made them decide to send me a denial letter for EAP when i never filed for an EAP to begin with. I submitted my final claim a couple days after the deadline so i didnt even have the option of an EAP, on my status page is says my claim is a final, and even on the florida claimaint details page it says my claim is a final. so this can only mean that they are flat out denying claims without even taking a glance at it.

Red

Dec. 16, 2010, 11:54 a.m.

Thanks Rachel!

Michelle

Dec. 16, 2010, 12:05 p.m.

They have a bunch of monkey’s handling the claims ....examples are post on here over and over and over! I can’t wait to see what happens with Finals…all Hell is going to break loose!

Randy

Dec. 16, 2010, 12:12 p.m.

OK, yesterday was a good day as I received a check from GCCF. Today I checked my status and it shows I was denied!!! The reason was that I failed to show damages from the spill.  Ummm I got laid off because of the spill and was ruled eligible and received a check.
This just goes to show that these people don’t have a clue and one hand doesn’t know what the other hand is doing!
I’m glad I got a check but this is freaking ridiculous.

RachelM

Dec. 16, 2010, 12:22 p.m.

@Randy

Congratulations Randy!!  You won the Feinberg lottery. 

All kidding aside.  Great news and wish you the best with your final.

Kit

Dec. 16, 2010, 12:30 p.m.

I can tell you from experience the GCCF website information about your claim does not always match what is actually happening to your claim and the call center does not know what is happening to your claim, nor do the local GCCF offices.  I received 3 separate checks for my very small 6 month payment.  It took 3 months for the process to end.  My status did not change from ‘under review’ the entire time.  You cannot go by the website for claim status or the call center.  I had to email every day and go to the local GCCF office at least twice a week and finally they paid.  From the beginning they told me they had all the documentation and never asked for anything additional, yet my payment did not match my actual losses.  There is no set formula to calculate these payments.  I worked for a company ( I have since been let go due to lack of work due to the spill) where the favorite workers got a $20,000 6 month payment and still kept their jobs and did not lose a single dime.  It’s the most twisted thing I have ever been a part of and I grew up in the 60s!  I absolutely dread the next ‘final payment’ process.

BK Beach 4X4

Dec. 16, 2010, 12:33 p.m.

There is actually is something going on with BP as many suspect, and it is across the pond. Similar to a US bankruptcy filing, the UK has what is called a Scheme. (somehow that seems the most appropriate word for this whole situation.) there have been press reports that BP lawyers are seeking to do a reorganization maneuverer before the US DOJ sinks their teeth into the wounded carcass.

I have a friend at the Speed channel in London and I’ll reach out to see if her BBC contacts know anything more.

Congrats Randy.

funk

Dec. 16, 2010, 12:33 p.m.

well just got off the phone with a superviser and he says that after looking at my claim the letter does not apply to me, disregard it, and was sent to me in error but yet it had my name, address, claim id printed right on the top of it..

Red

Dec. 16, 2010, 12:36 p.m.

@ Kit what is the email address you were using to email GCCF because I sure need it, this has just gotten way out of line, and I’m tired of being lied to.  I have my payments set up for direct deposit does anyone know how long it will take them to deposit the cash to th account after the claim has been approved?

BK Beach 4X4

Dec. 16, 2010, 12:37 p.m.

The GCCF. sent me two denial letters for an EAP, one on December 03, and another on December 15th.

It is nice to know that think so highly of me that they felt the need to deny me twice on the same claim.

JanetH

Dec. 16, 2010, 12:53 p.m.

I have two email addresses.  One for the “call center” and one for the priority department at the GCCF.

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

I don’t know how much good it will do since I have been sending emails to both since the GCCF took over.

172 days and counting since I originally filed my claim with BP and then the with the GCCF the day they took over…without a penny!!!

Also, my bank warned me that the GCCF is saying that the payment, if ever sent, is “direct deposit” but they are actually “wiring” the money and my bank is sending it back since the process is different.  I called the GCCF and asked what they do if that happens and they said that as soon as they get the “wire” back they cut an actual check and mail it to the address on file.  This process takes approximately two weeks.  Just thought you might want to be prepared for this in case your bank does the same thing.

Red

Dec. 16, 2010, 1:37 p.m.

@Janet who do you bank with if you don’t mind me asking?

JanetH

Dec. 16, 2010, 2:30 p.m.

Vision Bank

Mike

Dec. 16, 2010, 2:36 p.m.

I was given a first month payment in Sept. then when I look at the status page it only shows that one and I filed after that. Is there another way to check your status. If I call they said it is there but not on my status page.

Red

Dec. 16, 2010, 2:52 p.m.

Well I just checked my status and it still says under reveiw, then I called and they told me my claim had been denied! When I ask what’s the reason, because I have all proper docs. she tells me there is not denial letter in my claim.

Leslie

Dec. 16, 2010, 3 p.m.

I was also granted a first month emergency payment for August, on September 18th,  from the GCCF after having been reimbursed by BP for May, June and July.

I rec’d my denial this morning for a Supplemental Claim for September, which was filed on October 5th,  stating that my losses in that month “did not show any lost earnings or profits resulting from the Spill
during the time period”
Yeah, well, OK.

My status page never reflected my September claim request, only showing my previous payment,  but it now shows a very clear denial letter. I’m honestly not terribly disapointed because I just never allowed myself to rely on it. I lost everything in Katrina, I am familiar with pulling up by the bootstraps and never counting on anyone but ones self and loved ones.

Anyway, I plan to do a Quick Pay Final Claim for my business and just be done with it. That settlement is needed RIGHT NOW so that I don’t lose everything. I am worried that all these sudden denials will somehow impede that process not making it as quick or non burdensome as it claims to be. Will one verified, approved, PAID claim for Emergency funds from the GCCF be enough to settle a quick pay final despite the following denials for SAME?? Time will tell.

Best of luck to everyone suffering through this.

Chris

Dec. 16, 2010, 3:13 p.m.

Leslie.. read my earlier posts.. the exact same thing happened to me. Just proves that there is no rhyme or reason to the operation.

Mona Lisa

Dec. 16, 2010, 3:28 p.m.

Everyday I check my mail for good news, like we all do, and today I received property tax bills for my home and business -  with all the other bills.

How will our economy ever recover with all of this going on?  I am ready to close the doors and sell out. 

Who can afford to buy anything around here?  How will our businesses make it.  Getting on welfare and foodstamps seems like the path of least resistance at this point.

Extend the tax reduction law for taxes we shouldn’t be paying in the first place, like this is some favor to us “small people.”

I want my life back!  I want a correct, consistent, and reliable answer from the GCCF!  That’s what I wish for the holidays for all of us.  I want to not be so depressed.

christine

Dec. 16, 2010, 4:53 p.m.

A mixed bag of news here , Hubby got PAID< he got 5k for loosing his job as manager of a gas station when the owner had to lay off all his staff and himself and family worked it , just to stay open. It was on the main road to the beach , to busy normally for locals to mess with , but right at the heart of tourist strip.! Hubby went right out and found another job , it pays $2 an hour less, but with me being unable to find security work and all He HAD to take any job we could find. To keep the baby in diapers and milk. And our mortgage semi paid. SO anyways we had just come home from spending $150.00 at Big Lots for 4 kids Christmas ( I think we did pretty darn well really) And he was checking the account to make sure we saved enough to cover the power and there it was all fat and sassy! SO now Christmas is saved and the house is too. My claim is still in limbo. But at least we will have a Great Christmas in what would otherwise have been a very spare Christmas , we were even able last minute to adopt a family like we do every year , so there are 2 family’s who will have Christmas !!
Hubby wasn’t even going to file , cause he found another job, but one of y’all said on here that people who took new lower paying jobs might be eligible so on the 22nd he filed a claim , sent in tax docs current pay-stubs and a letter from owner of old job, 19 days from filed to paid.
So Ty all who sent us good wishes !!

RachelM

Dec. 16, 2010, 4:59 p.m.

@Christine

Congratulations!!  I love happy news. 

Now file for that extra $5000 that Feinberg wants to give you and spend a weekend just you and hubby in a hotel with no kids.  You deserve it. 

Cheers!

Mona Lisa

Dec. 16, 2010, 5:18 p.m.

Congratulations Christine.  I’m glad someone will have money to spend.

I just got the denial letter posted to my status.  Maybe I really didn’t want the answer.  But from what all of you have been saying, this could be a mistake.  If it’s correct I will move on to an attorney. 

Opened my occupational license bill also.  I don’t suppose I should pay to have a business in 2011 since I don’t have any customers.

Waiting Still

Dec. 16, 2010, 6:16 p.m.

Got paid for May 100% (business claim), June July and August claims went missing somehow, so my September claim went under review by the accountants, got paid for that, but only 1/5th of the actual claim. October and November rolled around, so those claims were filed along with refiling June July and August to replace those 3 months that they lost.  Got a check last Friday, but they don’t know what months they paid me for, I told them if you paid for one month you are terribly high, if you paid for all 4 months you are painfully low, still they have no idea what the payment was for.  Then today up pops the denial letter stating “did not show any lost earnings or profits resulting from the spill”!!!! This has been absolute craziness!!!

al t

Dec. 16, 2010, 6:30 p.m.

its obvious that with the mass denials they made in one week, they were just rubber stamping denials instead of really looking at the claims

BK Beach 4X4

Dec. 16, 2010, 7:16 p.m.

christine

that is great news! I’m very happy for you and your family. I know of another person in the security field that is having a terrible time trying to recover lost earnings.

Do you think they are actually signaling out certain trades?

Have a Very Merry Christmas.

christine

Dec. 16, 2010, 7:32 p.m.

Before they removed the information , I was able to do PDF searches on all states and NOT ONE SINGLE GUARD WAS PAID that was listed as a security employee~ I know some who got lucky and got listed as Food and beverage and lodging, other. They got paid., None of the ones who got security as their category got paid. And we have to hold a valid license by the state of Florida for most legit security jobs !~ So its not like proof was lacking !

Kit

Dec. 16, 2010, 11:20 p.m.

@Red…even though I asked for my check to be direct deposited, they mailed it to me anyway.  I actually had the check before I knew I had been approved.

Terri

Dec. 17, 2010, 8:59 a.m.

I filed on August 23 and my status was under review until Nov 29, when they officially denied my claim and suggested I file with the real estate board. I’m not a realtor. I sold timeshare on the beach in Orange Beach, AL.Why did they keep me hanging for months if they thought I was not eligible? They just like to f**k with people.  There were only two of us working in that office. My co worker’s claim was paid in full on Sept. 7. Same claim, with the same figure for losses. Feinberg is such a lying sack of shit. His reasoning for only having 25 adjusters was to keep things consistant? There is no consistancy. It is totally like a lottery or crap shoot. I have an attorney and I’m waiting to see what he can do. Has anyone been successful with the Coast Guard’s claim process?

Marsha

Dec. 17, 2010, 11:43 a.m.

They keep telling me my status is compensary something and it has been like that for quite a while. I thought all the reviews of the emergency claims were done or about done. Has anyone told what is going on?

RachelM

Dec. 17, 2010, 11:52 a.m.

Something new on my Status page:

Click here to view Claimant’s status related letters from the GCCF, along with additional information provided for certain denial letters.

Yesterday it just said:
Click here to view Claimant’s status related letters from the GCCF.

I guess they want to offer me a quick payout on my 454k claim and settle for 25k?  I think not.  Now I fall under “for certain” denial letters.  What happened to the equality of the program.  Now the denials have their own status.

Mona Lisa

Dec. 17, 2010, 12:29 p.m.

RachelM,  Thanks for that info.  I wasn’t going to bother to check anymore as it’s too heart breaking and I had to let it rest or go insane.
Maybe there is something more hopeful today.

RachelM

Dec. 17, 2010, 1:28 p.m.

The website in now accepting final claim forms and final payment forms.  I just checked and it seems they just uploaded the information so they can get as many people settled before the end of the year.

Michael

Dec. 17, 2010, 2:10 p.m.

Has anyone that filed a casino claim gotton a letter from supervisor to add to claim? My co is procrastinating. Said they cant say customer reduction in my deapartment was result of oil spill. Can anyone prove this? Its like saying what came first chicken or egg?  no answer is correct.I suggested they just state facts that since May of this year my department has had drastic reduction in customer base -reduction in hrs - reduction to 4 days a week reduction in tip income. Will try to write letter for them and see if they approve it. would like to see other letters writtn to get idea how to proceed.

Michelle

Dec. 17, 2010, 2:40 p.m.

Someone I know is doing the quick payment for their Business and were told they would get payment in 14 days….

RachelM

Dec. 17, 2010, 3:23 p.m.

For those of you that can wait for 2010 W-2 slips to prove a loss I would wait.  My friend that just received his 3000.00 payment from GCCF just a few weeks ago was considering taking the 5000.00 quick pay off but when he looked at his paycheck this week with his yearly totals and still has one more paycheck it is showing he lost 19,000.00 total last year.  If he takes the payout that still leaves him 11,000 short in earnings for the year. 

Feinberg needs to get these settled before the W-2’s goes out.  I know it’s hard to do without but we can do it.  It’s only temporary.  I have an attorney and I trust they will do what is best for me and my business.

kit

Dec. 17, 2010, 8:23 p.m.

I was advised to file before the beginning of the year.  I did get a 6 month paid for my loses, but I also lost my job due to the spill.  Anyway, this adjuster I know said they want to quickly clear the books of as many finals as they can, whether they are the quickie final or a regular final.  I went to the GCCF office today, just to get a claim form so I wouldn’t have to waste my printer ink and paper, and they wouldn’t even let me grab a form.  They said I had to be ‘evaluated’ and then they would decide what form I should file.  Well, to make a long story short, there were a hundred people in the place and I had to pick up a friend and couldn’t stay.  I will return tomorrow morning first thing.  Has anyone out there been evaluated yet?

Commenting is not available in this section entry.