Journalism in the Public Interest

Have You Filed a Claim With BP?

To hold BP and the government accountable, ProPublica wants to hear from those who have filed damage claims related to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.


Readers, we need your help. It’s time to examine the massive claims operation set up by BP for damages from the Gulf oil spill.

The gushing pipe has been capped. More than 100,000 claims have been filed. So far, BP has paid less than a third of the claims it has received, and has spent about $250 million, a little over 1 percent of the $20 billion that it set aside in an escrow account to pay damages. In less than two weeks, an independent claims administrator appointed by President Barack Obama -- Kenneth Feinberg -- will take over the claims process from BP.

We could take BP at its word that it will pay all “legitimate” claims, and trust the administration’s assurances that the people of the Gulf will be made whole.  We think it’s better to shine some sunlight on the process.  

That’s where you come in.

If you’ve filed a claim with BP, please share details of your experience with ProPublica’s reporters using this form. (This post is also available in Spanish and Vietnamese.) A reporter may follow up with you by phone, and we’ll make it easy for you to share documents and records with our newsroom.

If you haven’t filed a claim, you can help ProPublica find claimants by doing your own outreach – tweet this, post it to Facebook, send it out to a local listserv …

BP’s data show that it has returned more than half of submitted claims because they “lack enough information for BP to make a payment.”  In most of those cases, it has told people that they have to provide more documentation to prove that their claim is legitimate.

News reports have also spotlighted problems like translation difficulties between BP adjusters and Vietnamese fishermen working off the Louisiana coast. Some claims offices are hard to find. Bartenders, deckhands and other workers who earn their salaries in hard cash can’t easily document their earnings. As we have reported, repeated changes made to procedures for filing county claims have frustrated county officials.

These problems are real, but not easily put into perspective. When are people being told they need to send more documents?  Just how serious -- or trivial -- are the procedural  changes? Who has been paid, and who hasn’t?

Getting a handle on an operation this big and complex requires talking to more than a handful of people.  We want to cast a wide net to try to figure out which parts of the claims system are working and which ones aren’t, so we can add some accountability to the process.

If you’ve filed a claim with BP, share details with ProPublica’s reporters using this form.

I have a boat built by the US Navy for shallow water work to be used for emergencies such as this. It is a prototype built in 1986 that is designed to get into shallow water areas and can tow up to 35000 lbs. it is perfect for the marsh and low lying areas that now are saturated with oil. I have tried to contact BP numerous times and have sent pictures of the vessel to let them know that it was available to help in the clean up of the marsh areas. They have never even tried to contact me about using the boat to help in the clean up. If you would like pictures of the boat send me an e-mail. and I will send you one. It definately would help in the clean up and removal of the oil and help get into the areas that animals are probably traped and covered with oil. It seems that BP is not interested in using equipment that WILL help.

Many experts are stating that BP has not employed oil boom properly to protect beaches. Articles state that BP has experts in boom deployment but will not employ them.  The articles state that BP did this so as to save themselves money.  Does this go against the law with respect to the Clean Water Act?

following link shows proper placement of booms . . .

nancy Cushman

July 29, 2010, 1:34 p.m.

Oh I get it now…the people in Texas (and the Gulf states for that matter) are so hellbent on drilling their environment all to hell due to the toxic fumes they been sniffin…
Right after the rig blew up and was that the oil companies WANT to create an oil field out of the Gulf of Mexico…and these fools are going to help them do it!
Turn all those refineries and oil crap into solar panel factories stop driving the damn Escalades!


July 30, 2010, 1:27 p.m.

Nancycushman you stereo type texans and you sound dum doing it. You can’t spell and for your narrowed minded info not all texans drive an escalade. Get out more and learn about what you say before you say it.

You juveniles could find out what’s going on down here on the Gulf if you’d come down here and find out instead of listening to disgruntled claimants.  Fist BP had to hire 1600 adjusters and open 30 offices to handle claims.  Try that.  Adjusters had to be trained. The deal cut with Obama called for the $20B to be paid into escrow in three installments with the first due in the THIRD QUARTER.  Get that?  Know what it means?  It’s not due yet. Ken Feinberg has been down here several times and told big crowds essentially what BP has said.  They will pay LEGITIMATE claims.  Find the link on the documentation they require: pretty simple stuff like tax returns.  Some of these people don’t pay taxes.
No records.  Just living in hope they can stick it to BP (or anybody else they can).  It goes on and on.

This is a great effort. We spent last week in Apalachicola and a few other towns listening to people discuss how they are going to make it through…..this month alone. Let us know how we can help.
Save R Gulf

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