Gulf Oil Spill Claims Process Streamlined


The claims process for businesses hurt by the Gulf oil spill may finally be working. Since the weekend, checks totaling $340 million have been sent to businesses — almost doubling the total amount that's been paid out.

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Businesses hurt by the BP oil spill in the Gulf are getting faster claims payments than they were before. Since the weekend, a total of $340 million in checks have been sent to businesses - that almost doubles the total amount that had been paid out.

Eileen Fleming of member station WWNO reports.

EILEEN FLEMING: Claims administrator Kenneth Feinberg says the flood of checks in recent days is the result of a streamlined process he ordered over the weekend. Feinberg is in charge of the $20 billion fund the White House negotiated with the oil company. Since taking over the claims process from BP in August, the fund has paid out more than 42,000 requests for economic damages. Some were paid, but other businesses only received a fraction of what they had requested, while other claims were turned down altogether. Many of those claims are now being paid. The money is especially welcome in Louisianas hard-hit Plaquemines Parish, where coastal waters are still closed to fishing.

Parish President Billy Nungesser credits Feinberg for unclogging the paperwork process.

Mr. BILLY NUNGESSER (President, Plaquemines Parish): They are really turning out a lot more answers to the people. I mean, my calls here have almost completely stopped from the fishermen. Theyve done that good a job here in the last week or so.

FLEMING: In Alabama, an accountant who works with businesses along the Gulf Coast says the checks sent out in the last few days will help them survive at least through next year.

For NPR News, Im Eileen Fleming in New Orleans.

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