BP America Chairman and President Lamar McKay (right) and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal spoke about BP's role in helping the Gulf Coast region recover from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill at Acme Oyster House in New Orleans.
In October, the number of claims filed for compensation for the BP Gulf of Mexico spill that were rejected spiked to 20,000, from 125 denials at the end of September. Kenneth Feinberg, who heads the $20 billion fund, tells the AP that many claims lacked crucial details -- and that some have been sent to law enforcement officials to be investigated for potential fraud.
As of last week, the Gulf Coast Claims Facility had approved only 92,293 out of 314,913 individuals and businesses that had applied for compensation. The payouts amounted to almost $1.7 billion, according to documents posted on the GCCF site.
The vast majority of approved claims were for lost earnings -- totaling 91,291. Damage to property accounted for 65 payouts; the table listed no compensation being given for removal and cleanup costs to individuals and businesses.
Nearly 148,000 of those making a claim were told they need to provide more information.
People with legitimate claims are unhappy with that pace, the AP reports:
"Why can't they just explain why they denied me?" said Sheryl Lindsay, an Orange Beach, Ala. wedding planner whose business has plummeted. "Why are they so secretive?"
Lindsay sought about $240,000 for lost revenue because of beach wedding cancellations and received a check for just $7,700. She was told, like so many others, she could request additional money in her claim for a final payment, a check that likely won't arrive for months.
"I have three weddings booked for next year. That's it. Normally, by this time, I would have 50 on the books," Lindsay said. "I'm at my breaking point. I don't know what else to do except file bankruptcy."