Have you filed a claim with BP? If the answer is yes, please help us illuminate the process.

In the 15 weeks since BP’s gross negligence killed 11 people and put tens of thousands out of work, more than 100,000 claims against the company have been filed.  As of July 31, less than a third of them—38,000 out of a total of 138,000 — had received a first check,company data shows.

So yes, BP’s pipe has finally stopped gushing oil into the Gulf Coast’s waterways, but that doesn’t mean the economic bloodletting is done. With only 1.3 percent of the $20 billion BP set aside for damages—$266 million— put towards these claims so far, we wonder how much more will go to those whose livelihoods have been disrupted, or even destroyed. We want to understand why people are not being repaid, and why those who are seeing claims processed continue to wait for payment.

These questions can’t be answered by a single reporter’s network, nor even that of a single newsroom. For this reason, we are asking you, our readers, to help us shine a light on the processes that BP is using to make Gulf Coast communities whole again.

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

If you haven’t filed a claim, you can help The Lens find claimants by doing your own outreach – tweet this, post it to Facebook, and/or send it out to local listserves.

Our reporting has already shed light on problems like translation difficulties between BP representatives and Vietnamese fishers put out of work by the company’s actions. Other news reports have exposed the difficulties facing Louisiana fishers who earn their incomes in cash and don’t have the documentation BP wants to see before paying out.

We see the trail of these problems every day in southern Louisiana, whether on the face of a child whose parent who is out of work, or in the empty shucking station of our favorite oyster bar. Yet it is difficult to understand how serious these problems are without expanding our network to reach more than the handful of those whom we already know are affected.  Our goal is to cast a wide net, hear as many experiences as we can, and 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. Please help us.

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  • james denton

    I have many friends who have filed claims with BP… I have not filed as I am told I do not qualify. I have many questions and few answers…. First of all I am a deepwater service supervisor…. I work on the 33 drilling rigs affected by the ban on drilling. The $100 million set up for rig workers is for workers employeed by the drilling rigs H & P …Noble Drilling…Trans Ocean….etc…. not for the service workers who are on call 24/7 365 days a year to maintane and work on those rigs. We have been left out….. even though I for one have more time per month spent on the rig than many of the rigs permanant workers. When BPs Mr Dudley was asked why we were not to be compensated he replied ….Bp is responsible for the spill not the drilling ban… for that we have to speak to Obama. The Baton Rouge AreaFoundation is to manage the claim funds…. Google this for 7 -31-10…. and let the truth be known

  • I have severe chemical sensitivities to petroleum-related products ie. oil, etc and have had since I was in my youth. During the past two months, I have experienced unknown toxins in the air that have contributed to ‘lack of oxygen and ability to breath’, loss of voice and laryngitis, severe migraines persistent at the base of the parietal, inability to focus on certain tasks and lethargic. My body has been without energy many days and my breathing has been inconsistent to the point that I wear a mask during most of my waking hours, in or out of the home or office. I was told last Monday that there are no toxins in the air. Yet, my body is responding to something that has not been here before this.

    I filed a health claim one week ago via telephone. The BP claims agent told me someone would call me within 3-5 days. Today is day 7, no call. They then instructed me to call the Poison Control Center. The agent did not know where it was nor who they were. I called the 800 number and found that it was the National Poison Control Center. After a 30 minute consult with a nurse who then forwarded me to the Alabama Poison Control Center. I spoke to another nurse who did not know how she could help me. We talked about the symptoms and she took them down. She then told me to call her in a few days to let me know if I was better. Sheila called me later that night and said that she had read in an article from Louisiana that the health departments had seen 300-400 people with similar symptoms. I called her the next day to ask for her source.

    So far, no call from BP. Today I received a generic “Dear Sir or Madam” letter unsigned with no contact name about going to a claims meeting on Aug 6 or 7. It was such as sad letter that they could not even be honest and get the process straight.

    Too many processes have no competent method or manager and no consistent branding message is given to the public. It is sad.