Friday, March 7, 2014
By LENNY BERNSTEIN The Washington Post
About 250 people applied for compensation from the main charity for victims of the Boston Marathon bombing by Saturday's deadline, the fund's deputy administrator said Monday.
Boston Marathon bombing survivor Pete DiMartino, of Rochester, N.Y., raises his arms after completing a physical therapy session at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston last month. DiMartino was among those applying for aid through a fund set up for survivors.
The Associated Press
The applicants seeking help from the fund are distributed throughout the four categories established by the plan, said Camille Biros, the fund's deputy administrator. She declined to reveal the number of applicants in each category or the extent of their injuries.
The One Fund Boston currently has collected $47.5 million in pledges, according to its website. Millions of dollars more have been pledged to charities established separately for individuals or small groups.
The plan sets up four categories, reserving the greatest compensation for the families of the four people killed in the attack and ensuing manhunt, double amputees and anyone who suffered permanent brain damage.
The second-highest awards will go to people who lost a single limb, followed by those who required overnight hospitalization and finally those who were treated as outpatients. No money is offered for those who suffered psychological problems, because there isn't enough to cover them, according to Kenneth Feinberg, who administers the money.
The two bombs that went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15 killed three people and injured more than 260, authorities have said. A police officer for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was killed during the manhunt for two suspects, brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the elder brother, was killed in a shootout with police. The younger Tsarnaev is in custody.
Biros said that 188 of the 200 applications had been reviewed, and 12 more had arrived early Monday. She said that she expected other "timely filed" claims to arrive over the next few days and that administrators "are obviously going to be flexible" in accepting them despite the formal Saturday deadline.
Thirteen of the applications have been rejected because the claims were for problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder or because the claimant was not present at the attacks, Biros said.
Applicants to the hospitalization category range from people who spent as little as one night in an acute care or rehabilitation hospital to those who have been inpatients for more than 50 days, she said. The length of stay will help determine the compensation awards in that category, Feinberg has said.
Seven or eight people have accepted the opportunity to meet with Feinberg before he makes his determination, though those sessions are unlikely to change the awards, Biros said.
"They just really want to be able to discuss with him what happened and how their life has changed ... make sure that he's aware of the extent of their injuries and how their life has changed," she said.
Letters announcing the awards will go to survivors and families of the dead on June 28, followed by the actual money a few days later, Biros said. The One Fund money is considered a tax-free gift to those eligible for compensation and is designed to aid them in the early months of recovery.
Income is not a factor, and unlike the funds offered after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill – which also were distributed by Feinberg – victims do not have to waive their right to sue for damages as a result of their injuries.