Provisions in the latest budget explain the payment process for the 780 eugenics claims submitted to the Office for Justice for Sterilization Victims by the June 30 deadline, and set some hard deadlines for those whose claims have been received by the deadline but are missing information.
(Despite a request by the state NAACP, the General Assembly did not extend the June 30 deadline,)
As of July 17, according to the Office, 500 of those claims had been forwarded to the NC Industrial Commission for determination of eligibility and the remaining logged as received by the deadline but either missing information or requiring additional research.
Those with missing information have until September 23, 2014 to submit what’s required.
Also per the budget, disbursements from the fund will begin with an initial payment by October 31, 2014 to those determined, as of October 1, 2014, to be “qualified recipients.” The amount of that payment will be determined by dividing the number of qualified and pending claimants by $10 million.
Those determined to be qualified after that date will receive an initial payment within 60 days of determination.
Presumably on the theory that some of the pending claims may ultimately not be qualified, there will be a second round of payments made from what’s left in the fund. That payment will be made 90 days from the date of the last appeal.
By September 30, 2014, all remaining claim forms will be submitted to the Industrial Commission for review and disposition.
The budget provisions also clarify that payments from the fund are NOT to be split or otherwise used to compensate attorneys who may have helped victims with the filing of claims:
It is the public policy of this State that funds awarded for the compensation of sterilization victims under this Part may be used only for the purpose of benefiting victims and shall not be used to pay attorneys’ fees arising from representation at the Office, before the Commission, or on appeal. The General Assembly finds that qualified recipients have suffered a unique harm that calls for a unique remedy and that there are sufficient sources of assistance and pro bono legal representation available to protect their interests. Therefore, any agreement for the acceptance of attorneys’ fees is null and void unless counsel has sought and received an opinion from the North Carolina State Bar that the fee arrangement is reasonable under the Rules of Professional Conduct.
For more about the eugenics fund, read here.