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‘Quick pay’ offered for Gulf oil spill victims

People and businesses affected by the BP Gulf oil spill will be able to receive a check almost immediately if they give up their right to sue.

Gulf Coast Claims Facility administrator Kenneth R. Feinberg announced the new "quick pay" program on Monday. Individuals can get $5,000 and businesses can get $25,000 without submitting any further documentation. However, a full release to waive the right to sue is required, according to media reports.

The "quick pay" program is available to the 166,000 individuals and businesses who have already received an emergency payment from the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, the independent organization in charge of the claims process.

Claimants who are filing for the first time or who have been denied emergency payments are not eligible.

So-called "emergency payments," available to individuals and businesses that experienced financial hardship as a result of the oil spill, were accepted by the facility through Nov. 23. Claimants were not required to forfeit the right to litigate.

All emergency payments will be processed by Wednesday. Forms to apply for the new program will be available by Friday.

The facility has paid about $2.5 billion to more than 166,000 individuals and businesses, and it has processed about 475,000 claims. Many were dismissed for woefully insufficient documentation; more than 100,000 claims were submitted with no documentation.

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