Ken Feinberg, who is serving as special master for the Aurora Victim Relief Fund, announced today the protocols he will use to distribute money from the fund.
The families of the 12 people killed in the Aurora movie theater, as well as victims who suffered permanent brain damage or permanent physical paralysis, will receive 70 percent of the Aurora Victim Relief Fund final balance.
The remaining 30 percent of the final fund balance will be given to victims who suffered physical injuries; disbursement will be based on the number of days they stayed in a hospital. There are three categories for payment: victims hospitalized for 20 days or more; victims hospitalized for between eight and 19 days; and victims hospitalized between one and seven days. Victims in each category will receive the same payment.
The exact amounts paid to all victims will be determined by the total number of claims approved in each category and by the final fund balance. The current fund balance is $4,961,739. Today is the last day donations can be made through Community First Foundation's GivingFirst.org website. But money can still be donated to the fund until Nov. 15 by sending a check to Aurora Victim Relief Fund ¿ Governor's Office, 136 State Capitol, Denver, CO 80203.
If payments were disbursed today, the families of the 12 people killed and victims who suffered permanent brain damage or permanent physical paralysis would receive approximately $200,000 each. There are too many outstanding variables to calculate payment to hospitalized victims based on today's fund balance.
Due to the limited amount of money in the fund, victims who did not require overnight hospitalization and claims for mental trauma will not be compensated. Free counseling for all victims is still available.
"We are extremely grateful to Ken Feinberg for his service to victims and their families and to the state of Colorado," Gov. John Hickenlooper said. "He has proven once again why he is the nation's leading expert in handling these kinds of matters. Those most impacted by the theater shooting are best served by a speedy and fair distribution of the Aurora Victim Relief Fund and Ken is delivering as promised."
Victims and their families received claim instructions today. They have until Nov. 1 to submit the claims, which will be processed by the Governor's Office. If they choose to do so, victims and their families can request a private, one-on-one meeting with Feinberg between Nov. 1 and Nov. 9 to discuss their claims.
Feinberg will make final payment determinations and money will be disbursed as soon as possible after Nov. 15. An independent audit of the fund will commence immediately after the final distribution.
Feinberg developed the payment protocols after gathering input at two public meetings last week and reviewing feedback previously collected from three victim meetings and a victim survey conducted by the 7/20 Recovery Committee. A detailed explanation of the payment protocols and the claim forms can be found by clicking here.
Feinberg agreed to serve as special master for the Aurora Victim Relief Fund at the request of Hickenlooper, Community First Foundation and the 7/20 Recovery Committee. He is a nationally-recognized expert in handling relief funds created after other various tragedies and disasters and is best known for serving as the Special Master of the Federal September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001. In that role he reached out to all who qualified to file a claim, evaluated applications, determined appropriate compensation and disseminated awards.
Feinberg is not receiving payment of any fees or expenses while assisting with the Aurora Victim Relief Fund.