Compensation Fund for COVID-19 Victims
Frequently Asked Questions
Many people may not be aware that the government recently established a fund to compensate victims and families of COVID-19 victims for their death, lost wage and medical bills. Frier Levitt’s team of clinical, experienced attorneys can help navigate claimants through this process in the limited time provided to submit claims.
What is the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program?
The Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (“CICP”) is a government-funded program created by the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (“PREP Act”) and managed by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to compensate families who have lost a loved one as a direct result of receiving a “covered countermeasure” in connection with COVID-19 treatment.
What are the benefits that CICP can provide?
The CICP’s death benefit amount is subject to review at the end of the government’s fiscal year in September. A surviving family member whose loved one passed away between October 1, 2019 and September 30, 2020 due to COVID-19 treatment/covered countermeasures may be eligible to receive a death benefit of $365,670. For the 2021 fiscal year, the government has increased the death benefit available to a surviving family member whose loved one has passed away due to COVID-19 treatment between October 1, 2020 and September 31, 2021 to $370,376. Unfortunately, the increase in benefits does not apply to those who have passed prior to October 1, 2020. The CICP also provides up to $50,000 in unreimbursed lost wages, as well as reimbursement of out of pocket medical expenses.
Do I have to be involved in a lawsuit?
No, CICP does not involve filing a lawsuit and it is not a claim against medical providers. It is strictly a benefit offered by the Federal Government to those who have lost a loved one due to COVID-19 treatment. These cases are not filed in Court. CICP Requests are made to a government review board and do not require a court filing or appearance. Unlike a lawsuit, CICP Requests do not require any claim of wrongdoing against another person or business. CICP’s sole focus is to compensate families who have lost a loved one as a direct result of COVID-19 treatment. That being said, the process for completing the claims forms and gathering supporting information can be confusing and time consuming, so it should be properly prepared by an attorney. In addition, by hiring our firm, we will be able to significantly limit the work you will have to do and your involvement in the process.
Who can make a Request for Benefits?
Generally, only a surviving family member may request benefits. CICP provides priority to requests made first by the surviving spouse, followed by the surviving children and/or minor younger than the age of 18, then the beneficiary of the most recent life insurance policy, parents, and the legal guardian of a deceased minor.
What type of COVID-19 Treatment is eligible?
Only a “Covered Countermeasure” will be considered an eligible treatment under the CICP. Covered Countermeasure is broadly defined and while there are too many to list, they include prescription drugs or devices used to treat COVID-19. Frier Levitt is continually monitoring the developments related to COVID-19 and its treatment. Our clinician attorneys include a nurse, paramedic, podiatrist and pharmacists, and are able to identify the countermeasure treatments used to better determine whether they fall within the definition of a “Covered Countermeasure”.
Can I make a Request for Benefits from CICP if a Covered Countermeasure was not used?
Unfortunately, CICP may only approve a request after it determines that a Covered Countermeasure was used, and that the death was a direct result of the covered countermeasure. If a Covered Countermeasure was not used, the CICP is unable to approve the Request for Benefits.
How long do I have to submit a Request for Benefits?
Time is of the essence. You have one year from the administration of the Covered Countermeasure (not date of death) to file a Request for Benefits.
What do I need in order to submit a Request for Benefits?
In order to submit a Request for Benefits, the CICP requires that you complete an official Request for Benefits Form and provide it with a death certificate and comprehensive medical records. CICP may request other documents if necessary, to help determine whether to issue benefits. Frier Levitt intends to utilize its experienced attorneys to complete the Benefits Form, review medical records, and submit documentation to substantiate the claim. Frier Levitt will also rely on medical experts where necessary.
Do I need an attorney?
While you are not required to have an attorney, the process for submitting and substantiating a claim can be complicated, emotional and time consuming, thus warranting the retention of a dedicated and knowledgeable healthcare lawyer. Before the CICP can award benefits, it must first determine that the death or injury was a direct result of covered countermeasure treatment received for COVID-19. The CICP review board has staff doctors and medical professionals that complete a complex review of the medical records and documents submitted.
Frier Levitt is uniquely situated to assist with your Request for Benefits because our clinician attorneys include a nurse, paramedic, podiatrist, and pharmacists who have extensive experience reading and reviewing medical records and determining and documenting the causal connection required to prevail on the claim. As a result, our lawyers can help prove to the CICP, where appropriate, that the death was a direct result of a covered countermeasure.
Will I have to pay for an attorney?
Frier Levitt is offering its legal services on a “contingency fee” arrangement which means that you do not pay any legal fees unless we are successful in obtaining compensation from the CICP. Contact Frier Levitt today to speak with an attorney who can assist you or call 866-PREPACT