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, pharmacy records and lab studies, when applicable, and documents submitted. Although not required, Frier Levitt will be conducting our own independent analysis with our team of experts with the goal of producing a medical-legal expert report for submission to Health Resources and Services Administration. This team of experts includes registered nurses, many of whom have personally worked on drug clinical trials for new drugs designed to treat COVID-19, who will review medical records and medication therapy regimen, as well as lab studies where necessary, to determine the covered countermeasures your loved one may have received and whether the covered countermeasure was the cause of death. We are also working with medical experts who work directly on the front line treating private patients and military patients in the fight against COVID-19, as well as performing research on the COVID-19-related deaths.
These experts are reviewing medical and scientific research studies and FDA approved documents on the countermeasures (e.g., Drug Product Label, Medication Guide, Patient Package Insert), in an effort to support the “causation” element required to prove that the covered countermeasure was a “direct result” of death. Due to CDC, State, and Local guidelines that have prohibited post-mortem examinations of COVID-19 victims, we believe that the involvement of this team of experts who will conduct their own complex review of medical records will bolster your potential claim. Further, the right of appeal is extremely limited and is completed solely based on the documents submitted when the original benefits determination is made. As a result, no new documents will be considered on appeal. This underscores the importance of using an attorney to submit your claim with the appropriate documents in order to bolster your claim and to protect your rights on appeal.
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.