Included mong the different economic claims that can be submitted for compensation under the newly approved Deepwater Horizon Court Supervised Settlement agreement are subsistence claims. These are claims that compensate those who relied upon the natural resources of the Gulf of Mexico or the wetlands and beaches for sustenance, and who were prevented from doing so by the contamination by the oil spill and the subsequent clean-up efforts. Subsistence claims are different from claims having to do with income, revenue or property because they specifically have to do with the fact that the oil spill resulted in an inability to feed oneself or one’s community because the food source was no longer available. When the Deepwater Horizon oil spill first took place and President Barack Obama set up the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, over 16,000 subsistence claims were filed by members of local Native American tribes and Vietnamese fishermen, who not only use a large portion of their commercial catches to feed themselves and their families, but also to use as barter rather than to sell directly. Additionally, many of the claims that were submitted were from recreational fishermen who claimed damaged caused by the loss of enjoyment due to the oil spill. These claims were not honored by the GCCF and will not be honored under the Deepwater Horizon settlement agreement either, but claims that can prove the loss of food, shelter, tools or similar needs based on the loss of natural resources caused by the oil spill will be compensated.
The claims process for filing a subsistence claim under the Deepwater Horizon settlement agreement requires the person filing the BP oil spill claim to present detailed information showing what type of fish or game they had relied upon, exactly where they had hunted or fished prior to the BP oil spill, information on how many people in their extended family or community they were responsible for and what their relationships were, and a great deal more information. It requires a calculation of percentage of amount of catch that was used for subsistence, and in some cases the claims need to be supported by a local visit or inspection. In order to make sure that you have the best possible outcome when filing a subsistence claim in the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill settlement, make sure that you fully understand what you are entitled to by consulting an experienced BP oil spill attorney.