BP’s compensation claims process for Gulf residents and businesses affected by the oil spill has had some serious problems. Residents are saying that the company has been slow to pay, that the forms disappear into a bureaucratic void, and that the criteria of who qualifies and who doesn’t is anything but clear. For journalists covering the story, however, it’s incredibly challenging to pore through the tens of thousands of claims and get a realistic sense of just what’s happening on the ground.
So we’ve decided to team-up. In an effort led by the investigative nonprofit website ProPublica, a number of news organizations—including MSNBC.com, the Huffington Post, NOLA.com, the Texas Tribune—are issuing a call out to readers who are participating in the BP claims process. Now TIME magazine is joining up as well. We want to hear your story, with the idea that the more people we hear from, the better picture we can form about how the claims process is—and isn’t—working. If you’ve filed a claim with BP, please share your experience with our reporters using this form. The information will be processed by our friends at ProPublica, but TIME may follow-up with you over the phone or email, and we’ll make it easy to share any documents associated with your claim.
This combined effort will be especially important as BP hands the claims process over to the independent compensation czar Kenneth Feinberg, who has promised to improve the speed and transparency of the payments. Just like BP, his operation will need to be held accountable in the weeks and months and years ahead. The more people we can speak to, the better we’ll be able to do our jobs. Just access this form.