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NASW Seeks Reconsideration of Decision to Deny Some Gulf Claims

Kenneth Feinberg, Administrator of the Independent Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF), which will adjudicate claims for individuals and businesses experiencing health and economic losses due to the Gulf Coast oil spill, stated last month at a House Judiciary Committee hearing that he would likely not compensate individuals for mental illnesses that result from the disaster. NASW has written Mr. Feinberg to express its deep disappointment with his intention to exclude mental health and substance use conditions from coverage by the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.

NASW’s letter stressed that mental and addictive illnesses, including those conditions that have occurred as a result of experiencing extreme stress and trauma, are real and potentially debilitating illnesses that can lead to disability and death by suicide, if not properly treated. NASW urged Mr. Feinberg to reconsider his position of discriminating against individuals who have developed legitimate behavioral health disorders that result from the BP oil catastrophe.

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