A local congressman says direct compensation has been secured for fungal meningitis victims and their families.

Congressman Mike Bishop’s 8th district was hardest-hit by the 2012 outbreak as more than 200 people became sick and 15 people died after receiving the New England Compounding Center’s tainted injections from a clinic in Brighton. Nationwide, there were 78 deaths from the tainted steroids.

Bishop says he has received confirmation that the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office will receive the full $40 (m) million set aside by the Department of Justice last year and will make payments directly to victims or their families who apply. The DOJ Office for Victims of Crime recently approved Massachusetts’ amended Grant Adjustment Notification, allowing them to award funds directly to those who meet the necessary criteria.

Bishop says this is helpful for victims because previously, concerns were raised that victims may have to potentially pay back money received from this program, should later payments come through from insurance companies or civil settlements. Whether that scenario would have materialized or not, due to these concerns, Massachusetts sought a Grant Adjustment Notification. By so doing, they removed the distribution of funds from their state law, and thus have removed any concerns about potentially needing to pay these funds back at a later date. Bishop says this will give victims and families, many of whom still struggle with day-to-day finances, much needed peace of mind that the money they are receiving is actually theirs.

The Massachusetts Attorney General’s office is currently establishing a process through which claims will be disbursed. To be eligible for these funds, victims must apply by March 1st.

Bishop's office has released further information about applying for compensation:

2018 (please note, that date has changed from the previous deadline of December 15, 2017). After the applicant’s case is verified, they will be eligible to receive a direct payment of $25,000, with the option to submit additional documentation to receive compensation beyond that amount.

Eligible victims have received a Victim Identification Number from the FBI. If you believe you or a loved one was harmed by a contaminated injection from the New England Compounding Center (NECC) in the fall of 2012, please contact Congressman Bishop’s D.C. office at 202-225-4872 for more information. (JM)