Claims period to open this month in Flint water crisis settlement

Eligible people can file claims in $626M settlement starting Jan. 12

FILE - In this March 21, 2016 file photo, the Flint Water Plant water tower is seen in Flint, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File) (Carlos Osorio, Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

People impacted by the Flint water crisis can soon submit a claim for monetary relief under the settlement approved last November.

Michigan officials announced Wednesday that the claims period in the Flint water crisis settlement is opening on Jan. 12. People who registered to participate in the settlement can submit claims forms for monetary relief -- but only individuals who previously registered to participate in the settlement are eligible to submit claims in the case.

The $626 million settlement will be contributed to by the state of Michigan ($600 million), the city of Flint ($20 million), McLaren Regional Medical Center ($5 million) and Rowe Professional Services Co. ($1.25 million).

Officials say about 80% of the settlement fund will go toward children who were minors when first exposed to the lead-contaminated water, with a focus on those 6 years old and younger. About 18% will go toward claims made by adults and property damage, and about 1% will go toward claims for business losses, according to the office of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Eligible individuals will be able to file their claims online or through mail, though online is preferred, officials said. Those who previously registered with the settlement will reportedly receive instructions by email or by mail, depending how they registered, with next steps for filing claims.

Visit the official Flint water settlement website here for more information.

“The opening of the claims period marks an important part of the settlement process – and one step closer to providing monetary relief to those who have endured unimaginable hardship,” Nessel said. “I ask that registrants review the latest information to best understand how to file their claim.”

Anyone with questions about the claims process can call a help line at 800-493-1754. The claims period will close on May 12.

Related: Lead in Michigan water: how it gets there, what we can do, are we all in trouble?

Officials say it is unclear when payments will be distributed from the settlement. The amount of money a person can receive depends on which compensation category they are in, in addition to the number and types of claims submitted.

“The compensation cannot be determined until all the claims are received and processed,” the official website reads.

As long as there aren’t any appeals in court, officials say payments could be issued near the end of this year. A judge officially approved the settlement in November 2021.

You can read a summary of the settlement terms here.

More: Flint water crisis coverage

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Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.