The Indiana State Fair Commission met Friday morning to discuss how the money from the Indiana State Fair Remembrance Fund would be distributed.
In the meeting, the commission adopted a plan that will enable payments to stage collapse victims to begin as early as next week.
The relief fund, which totals $796,280.50 to date, will be distributed according to four classifications:
• $35,000 for death claims
• $25,000 for those admitted and hospitalized for at least 10 days and nights
• $7,500 for those admitted and hospitalized for 4-9 days and nights
• $3,000 for those admitted and hospitalized for 1-3 nights and days
The fund consists of donations from the public. It also includes $550,000 raised from the Train and Maroon 5 tribute concert, as well as more than $60,000 raised by Fox59’s Day of Dedication telethon.
Applications to apply for the funds will be available online at www.in.gov/sfc on Monday. The deadline to apply for compensation will be November 14. The commission said distributions will begin as soon as claims are submitted and information is verified.
Because the total number of claimants is not known, the commission said the initial distribution contemplates payments totaling about $700,000 to assure the fund is not overspent. Additional distributions of remaining funds and newly donated funds are anticipated. Donations to the relief fund will be accepted until Oct. 31, 2012.
The commission and nationally recognized victims compensation expert Kenneth Feinberg said the fund is designed similarly to the fund used by Virginia Tech following the tragic shootings at the university in 2007.
“On the advice of Mr. Feinberg, we prioritized relief amounts based on those who were killed and hospitalized. His input helped us reach decisions about process and amounts quickly, and now it’s our goal to start making payments almost immediately,” said Andre Lacy, chairman of the Commission in a press release statement. “People have been very generous with their donations, and we are proceeding with their wishes to get this assistance to victims.”
As the fund administrator, Lacy said Feinberg will meet with accident victims who request a meeting to discuss their claims.
Tracy Green said she attended the Sugarland concert at the fairgrounds on August 13. She said she went with a friend and stood in the pit. She continues recovering from injuries.
Green broke her left ankle in four spots. Her right ankle was swollen for nearly three weeks. She had 22 staples in her head from two gashes. She is still in pain. She said she has started receiving statements from doctors. Those statements, so far, total $36,000.
"It’s very scary. It’s just me and the boys. I'm the one who has to support take care of them and I worry a lot about that," Green said.
The single mother of three children said she only spent one day at Methodist Hospital. She said she cannot work and does not know when she will be able to. Green said she is thankful to everyone who donated money to the State Fair Relief Fund.
"For someone to give anything, they have to help someone else is awesome. Its appreciated more than they'll ever know," Green said.
On Monday, applications to apply for the funds will be available online.