Raleigh, N.C. — With seven weeks left for victims of North Carolina's erstwhile forced sterilization program to apply for compensation, 442 claims have already been submitted to the state Office of Justice for Sterilization Victims.
The office has forwarded 281 of those claims to the North Carolina Industrial Commission, which handles all tort claims against the state and will be responsible for determining whether a claimant is eligible for compensation. The remaining 161 are lacking some necessary information before they can be considered, said Chris Mears, spokesman for the state Department of Administration.
Lawmakers last year set aside $10 million in the state budget to provide compensation to victims of the eugenics program, which ran between 1929 and 1974. The exact payment per victim will depend on how many apply.
As many as 1,800 victims may still be alive, but as of last year, the state's efforts to find them had yielded only 176 people. Families of victims who have already died aren't eligible for compensation.
The Office of Justice for Sterilization Victims is trying to notify as many victims of the sterilization program as possible about the June 30 deadline to apply for compensation. The state sent about 1,000 direct-mail pieces to identified victims, made hundreds of telephone calls and partnered with other state agencies on outreach efforts.
For more information, including claim forms, people can check the Office of Justice for Sterilization Victims website or call 919-807-4270.