Thousands of people still waiting for their Fire Victim Trust funds

Tens of thousands of Camp Fire survivors are still waiting for payout from the trust fund.

Posted: Jan 12, 2021 11:37 AM
Updated: Jan 12, 2021 2:59 PM

UPDATE: 2:08 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021 - An edit has been made to this article to show trust fund is handling the distribution of the settlement and not PG&E.

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - Tens of thousands of Camp Fire survivors are still waiting for the trust fund to pay them.

The utility agreed to pay more than 24 billion dollars, 13.5 billion to the survivors. Because there are tens of thousands of claims, that means people like Chellsee Lende will have to wait to get what PG&E owes them.

"It's really a blur,” Chellsee Lende said with tears in her eyes. “Everything has been chasing help and there is no help anywhere."

Chellsee lost everything in the Camp Fire.

"My kids went to three different schools. We've switched doctors. We've been everywhere just trying to survive.

For two years, she and her family have been trying to recover.

“We haven't been able to move forward. I lost my community," she shared. "I lost my sense of security. I lost my home. So, to have support or to ask for help now is hard."

Attorney James Frantz, from Frantz Law Group, is helping people like Chellsee and thousands of others to get paid. However, Chellsee says that this is about more than just the money.

"We all are feeling like the first day of the fire almost but worse because the day after that, everybody was still thinking of it," she said. "It was still fresh."

Frantz says there are some 50,000 claimants which, in turn, is slowing down the payout process. But, that doesn't help Chellsee and her family right now.

She continued, “But now it's like two years and everybody is saying why don't you just get over it? And you can't get over it until you actually move on."

Frantz says there is no set order for payment, but instead it's on a first filed, first paid basis.

Chellsee hopes she's one of the first because she can't wait to get home.

"Paradise is just paradise. It's amazing…or it was."

Once someone files a claim, it'll pay them up to $25,000 until their full claim can be processed.

Attorney Frantz told Action News Now that it will take around two years for all these cases to get resolved. He also said there are more these 50,000 claims makes it the largest mass case in history.

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