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Compensation Deadline For NC Eugenics Victims

Today is the deadline for victims of North Carolina’s decades-long eugenics program to submit applications to receive compensation from the state. 

The state had received 630 applications as of Friday. But not all of them were complete says Dee Jones with the department of administration.

“We’re sending letters to these folks telling them what they need to send in,” Jones says. “We’re making phone calls on a daily basis asking people to send in whatever it is they’re missing.”

The department has even made house calls to fill in missing information.  The state of North Carolina sterilized an estimated 7,600 people over the course of several decades ending in the 1970s.  Of those, about 1,800 are thought to still be alive. State lawmakers last year allocated $10 million to be divided evenly among living victims. That could amount to about $16,000 per person. 

Jones says once the applications are received, the process of verifying victims begins. 

“We literally go into a really big file room and there are several places where we look for documentation,” Jones says. “There’s a card file and then there’s hard files.  This goes back into the 30s.”

Jones says it's hard to say how long that process will take because the state must go over every archived document associated with each application. Some people have many documents. Others only a few. 

North Carolina is the first state to pass legislation compensating victims of a state-sponsored eugenics program.