Application FAQs

Applying for Claims Conference-administered compensation

1. I filled out a form for a Claims Conference-administered payment. Where do I mail it?

· For current residents of all countries EXCEPT Israel and Europe

Claims Conference
PO Box 1215
New York, NY 10113
USA
Tel.: (646) 536-9100
Fax: (212) 685-5299

· For current residents of Israel

Claims Conference
P.O. Box 29254 Tel Aviv, 6129201, Israel
Telephone: +972-3-519-4400 or +972-3-519-4401
Fax: +972-3-561 3932

· For current residents of Europe

Claims Conference
Postfach 90 05 43
60455 Frankfurt am Main
Deutschland
Tel.: + 69 / 970701-0
Fax: +69 / 970701-40

2. Which documents should I send with my application form?

Photocopies of the following documents are MANDATORY:

  • Current, valid photo identification card (government-issued ID card, driver’s license, or passport)
  • Social Security Card, if you are a United States resident

Please include photocopies of the following documents, if you have them:

  • Birth certificate
  • Document(s) relating to any change of name (if relevant)
  • Marriage certificate
  • Documentary proof of your persecution

Copies of birth certificates and marriage certificates must be translated into English or German and authorized by one of the following:

  • Notary Public
  • German Consulate
  • Bank official
  • Justice of the Peace, in Australia
  • Amcha Office in Israel
  • Governmental Office of the State of Israel
  • A social service agency (such as Jewish Family Service) possessing a seal.

Copies of other documents do not need to be authorized at this time.

3. Why does the Claims Conference need a copy of my Social Security card? What is identity verification?

We request a copy of your Social Security card or Identification Card to verify your identity and to protect you from identity theft. We cannot process your claim without a copy of your Social Security card. Identity verification protects applicants and the Claims Conference alike. We never share your personal information without your consent.

4. What if the applicant is incapacitated and cannot sign the application form?

The application can be signed by the Power of Attorney holder. Along with the application form, please send a copy of the Power of Attorney document, a note signed and written on letterhead from a doctor or medical professional caring for the applicant, and a recent copy of a bill or bank statement in the applicant’s name.

5. What if the applicant does not have documents related to Holocaust-era persecution?

The Claims Conference actively assists survivors with the difficult task of seeking documentation more than 60 years after the event. Caseworkers help survivors organize and complete their documentation. The Claims Conference has assisted many clients in qualifying for Article 2 pensions using records from the German indemnification agencies, the International Tracing Service and a wide variety of other sources, including archives in the former Soviet Union, the Russian Red Cross, the Holocaust Museum in Washington and Yad Vashem, in Israel.

Individual applicants are not required to contact archival offices.

6. Is there an income limit to apply for compensation?

Payments through the Claims Conference Central and Eastern European Fund and Hardship Fund are not governed by income limits.

Pensions through the Article 2 Fund are governed by income and assets limits. The Article 2 eligibility guidelines clearly explain the limits. The German government funds the Article 2 Fund as a needs-based program. In 2007, the Claims Conference obtained significant liberalizations in the limits set by Germany; we continue to press for the removal of the income and assets limits.

To learn more, please see:  Article 2 Fund Income and Asset Limits in Multiple Currencies

7. I filed an application with the Claims Conference but I have not received a response.

When an application is received by the Claims Conference, it is registered and processing begins in our offices in Frankfurt, Germany, and Tel Aviv, Israel. The first written communication a claimant receives from the Claims Conference is the claim’s registration number. It can take approximately three months to receive a claim registration number in the mail. If you mailed your application more than SIX MONTHS ago and haven’t heard from us, please feel free to contact us. You may call before then but there may not be any information on your claim status.

The Claims Conference will be in touch with the applicant by mail or phone if we need additional documents during claim processing.

8. My relative or friend receives/received payments from the Claims Conference. We spent the war together and we suffered the very same persecution: Why was my claim denied?

Each program carries very specific eligibility criteria which must all be met in order to qualify for compensation from German government funds through the Claims Conference. There are several types of criteria, such as: duration, place and nature of persecution; current financial and geographical limitations; previous compensation payments; and date of birth, among others. Therefore each claim is entirely unique and is processed as such.

Some claims are considered “Currently Not Eligible (CNE)” under existing eligibility criteria and are set aside pending the possibility of obtaining changes in the guidelines during negotiations with the German government.

You may be able to appeal the decision on your claim. Read about eligibility and appeal details on the compensation page.

9. Are payments from the Claims Conference taxable? And do they affect SSI payments for United States residents?

Payments related to Holocaust-era compensation or restitution by and large are tax-exempt in most countries. Nevertheless, the laws vary by country and by payment. For a general overview, please go to Holocaust Payments and Federal Benefits.Holocaust Payments and Federal Benefits

Holocaust-related payments do not affect SSI for USA residents. All Holocaust compensation and restitution payments are protected in the United States by federal legislation that excludes them from calculations relating to eligibility for federal benefits. A website launched by The Empire Justice Center, The Legal Aid Society and the Evelyn Frank Legal Resources Program (EFLRP at Selfhelp in New York) includes information on the protection of Nazi Victim payments from taxation and means-tested spend-downs under United States Federal laws. Go to http://wnylc.com/health/entry/65.

Detailed information is available at: http://www.claimscon.org/what-we-do/compensation/payments-benefits/.

10. The bank charged a fee on my compensation payment. Can you help?

The Claims Conference adopted the Automated Clearing House (ACH) system in 2002, which functions as a direct deposit, allowing banks and financial institutions to electronically transfer funds to our clients without assessing a service fee to originate the transfer.

The beneficiary’s bank, however, may sometimes assess a fee on a wire transfer on the receiving end. Note that the German government does not charge fees for electronic transfers of its compensation payments. Intermediary German banks or other fiscal agents used by the German state to relay payments abroad sometimes assess a service fee on wired payments.

Therefore, the Claims Conference created the Bank Fee Waiver Initiative in 2001. The project fosters the voluntary elimination by private banks of processing fees associated with electronic receipt of Holocaust compensation payments. We provide a list of banks and countries currently participating in this initiative as well as a letter for individuals to request a fee waiver by their bank or branch office.

11. I don’t know if I ever filed a claim but I think I’m eligible for compensation. How do I find out if I ever filed a claim?

Contact the Claims Conference offices:

· For current residents of all countries EXCEPT Israel and Europe

Claims Conference
PO Box 1215
New York, NY 10113
USA
Tel.: (646) 536-9100
Fax: (212) 685-5299
E-mail: info@claimscon.org

· For current residents of Israel

Claims Conference
P.O. Box 20064
Tel Aviv, Israel 6120001
Tel: +972-3-519-4400
Fax: +972-3-624-1056
Email: infodesk@claimscon.org

· For current residents of Europe

Claims Conference
Postfach 90 05 43
60455 Frankfurt am Main
Deutschland
Tel.: + 69 / 970701-0
Fax: +69 / 970701-40
Email: A2-HF-CEEF@claimscon.org

PLEASE NOTE: The information presented herein is intended for information purposes only and solely as a general guide. The information is not intended as legal advice. It is a summary of specific issues and does not represent a definitive or complete statement of the programs and policies of the agencies or governments mentioned. The information may not address the special needs, interests and circumstances of individual recipients. Individuals seeking specific information on a program are urged to contact the relevant program or to consult their social service agency or help center representative. While the Claims Conference provides information on a general basis to various help and assistance centers, each help and assistance center is solely responsible for the advice provided by it. To the best of our knowledge the information is correct as of the date of this document and this information may change subsequent to the said date – April 26, 2012