Feds, contractors and others can now seek monetary compensation for costs they incurred as a result of the 2015 breach, through a newly launched settlement website.
Feds who incurred costs in the wake of the infamous Office of Personnel Management hack can now sign up online to get recompensed.
The mid-2010s breach—the biggest ever—led to leaks of private data on more than 21 million current and past federal employees.
A $63 million settlement fund to satisfy a long-percolating class action lawsuit filed in connection with the security breakdown and its aftermath was announced last month—and now a website finally has gone live, where damaged parties can file their claims.
The same hack also involved data on millions of contractors and other non-federal workers whose jobs necessitated security clearances via federal channels.
Federal officials and experts, soon after the breach was discovered, identified the perpetrators as agents working in behalf of the Chinese government.
The compensation website offers links to online forms, through which applicants can seek payment. The payouts will come via two separate buckets—covering such costs as out-of-pocket expenses and compensable time (spent, for example, on credit monitoring and identify theft management). Payments starting at a minimum of $700 are available for “reasonably documented” claims on each side of the fund.
A FAQ page was also posted for those interested in the settlement.
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), a major complainant and federal employee representative in the litigation, expressed relief on behalf of millions of feds who should find at least modest help and solace from the settlement.
“As lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) over its failure to protect employees’ personal data that led to one of the largest data breaches in U.S. history, AFGE is happy to report that a settlement of $63 million has been reached to help data breach victims recover losses,” the union said.
Another major federal employee union, the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE), also quickly posted news and instructions regarding the settlement and claims website.
For those who wish to pursue their own separate claims against OPM and the contractor that is party to the agreement, the postmark deadline for opting out of the settlement is Sept. 9, 2022.
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