Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act FAQ
On December 23, 2016, President Barack Obama signed into law legislation (Public Law 114-328) that included the Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act, which recognizes the people of Guam for their unwavering loyalty to the United States during enemy occupation during World War II. The law implements many of the recommendations of the Guam War Claims Review Commission. Passage of war claims legislation was an effort undertaken by every Guam Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives and it marked a significant legislative milestone to honor those Chamorros on Guam who suffered and died during World War II.
What is the Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act?
The Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act honors Guam’s greatest generation by providing Congressional recognition to the people of Guam who endured enemy occupation during World War II. The law authorizes the payment of certain claims to the living survivors and the heirs of those who died as a result of the occupation.
Who is handling the claims process?
The Foreign Claims Settlement Commission (FCSC), an entity within the U.S. Department of Justice, is responsible for the establishing and managing the claims process for eligible individuals. The FCSC has managed 43 previous claims programs administered by the United States Government, and its staff has expertise in adjudicating such programs. The FCSC is the only entity that will manage the claims process.
Congresswoman Bordallo and her staff are working closely with the FCSC to ensure that the claims process is managed appropriately. She will also be working with community organizations and local stakeholders throughout the claims process. It is important to note that the Congresswoman’s office will not directly handle any claims nor will the Government of Guam, only the FCSC. The Congresswoman’s office can help make inquiries if there are specific questions once the claims process is fully established. More information governing the claims process will be released by the FCSC 180 days after enactment of the bill which is roughly sometime in June 2017.
Who is eligible to file a claim?
The Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act authorizes two categories of eligible claimants. The law reflects compromise language offered to Congresswoman Bordallo in 2009 by U.S. Senator John McCain. Congresswoman Bordallo, after consulting with local leaders and the people of Guam, included this compromise language in every introduction of the Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act since 2010.
- Living survivors who suffered, as a result of the attack and occupation of Guam by Imperial Japanese military forces during World War II, or incident to the liberation of Guam by United States military forces, any of the following:
- Rape or severe personal injury (such as loss of a limb, dismemberment, or paralysis)
- Forced labor or a personal injury (such as disfigurement, scarring, or burns)
- Forced march, internment, or hiding to evade internment.
- The living spouse, living children or living parents of an individual who was killed during the Japanese occupation of Guam.
When can I file a claim?
The Foreign Claims Settlement Commission is currently working to establish rules and develop a claims form that will allow eligible individuals to file a claim. By law, the FCSC has 180 days from December 23, 2016 to publish rules and establish procedures for claimants. This process should be completed by June 2017. The FCSC will provide notification of this process and the procedures on how to file a claim via newspaper, radio, and television.
Congresswoman Bordallo will work closely with the FCSC, as well as community partners, to ensure that eligible individuals are well informed of the process and understand what is needed to submit claims.
What documents will be needed to file a claim?
Specific requirements on what information is needed to file a claim will be determined by the Federal Claims Settlement Commission through its rulemaking process. However, we urge potential claimants to seek any and all original documentation pertaining to their cases in order to expedite the process in the future.
How long do I have to file a claim?
Claims can be filed for one year from the date FCSC publishes rules and notifies the public.
How much is being paid for compensation?
Payments for compensation are based on what the claimant may have endured:
- $15,000- Rape or severe personal injury (loss of limb, dismemberment or paralysis)
- $12,000- Forced labor or a personal injury (disfigurement, scarring, burns)
- $10,000- Forced march, internment, or hiding to evade internment
- $25,000- to be distributed between living descendants of individuals killed during the occupation (parents, widow or surviving children only). Note: by law, these amounts will only be paid after survivors have been compensated.