After the last class action in the USA was dismissed and the Austrian Federal Government announced on 13 December 2005 that legal closure has been obtained, the General Settlement Fund for Victims of National Socialism began to make first advance payments.
Since 11 January 2006 the sum of USD 210 million has been available to the Fund, of which an amount of USD 25 million is earmarked for losses from insurance policies.
The current compensation payments are "initial payments" which became possible when the General Settlement Fund Law was amended (BGBl. 142/2005). As a result, prior to the required valuation of all claims to the Settlement Fund, those applicants can receive initial compensation payments whose applications have been decided by the Claims Committee. The requirement for receiving an initial payment is that a waiver is signed and returned, by means of which applicants waive all further claims, except those to a possible follow-up payment.
The amount of the advance payment is determined by a fixed quota of the sum established in each case for submitted claims. For applications recognized under the claims-based process, the quota is 10% of the established sum. For applications recognized under the equity-based process, as well as for withdrawn insurance policies, the quota is 15%. The advance payments made under these quotas should not be less than USD 500 and not more than USD 2 million, which is the statutory upper limit for an awarded compensation payment.
Applicants of a more advanced age, who were directly affected by NS persecution and property looting, are treated with priority in connection with the advance payments. By the end of January 2006, the first batch of 1,000 advance payments has been sent to applicants throughout the world.