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Rush of applications as deadline nears for Boston Marathon victim fund

Charles Krupa / AP file

Boston Marathon bombing survivor Pete DiMartino, of Rochester, N.Y., and his girlfriend, Rebekah Gregory, hold hands prior to DiMartino throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before a Red Sox game at Fenway Park in Boston, on May 23. DiMartino and Gregory were injured in an explosion near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

People injured in the attack on the Boston Marathon are rushing to meet a Saturday deadline to apply for payments from a $47 million fund set up to help victims and their families.

The One Fund Boston had received 175 applications by midday Friday and expected more by the deadline, two months to the day after two bombs went off near the marathon finish line, said Camille Biros, the deputy fund administrator.

“We knew they’d all come in, and we knew they’d come in at the end," she said.

Kenneth Feinberg, the lawyer overseeing payments from the fund, told The New York Times earlier this month that he expected 250 applications. Through June 5, the fund had only 50 applications.

Besides the injured, families of four people killed — three by the blasts and one campus police officer killed by the suspects days later — are eligible for payments from the fund. Biros declined to say whether those four families had applied.

The fund has said that it will prioritize claims for deaths, double amputees and victims who sustained brain damage, followed by single amputees and then people whose injuries required an overnight hospital stay.

Applicants have to fill out a three-page form. For the wounded, it asks about the nature of the injuries and length of time in the hospital, and requires a hospital statement confirming that the injuries were a result of the attack.

Rebekah Gregory, who said she has had surgery 13 times since she was injured at the finish line, was overnighting her One Fund application on Thursday. She said she had to wait until she was released from the hospital, just Monday, to finish it.

Gregory, 26, said she was paying $400 for Cobra health insurance because her regular insurance expired two days before the bombings. In addition, she said, she has to pay for home health care and at least $1,000 per month in prescription drugs.

“It would make a huge difference,” she said of a payment from the fund.

Doctors reconstructed part of Gregory’s left leg, but it is not clear whether she will be able to walk on it again. Her full recovery could take more than a year.

“I would have thought everybody would have applied by now,” she said. “I’m just grateful that they have it, especially for cases like mine.”

Feinberg also oversaw victim compensation funds after the Sept. 11 attacks and the massacre at Virginia Tech. He told The New York Times that he always expected a rush of claims close to the deadline, and he has resisted calls to give the victims more time.

Feinberg has told victims he plans to distribute money by June 30.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino set up the fund for public donations in the days after the bombings. Through midday Friday, it had collected $47.4 million.

Claims that come in after the deadline will be considered in consultation with the fund’s board and the community, according to a protocol released last month. Claimants can also ask for a meeting with Feinberg.

Miranda Leitsinger of NBC News contributed to this report.

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