Plan released for dividing money to Vegas shooting victims

LAS VEGAS — A plan that will be used to divide donations for victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting was finalized Friday with a significant change that allows injured people who were not hospitalized to seek some of the money.

The committee overseeing the distribution of more than $22 million revised an earlier draft in response to requests that money also go to people who didn't require a hospital stay after the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history.

The group received more than 1,700 comments from victims' families, survivors, community members and others.

The plan calls for most of the money to go to relatives of the 58 people killed or victims whose injuries left them with permanent brain damage or paralysis, requiring constant home care.

Individuals who were physically injured and hospitalized can submit a claim. So can those who received medical treatment for physical injuries on an emergency or outpatient basis on or before Oct. 10.

"We appreciate all of the individuals who shared their heartbreaking stories with us over the past couple of weeks," Las Vegas Victims' Fund committee chairman Scott Nielson said in a statement. "The committee heard from many different voices and considered those comments as we were drafting the final protocol on how best to distribute these funds."

The deadline to submit claims is Jan. 31. Payments are expected to begin March 5.

A high-stakes gambler killed 58 people and injured more than 500 others on Oct. 1 after he shattered the windows of his suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino and unleashed gunfire on a country music festival below. He then killed himself.

Donations for the victims began to pour in within hours of the shooting.

A GoFundMe page has collected about $11.7 million. More money was collected by accounts, including the Direct Impact Fund, a nonprofit affiliated with GoFundMe, and the National Compassion Fund, which was created by victims and families of mass casualty events.

Nielson said the committee recognizes people are experiencing psychological trauma from the massacre, but the "overwhelming number of victims prevents us from providing individual monetary payments" to them.

The group is working with officials and others to make mental health support easily accessible to all those affected regardless of where they live.