Oil Spill Victims Suffering from Slow Payments

In the Gulf of Mexico, BP's blown-out well could be declared dead by Sunday. The government's point man, Thad Allen, said Wednesday the relief well is nearly complete. Over the weekend, mud and cement will be pumped in to permanently seal it.

Also Wednesday, the Obama administration ordered oil and gas companies to permanently plug more than 3,000 abandoned wells in the Gulf to prevent new leaks.

Meanwhile, some victims of the Gulf spill complain they're waiting too long to be compensated. The man in charge of paying claims, Kenneth Feinberg, got an earful Wednesday.

Special Section: Disaster in the Gulf

For two hours straight one frustrated business owner after another told Feinberg, the administrator of the $20 billion fund to compensate victims of BP's oil spill, that his system for paying claims is broken.

"Our worst fear was that we would get to this point in the season and have no money. We're there!" said one person.

"I am begging you. I am begging for your help. I needed a check yesterday," said another.

When Feinberg took over the claims process three weeks ago he promised checks to individuals in 48 hours, businesses in seven days. Jenny and Chris Sherill filed a claim for their once-thriving beach wedding company Aug. 23, reports CBS News correspondent Kelly Cobiella.

"I am hopeful," said Jenny at the time.

Three weeks later they still have no check and perhaps worse, no answers. "I'm completely let down and definitely not hopeful anymore," said Jenny.

Before Feinberg took over, BP paid out $395 million. In the past three weeks, Feinberg has paid $185 million. Of the 60,000 claims before him, half are still being processed despite his promises of a quick resolution. Only 16,000 have been paid. Fourteen-thousand have insufficient paperwork to back them up.

He vows he'll find a way to get checks out faster. "We can do better. I want to do better," he said.

For many here promises and apologies only go so far. "Our creditors won't take an apology for a payment," said Chris Sherrill.

Feinberg was short on specifics about how he'll fix the claims process. With businesses already folding, he said he understands the urgency.