One of the most common questions people have when they are considering whether to file a whistleblower lawsuit is whether any financial award is available to whistleblowers. In other words, can whistleblowers get paid?
The simple answer is that, yes, successful whistleblowers are entitled to a financial reward under the False Claims Act. In general, whistleblowers receive a percentage of the government’s ultimate recovery, and depending on the extent of fraud, the compensation for blowing the whistle can be substantial.
Whistleblower Compensation Under the False Claims Act
Under the False Claims Act, defendants found to have committed fraud against the government are liable for treble damages, or three times the amount of actual damages to the government, plus penalties between $11,803 and $23,607 per false claim (as of June 2021). Successful whistleblowers, also referred to as relators, generally receive between 15 to 30 percent of the amount recovered by the government.
This percentage is determined according to a formula set up by the Act:
- Relators receive 15 to 25 percent of the recovery if the government joined the case
- Relators receive 25 to 30 percent of the recovery if they continued the case on their own after the government declined to intervene.
Variables That Affect Whistleblower Compensation
Whistleblower compensation varies widely depending on the case. A number of factors come into play, including:
- Quality of Information: Was the information you provided correct and reliable? Were you an original source? If your case is primarily based on information previously disclosed to the government, your reward will be reduced. 
- Litigation assistance: Did you hire skilled attorneys with experience in whistleblower matters? Did your attorneys do legwork? If they contributed to helping the government build its case, the reward for you and your attorneys will likely by higher.
- Relator complicity: Did you participate in the fraud? The government wants to encourage even those involved with criminal activity to blow the whistle, but this will negatively impact your reward.
Relief from Whistleblower Retaliation
If you file a qui tam case against your employer and suffer negative employment consequences as a result, you may also have a case for unlawful retaliation under the False Claims Act. If successful in the employment retaliation claim, you could receive double the amount of your back pay, as well as compensation for special damages, along with your share of the recovery in the qui tam claim.
Are you considering filing a whistleblower claim? Explore our website to learn more about the False Claims Act, common types of fraud in healthcare and other industries, and current events impacting whistleblower cases. We understand that it's not easy to "blow the whistle," but the law is on your side and our experienced attorneys are here to help. Read more about successful whistleblower settlements Goldberg Kohn attorneys have obtained for our clients, or contact us to schedule a free and confidential consultation.