Nuclear Weapons Workers’ Program:
Beginning with the Manhattan Project and continuing up to the present day, over 700,000 workers have served the United States of America by helping build up the nation’s nuclear weapons arsenal. Over the years, many of these workers have become ill due to their exposure to radioactive and toxic substances. The Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA) was enacted by U.S. Congress in 2001 to provide monetary compensation and free health care benefits to nuclear weapons workers who contracted an illness as a result of their workplace exposure. EEOICPA benefits are administered by the U.S. Department of Labor. Qualifying beneficiaries include employees, contractors and subcontractors who worked at any of the U.S. Department of Energy or Atomic Weapons Employer facilities covered under this program.
EEOICPA provides qualified sick workers with both health care and monetary benefits.
Health Care Benefits:
Workers qualifying for EEOICPA receive free lifetime health care benefits related to their covered medical condition(s). This free health care is not subject to any co-pays or deductibles and includes coverage of all doctor’s visits, hospitalization costs, medical treatments, prescriptions, medical equipment and in-home health care.
Monetary benefits differ depending on the worker’s specific claim and eligibility criteria. Benefits are divided into two parts: Part B and Part E.
Part B benefits include:
- One lump-sum, tax-free payment of $150,000.
Part E benefits include:
- Incremental tax-free payments totaling up to $250,000, depending on the worker’s level of impairment ($2,500 for each 1% of impairment). This is determined through an evaluation process by a specialized impairment physician. Workers may locate qualified doctors by contacting their local Department of Labor resource center [hyperlink to section] or the PCM Help Center at 866-387-2123.
- Individuals who initially receive less than the maximum payment of $250,000 may be eligible for additional compensation payments over time if their health condition deteriorates.
- Additional payments may be available to workers who experienced wage losses as a result of their covered conditions.
Total eligible coverage under both parts comes to a maximum of $400,000. Eligibility for Part B or Part E benefits depends upon the individual’s diagnosis and workplace exposure. More information is provided below. [hyperlink to section below]
Survivor benefits may also be available for family members of deceased workers. More information on the benefits and how to file claims are available at the DOL resource centers. [Hyperlink to map with resource center locations in “How to file a claim” below.]
How to qualify
To determine whether an individual qualifies for EEOICPA benefits, he or she must have a diagnosed illness that resulted from workplace exposure to radiation or toxins from a qualifying U.S. Department of Energy facility. Employees, contractors and subcontractors are all eligible for benefits. The diagnosis will determine whether an individual files a Part B or Part E claim.
Diagnoses eligible for Part B or Part E benefits
Workers’ eligibility for Part B vs. Part E benefits depends on their medical diagnosis.
Part B Diagnoses
Workers diagnosed with chronic beryllium disease, beryllium sensitivity, silicosis or any type of cancer should file a claim for Part B benefits. Certain cancers designated as “special exposure cohort (SEC) cancers” receive automatic eligibility consideration under Part B (see below). [hyperlink]
Part E Diagnoses
Workers diagnosed with any other work-related illness not covered under Part B above should file a claim for Part E benefits.
Determining workplace exposure
To determine whether a claimant’s illness resulted from workplace exposure, the U.S. Department of Labor uses one of two methods: dose reconstruction or special exposure cohort (SEC) status.
Dose reconstruction is an analysis of the amount of radiation a worker was exposed to during his or her employment. This is conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). NIOSH looks at the dates and location of employment to determine the percentage or likelihood the worker contracted the illness as a result of his or her work.
Special Exposure Cohort (SEC)
A special exposure cohort (SEC) is an automatic eligibility designation for certain classes of employees. There are over 80 SECs covering employees, contractors and subcontractors who worked at specified facilities, during specific time periods, for at least 250 days.
There are 22 types of cancer covered under the SECs. The SEC cancers covered are:
[i3logix: copy image from EEOICPA brochure and town hall graphic]
For more information about qualifying illnesses and the documentation required, PCM encourages workers to contact their local Department of Labor resource center or the PCM Help Center [hyperlink to Help Center page under “About Us”]. PCM’s Help Center can help workers navigate the claim filing process.
How to file a claim
A worker must have a diagnosed illness before filing a claim for EEOICPA benefits. Claims are filed through the worker’s local Department of Labor (DOL) resource center. Some claimants may be required to provide additional medical records and proof of employment at a covered facility. The resource center then sends the claim to a district office. The district office will usually respond within 30 days to confirm that the claim has been received. A claims examiner will be assigned to the case, and will let the claimant know if other information is required to determine his or her eligibility for benefits.
There are 11 resource centers strategically located across the United States. PCM encourages workers to contact the DOL resource center directly for more information about the program, its benefits and the application process.
[Link to page on DEEOIC website] [i3logix: create a map of DOL resource center locations and regions they cover (like the DOL website). Link to office addresses on DEEOIC website.]
PCM also operates a Help Center to help claimants navigate the process. Anyone interested in more information about the program or the claims process may contact the Help Center at 866-387-2123.
[CALLOUT BUTTON WITH LEAD CAPTURE FORM: Click here to request more information from the Help Center.] WE NEED TO BE 100% SURE THAT WE HAVE A SOLID PROCESS IN PLACE AT THE HELP CENTER TO GET BACK TO THESE INQUIRIES – AH: Set-up a Web to Lead in Salesforce]
Uranium Workers’ Program
The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) was established in 1990 under the Department of Justice for uranium miners, millers, and ore haulers who have contracted illnesses as a result of their workplace exposure. It provides a lump-sum, tax-free compensation payment for eligible claimants based on proof of employment history and diagnosis of an associated work-related illness.
RECA benefits are also available for individuals who lived in specified areas downwind of the Nevada Test Site, as well as onsite participants at designated atmospheric nuclear testing sites.
More information on RECA’s benefits, eligibility criteria and claim process are below. Depending on a worker’s individual case, he or she may also be eligible for EEOICPA benefits for uranium workers. [hyperlink the key words to the corresponding sections in body text]:
The benefits provided under RECA comprise tax-free, cash compensation for the following categories of individuals:
- Uranium workers: Individuals who worked as uranium miners, mill workers, or ore transporters may be eligible for compensation of $100,000.
- Onsite participants: Individuals who were present at specified atmospheric nuclear testing sites during designated time periods may be eligible for compensation of $75,000.
- Downwinders: Individuals who lived in specified counties downwind of the Nevada Test Site during designated time periods may be eligible for payment of $50,000.
EEOICPA benefits for uranium workers
Uranium workers may also be eligible to receive additional EEOICPA benefits under Part E. These benefits include an additional $50,000 in tax-free compensation plus free health care benefits. Claimants may also be eligible for incremental tax-free payments totaling up to $250,000, depending on the worker’s level of impairment ($2,500 for each 1% of impairment). This is determined through an evaluation process by a specialized impairment physician. Workers may locate qualified doctors by contacting their local Department of Labor resource center [hyperlink to section] or the PCM Help Center at 866-387-2123.
It is important that uranium workers apply for both programs simultaneously in order to maximize their benefits. In the large majority of cases, uranium workers must first qualify for RECA benefits in order to be considered for EEOICPA benefits. To learn more about RECA or EEOICPA benefits for uranium workers, PCM encourages individuals to contact their local Department of Labor resource center or the PCM Help Center.
- How to qualify for RECA
In order to qualify for RECA benefits, an individual must meet the criteria for one of the following exposure categories:
1) Uranium Miners
Individuals employed in uranium mines located in AZ, CO, ID, ND, NM, OR, SD, TX, UT, WA, or WY may be eligible. Miners must have been exposed to 40 or more working level months of radiation or worked at least 1 year during the time period from 1942 to 1971. Eligible diseases include primary lung cancer or certain nonmalignant respiratory diseases.
2) Uranium Mill Workers
Individuals employed in uranium mills located in AZ, CO, ID, ND, NM, OR, SD, TX, UT, WA, or WY may be eligible. Millers must have worked at least 1 year during the time period from 1942 to 1971. Eligible diseases include primary lung cancer, certain non-malignant respiratory diseases, renal cancer, or other chronic renal disease including nephritis and kidney tubal tissue injury.
3) Ore Transporters
Individuals employed in the transport of uranium ore or vanadium-uranium ore from mines or mills located in AZ, CO, ID, ND, NM, OR, SD, TX, UT, WA, or WY may be eligible. Ore transporters must have worked at least 1 year during the time period from 1942 to 1971. Eligible diseases include primary lung cancer, certain nonmalignant respiratory diseases, renal cancer, or other chronic renal disease including nephritis and kidney tubal tissue injury.
4) Onsite Participants
Individuals who participated onsite in a test involving the atmospheric detonation of a nuclear device may be eligible. To be eligible, participants must have been present within the boundaries of the Nevada, Pacific, South Atlantic, or Trinity Test Sites during nuclear testing, and afterwards contracted leukemia (other than chronic lymphocytic leukemia), lung cancer, multiple myeloma, lymphomas (other than Hodgkin’s disease), and primary cancer of the thyroid, male or female breast, esophagus, stomach, pharynx, small intestine, pancreas, bile ducts, gall bladder, salivary gland, urinary bladder, brain, colon, ovary, liver, or lung.
Eligible claimants must have lived or worked in one of the specified counties downwind of the Nevada Test Site in AZ, NV, or UT for a period of at least 2 years during parts of 1951-1958 and 1962. Eligible diagnoses include leukemia (other than chronic lymphocytic leukemia), multiple myeloma, lymphomas (other than Hodgkin’s disease), and primary cancer of the thyroid, breast, esophagus, stomach, pharynx, small intestine, pancreas, bile ducts, gall bladder, salivary gland, urinary bladder, brain, colon, ovary, liver, or lung.
- How to file a claim
Individuals who would like to file a claim for RECA benefits can contact their local Department of Labor (DOL) resource center. [hyperlink] Here workers may also simultaneously file a claim for EEOICPA benefits.
Individuals may also contact their local Radiation Exposure Screening and Education Program (RESEP) office for more information. [Hyperlink to RESEP brochure: http://www.hrsa.gov/gethealthcare/pdf/resepbrochure.pdf.pdf] The RESEP offices provide public assistance through information and education, cancer and related disease screenings, referrals for medical treatments, and documentation assistance for RECA claims.
Uranium workers may also call the PCM Help Center at 866-387-2123 for further information or assistance navigating the claim filing process.