Answers to Basic EEOICPA Questions

EEOICPA, Part B, Part E, claim, survivor, authorized representative   

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Answers to Basic EEOICPA Questions

 

 

A Hanford Chemical WorkerEEOICPA Basics

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  1. What is EEOICPA?
  2. Why did Congress create EEOICPA?
  3. Who may file an EEOICPA claim?
  4. Who is a survivor under EEOICPA?
  5. What is Part B?
  6. What is Part E?
  7. How do I file a claim?
  8. What can I do to improve my claim?
  9. What is an AWE site?
  10. What is a Beryllium Vendor site?
  11. What is a DOE site?
  12. What is an Authorized Representative?

What is EEOICPA?

  • The Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA) is a federal program created by Congress to compensate nuclear weapons workers who were made ill, or the surviving family members of deceased workers, by work done in the US nuclear weapons industry beginning in WW2.  EEOICPA also provides medical benefits for approved illnesses. 

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Why did Congress enact EEOICPA?

  • In 2000 Congress determined that nuclear weapons production and testing involves unique dangers and workers could be harmed by exposure to even small amounts of radiation or beryllium.  Congress felt that many Cold War nuclear weapons workers at Department of Energy (DOE) sites had been put at risk without their knowledge or consent.  Previously secret records documented unmonitored exposures to radiation, beryllium, and toxic chemicals.  Prior to the enactment of EEOICPA DOE contractors were always held harmless which made it was nearly impossible for nuclear workers to obtain compensation.  Over two dozen recently published scientific studies show that some nuclear weapons workers have increased risk of dying from cancer and other diseases.  Other studies show a correlation between disease and radiation or beryllium exposure.  Studies also show that 98% of radiation induced cancers in nuclear workers occurred at radiation levels less than the existing maximum “safe” levels.

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Who may file an EEOICPA claim?

  • Any worker who has been diagnosed with cancer or any other illness caused by chemical or toxins and who worked at one of the covered DOE facilities may file a claim.
  • Anyone who is a survivor, as defined by the law, of a worker who died of cancer or chemically caused illness and worked at one of the covered DOE facilities may file a claim.
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Who is a survivor under EEOICPA?

Survivors are defined differently for Part B and Part E.

  • Survivors under Part B include:   
  • 1) a spouse of a worker, married for at least one year
    2) a child if there is no living spouse
    3) a parent if there is no living spouse or child
    4) a grandparent if there is no living spouse, child or parent
    5) a grandchild if no surviving spouse, child, parent, or grandparent.
  • Survivors under Part E include:
  • 1) a spouse of a worker, married for at least one year
    2) if there is no surviving spouse, children who were under age 18 at the time of the worker's death, and children up to age 23 if in college at the time of the workers death, or children any age if unable to work because of medical disability at the time of the worker's death.

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    What is Part B?

    • Part B of EEOICPA provides compensation for workers with radiation induced cancers, beryllium disease or silicosis. Claimants whose claims are approved will receive a lump-sum payment of $150,000 and medical benefits for the covered illness. Some claimants paid under Part B will also be paid under Part E.
    • There are two ways to be paid under a Part B radiation claim:
      • The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) does a dose reconstruction for a claimant to estimate what radiation the worker was exposed to.
      • If NIOSH does not have enough evidence to estimate the amount of radiation workers at a facility were exposed to a Special Exposure Cohort (SEC) can be designated to allow workers with any one of twenty-two qualifying cancers to be approved without undergoing a dose reconstruction.
    • NIOSH then sends the claim to Department of Labor for final determination.
    • More detailed information on Part B.
    • EECAP Part B-Part E brochure
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    What is Part E?

    • Part E compensates workers for all occupationally induced illnesses caused by any toxic substance.  Claimants with approved claims can receive compensation for lost wages and impairment of up to $250,000 plus medical benefits for the covered illness. 
    • Part E used to be known as Part D.  Originally Part D was managed by Department of Energy (DOE).  In 2004 Department of Labor (DOL) took over and now manages Part E claims.
    • More detailed information on Part E.
    • EECAP's Part B-Part E brochure
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     How do I file a claim?

    • Fill out either the EE-1 form if you are the worker or the EE-2 form if you are a survivor.   These can be printed out and mailed.
    • If you need help filling out the forms or you have questions, your local Resource Center can assist you.  They can also fill out the forms over the phone and mail them for you.
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     What can I do to improve my claim?

    • Keep copies of all EEOICPA mailings to and from DOL and NIOSH in a three-ring binder for quick reference.  Or if you prefer, scan all documents into your computer and store there.  When you name the documents on the computer put the date, starting with the year first to make them easy to find in chronological order.
    • Put all requests to DOL or NIOSH in writing.  When either agency gives you a verbal answer to a question ask them to put it in writing as well, or write them a letter following the conversation documenting what was said.  If you need to take your claim to appeal you will want a clear paper trail.
    • When mailing important information to DOL send it by certified mail and save the receipts, or put tracking on the letter, to prove they received the information.
    • Never mail originals of any documents; send only copies
    • File a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with Department of Energy (DOE) and request a copy of all the records in your file.  Specifically ask for your Industrial Hygienist and Health Physics reports. DOL does not always request all your records.  Often you will find information that is helpful with your claim, such as training you had for handling specific toxic substances.
    • If your claim has been in progress for a while, request a copy of your administrative record from DOL.  This should contain everything that DOL has on your claim, including internal communications.  This may help you identify errors that have been made on your claim.
    • For your Part E claim review DOL's Site Exposure Matrix (SEM) for your facility.  While the SEM is incomplete it does offer a good place to start researching what toxins were on your site.
    • Review documents from your facility for the time period that you worked there whenever possible.  These documents are invaluable when it comes to documenting your exposure.  DOL does not have all exposures documented.  When you find a toxin or radionuclide you likely were exposed to, copy the document, noting the page number and site identifier of the document.  Organize these and send them to DOL.  Then also send a copy of all radionuclide exposure to NIOSH. OSTI is one place to research documents.
    • Contact your Senate and House Constituent Services departments and ask for their help. 
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     What is an AWE site?

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     What is a Beryllium Vendor site?

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     What is a DOE site?

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     What is an Authorized Representative?

    • An Authorized Representative is someone the claimant appoints to help with the claim.  If you are having trouble finding information you need for your claim or if you are feeling stressed by the EEOICPA process an Authorized Representative may be helpful to you.
    • You can appoint anyone you wish to be an Authorized Representative but you can only have one Authorized Representative at a time.
    • You can appoint an Authorized Representative using DOL's form or you may send a signed letter to DOL with the appointed person's name, address and phone number.
    • EECAP also has an Authorized Representative brochure.
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    Photo courtesy of DOE