IMPORTANT SURVEY DENIAL OF PETITIONS TO REOPEN CLAIMS
Over the years I have had people come to me to let me know that their petition to reopen their claim was denied by the Department of Labor’s Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation (DEEOIC). But it was highly unusual to have three claimants approach me for assistance within ten days of each other.
Because of this Deb Jerison of the Energy Employees Claimant Assistance Project (EECAP) and I decided to issue this survey, https://bit.ly/2Ijw4eL, to determine how widespread this problem is.
DEEOIC allows claimants to submit a petition to reopen a claim at any time. A claim can be reopened if the claimant has new evidence to present or if there is a change in policy or the Site Exposure Matrix.
I worked many years with one claimant who has tried unsuccessfully to have his company designated as a Department of Energy (DOE) covered facility. When DEEOIC denied the claim he filed a complaint in federal court. The court ruled in favor of DEEOIC and the appeals court upheld the decision. The appeals court’s decision noted that the claimant did not provide any DOE contracts as evidence to support the idea that DOE had proprietary interest in the facility.
The contracts were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act Request and submitted as new evidence to reopen the claim.
DEEOIC denied the petition to reopen the claim. The claimant went back to court. Unfortunately, the court said it does not have the jurisdiction to review the denial of a petition to reopen a claim. So there is no recourse to file a federal lawsuit because DEEOIC refused to reopen a claim.
There also doesn’t appear to be a mechanism to reopen a claim if pertinent evidence already in the file is ignored, as happened with two of the claimants who reached out to me.
Before ANWAG can go any further it will be important to understand how many claimants are affected. I would appreciate anyone who had a petition to reopen a claim denied to complete the poll. All responses will remain anonymous.
Again, to take the survey, click here https://bit.ly/2Ijw4eL
March 4, 2020 - 5:42 PMI write as an Advocate, Authorized Representative, and a Subject Matter Expert. Re-Opening in most cases (with the notable exception of recurring non-Melanoma Skin Cancers) is rare. The reason for this is that the Claimant is required to produce New Probative Evidence. Since New Probative Evidence is rarely defined, per the wisdom of a deceased co-worker of mine at PORTS, "Since there aren't any rules, whatever you do is automatically wrong." In Claims where there are hundreds or even thousands of pages in the file, it would behoove the DOL to understand what it has on hand, before asking for more information. I also find that the decision-makers frequently do not have the education, experience, and training to understand, let alone make a credible decision. The lack of empathy is acute when I see the impact on a deserving Claimant -- only to find out that someone who truly is not an expert made the decision that adversely impacts the Claimant's life. Since the EEOICPA is clearly not self-policing, this Claimant Unfriendly activity will persist until the US Congress and/or the Federal Courts act. The US Congress and/or the Federal Courts must unambiguously tell the DEEOIC Leadership that you will either implement this Program in accord with the law or we are going to clean up the section of the Frances Perkins Building in DC where you are working. I see no other recourse to solve this problem.
John Walter Pace
March 12, 2020 - 11:02 PMI have been working on my claim since 2001 on skin cancer. Squamous Cell Cancer That started to occurred in July 13, 1959. at the time I worked at the SRE Reactor at the time of the worst nuclear reactor accident in the history of the United States. This was at Santa Susana, Ca. in Area 4. I was there at the date time of the accident. I am a firsthand witness of the accident. I also took part in restarting re starting the SRE Reactor with re-starting the damaged reactor through the orders of Marvin J. Fox, Manager of the SRE Reactor a few hours later after the accident. I was exposed to some very dangerous levels of Nuclear radiation on July 13, - 26th of July. Claim has been turned down a number of times stating I was never in any danger by of any serious nuclear danger by NIOSH dose re- construction. Because of a very large cover by DOE & Atomics internatioal us men were sworn into secrecy not to say a word about what had happened on July 13, 1959 ( the nuclear accident). This is a huge cover-p by the government. I being there a witness, have a lot of info on what happened I am now 81 I have waited long enough to get paid for all I have went through the years for my claim to pass. Can you please be of help......John Pace