DOL Pays $4.5 billion in Benefits Under Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act

On Jan. 16, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced that it has paid more than $4.5 billion to 48,072 individuals under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA), which provides compensation and medical benefits to employees who became ill as a result of working in the atomic weapons industry.

"We got this program up and running in eight months by July 31, 2001, and I'm very proud that the department has processed more than $4.5 billion in benefits to workers and their families efficiently and with compassion," said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao.

Along with this compensation, DOL has assisted individuals filing claims under the act by implementing several new services during fiscal years 2008 and 2009. The Labor Department's Resource Center staff now works one-on-one with claimants and health care providers to facilitate medical benefits delivery under the act. Additionally, a new Web portal allows individuals receiving medical benefits under the EEOICPA to look up medical providers who have enrolled with the program. Information also has been added to the department's Site Exposure Matrices Web site regarding occupational diseases associated with toxic substances found at facilities covered under Part E of the EEOICPA.

"The Labor Department continues to improve our claimant services, and we are paying eligible claimants as quickly and efficiently as possible," said Shelby Hallmark, director of the department's Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, which administers the EEOICPA.

On July 31, 2001, DOL began administering Part B of the EEOICPA. Part B covers current or former workers who have been diagnosed with cancers, beryllium disease or silicosis, and whose illness was caused by exposure to radiation, beryllium or silica while working directly for the U.S. Department of Energy, its contractors or subcontractors, designated atomic weapons employers or beryllium vendors. Since 2001, DOL has approved 37,099 claims under the Part B provisions of the act.

Part E, created by an amendment to the act on Oct. 28, 2004, provides federal compensation and medical benefits to contractors and subcontractors of the Department of Energy who worked at covered facilities and sustained an illness as a result of exposure to toxic substances. Under DOL’s administration, the Part E benefit payout has already exceeded $1.4 billion and more than 20,266 claims have been approved.

The EEOICPA also provides additional compensation for uranium workers who worked at Section 5 facilities covered by the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act. Certain survivors of nuclear weapons industry workers are also eligible for benefits under Parts B and E.
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