Labor Department Offers Help to DOE Workers

The DOL's Traveling Resource Center will be in Illinois soon to help former DOE workers who worked with radioactive materials and beryllium and their survivors apply for a federal benefits program.

People living in Illinois who worked with radioactive materials or beryllium at U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) facilities can get help applying for benefits under a new federal workers'' compensation program.

The Department of Labor''s (DOL) traveling resource center will provide program information or advice on filling out the forms to these workers - or their survivors - while visiting Joliet and Willowbrook, Ill., on Feb. 11-14.

The Traveling Resource Center will be available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 11-12, at the Ramada Inn Conference Room, 1520 Commerce Lane, Joliet. For directions, call (815) 730-1111. The Resource Center will set up shop in the Willowbrook Holiday Inn West Ballroom, Rt. 83 (Kingery Highway) in willowbrook from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 13-14. For directions, call (630) 325-6400.

The Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act went into effect July 31, 2001, and provides $150,000 lump-sum compensation to workers who became ill as a result of exposure to radiation, beryllium or silica on the job. An amendment to the law passed by Congress in December 2001 means that adult children will now be eligible for compensation if there is no surviving spouse. Under the law as it was originally written, children were eligible only if they were under age 18, full-time students under age 23 or incapable of self-support when their parent died.

Workers or survivors who need help with their claim forms can schedule appointments at the traveling resource center by calling, toll-free, (866) 363-6993 (Portsmouth) or drop in.

Illinois is home to a number of facilities covered under the legislation. Former workers at these sites, listed by DOE, may be eligible for compensation. People living in Chicago who worked at other DOE facilities are also welcome to visit the traveling resource center.

Those in the Chicago area include: Argonne National Laboratory-East, Argonne, Ill.; Blockson Chemical Co. (aka Olin Chemical), Joliet; Fansteel Metallurgical Corp., North Chicago; Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Batavia; Lindsay Light and Chemical Co. (aka Kerr McGee), West Chicago;

Precision Extrusion Co., Bensenville; Kaiser Aluminum, Dolton; and W.E. Pratt Manufacturing Co., Joliet. Other facilities listed in Chicago include: Armour Research Foundation, C-B Tool Products Co., Crane Co., ERA Tool and Engineering Co. (aka Audio-Tex), Great Lakes Carbon Corp. (aka Regis Chemical), GSA 39th Street Warehouse, International Register (aka Intermatic), Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, National Guard Armory, Podbeliniac Corp. (aka Capitol Associates), Quality Hardware and Machine Co., R. Krasburg and Sons Manufacturing Co., Sciaky Brothers Inc., University of Chicago, and Wyckoff Drawn Steel Co.

by Sandy Smith ([email protected])

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