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$293 Million in Compensation Paid Out to Nuclear Weapon Workers

A year after the start of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act, $293 million in compensation payments have been paid out to current and former nuclear weapon workers or their survivors.

"I am proud of the work the Department of Labor (DOL) has done to help these men and women who were harmed as a result of their hard work and loyal service to their country," said Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao. "These workers and their families have paid a terrible price for their role in preserving our freedom. The Department of Labor is helping our country repay these individuals for all their sacrifices."

The act was implemented on July 31, 2001. It provides compensation of $150,000 and payment of medical expenses to employees who worked for the Department of Energy (DOE) and its contractors and subcontractors in the development, testing and production of nuclear weapons. Radiogenic cancers, beryllium diseases and chronic silicosis are covered under the program. Qualified survivors of covered employees, including adult children, are also eligible for compensation.

The Departments of Labor, Energy, Health and Human Services, and Justice administer the program. The agencies work cooperatively to deliver benefits. As the lead agency, DOL published Interim Final Regulations, developed user-friendly forms to assist claimants and created a Web site and a toll-free Call Center to answer routine program questions and process requests for forms and informational brochures.

In its first year, DOL received 31,822 claims associated with 25,781 workers, and rendered 6,285 final decisions associated with 5,001 workers. In addition, DOL referred 6,405 cases to NIOSH for dose reconstruction and has issued 9,741 recommended (initial) decisions associated with 7,810 workers.

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