Cold War Patriots (CWP), an organization dedicated to the education and assistance of nuclear workers and uranium miners, hosted a community conference in Moab back on June 1st with the goal of spreading more awareness about EEOICPA benefits.
Across America, hundreds of thousands of workers have helped shape this country’s nuclear programs since the early 1900s. Many of these workers have developed radiation-induced diseases such as cancer, beryllium disease, and more. Unfortunately, many of these workers and their families have never been compensated.
EEOICPA Law: How Nuclear Workers Can Obtain Compensation
It was only until the year 2000 that the federal government recognized the extent of the issue and developed The Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA), a law designed to help compensate past nuclear employees and their dependents.
The act is divided into Part B and Part E, with settlement amounts as high as $400,000 plus medical bill reimbursement. Despite the enactment of EEOICPA, many disabled workers have yet to be compensated. Why is this?
There are two likely reasons:
1) Rejected claims.
Many workers that do qualify for benefits are denied their claims. In fact, public statistics show that more than 50% of workers are denied their EEOICPA benefits. The reason for such a high denial rate is that it can be difficult to prove your illness correlates with your time spent working at one of the qualifying nuclear facilities. In some situations, workers developed radiation disease from facilities they worked at more than 40 years ago. While they may very well qualify for an EEOICPA settlement, failure to provide adequate documentation often results in the claim being denied.
To combat such a high rejection rate, workers are encouraged to seek the guidance of an EEOICPA lawyer whom can help them build a strong case with a higher chance of approval. Because most attorneys who do EEOICPA claims work on a contingency basis, injured workers won’t need to pay an upfront fee. Furthermore, EEOICPA law limits the amount an attorney can charge to a maximum of 2% of the settlement for new claims, and 10% of appeals. That means a lawyer will front the cost of helping you file a claim and you’ll only need to pay them a portion of your settlement if they are successful at winning your case.
2) Lack of awareness.
Unsurprisingly, the federal government has not done much to promote awareness of these potential benefits. Many workers or their surviving dependents are simply not aware that they may be entitled to compensation. Advocacy groups such as Cold War Patriots have helped educate nuclear workers and their families about these benefits, but still many potential claimants are left in the dark.
Our hope is that more workers become aware of the program and their potential eligibility for compensation. However, until the federal government improves their outreach, workers and their families will need to rely on organizations like CWP who spread awareness about this very important issue.
Workers or their surviving family members who believe they may be eligible for benefits are encouraged to contact our law firm Clements, Taylor, Butkovich, & Cohen, LPA, Co. for a free consultation and guidance on their EEOICPA eligibility.