Determining Your Eligibility for EEOICPA Compensation

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For workers suffering radiation poisoning or sickness from certain chemical substances, the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA) allows them to receive benefits. Passed by Congress in 2000, the EEOICPA established a federal program that pays employees who suffer work-related injuries resulting from exposure to radiation and other toxic materials. Coverage under the Act extends to contractors, subcontractors, vendors, and dependents of individuals working at specific Department of Energy (DOE) and Atomic Weapons Employer (AWE) facilities.

Criteria for EEOICPA Benefits

Based on EEOICPA requirements for receiving benefits, a toxic substance is any material that has the potential to cause illness or death because of its radioactive, chemical, or biological properties. Common poisonous substances covered under the EEOICPA include

  • Acetone
  • Asbestos
  • Benzene
  • Beryllium
  • Chromium
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Nickel
  • Silica
  • Thorium
  • Uranium

You may also get EEOICPA-based compensation if you are diagnosed with work-related beryllium disease, silicosis, or radiation-induced cancer. Depending on which substance or illness category applies to your situation, you may be eligible for lump-sum reimbursements of up to $250,000 in addition to medical expenses.

Changes to the EEOICPA Compensation Rules

The Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2004 amended the EEOICPA and expanded the Pentagon’s budget starting in 2005. Specific expenditures related to national defense were included in the NDAA, and some of them affected the EEOICPA.

A significant rule change expanded the definition of a “covered employee.” Workers at AWE facilities during times of residual contamination are now covered under the act. This change applies whether these facilities produced weapons during their time of employment. Affected employers could now be covered due to ongoing radiation exposure, even if they worked after weapons production stopped.

Another change by the NDAA lowered the amount of time Congress had to approve or deny adding an employee class to Special Exposure Cohort (SEC) petitions, which are part of the EEOICPA. The amount of time for review decreased from 180 to 30 days.

Process for Filing an EEOICPA Claim

There are large amounts of data and criteria regarding the many industrial materials used on job sites, and it can all seem overwhelming when it comes time to file. Knowing your rights and what constitutes causation regarding hazardous or toxic materials can make applying for EEOICPA benefits easier.

To qualify for EEOICPA benefits, you must meet specific criteria, including what toxic substance caused your illness or what medical condition you developed as a result. Workers eligible under the Act can find EEOICPA forms by visiting the Department of Labor online and printing them out. You must complete the forms and mail them to the Department of Labor’s district with jurisdiction over where you were injured on the job.

An EEOICPA Lawyer in Cincinnati Can Help

Because of the complicated process and strict criteria for receiving benefits, it would be wise to seek legal advice or representation before filing your claim. A lawyer can help you navigate the claim process and help you understand your worker’s compensation and Social Security Disability options and benefits. When searching for a worker’s comp attorney, find one with EEOICPA experience. They can answer all the important and complex questions, giving you peace of mind while on the road to recovery.

The workers’ compensation lawyers at Clements, Taylor, Butkovich & Cohen, L.P.A., Co., have experience handling EEOICPA cases. They are familiar with the law and will know what nuances and technicalities to anticipate when handling your claim and protecting your rights.