ESA News Release: [05/26/2009]
Contact Name: Dolline Hatchett
Phone Number: (202) 693-4651
Release Number: 09-0554-NAT
U.S. Labor Department reaches $1 billion paid to Tennessee residents under Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act
WASHINGTON The U.S. Department of Labor today announced that it has paid more than $1 billion in compensation and medical benefits to 9,134 Tennessee residents under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA). The act was created to assist those individuals who became ill as a result of working in the atomic weapons industry. Survivors of such individuals may also be eligible for benefits. Since the implementation of the act, the Labor Department has paid 51,331 claimants more than $4.8 billion in compensation and medical benefits nationwide.
"Many covered facilities, including the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant (K-25) and the Y-12 Plant, are located in the state of Tennessee. Individuals who worked at these and other covered facilities located throughout the state sacrificed their health to build this nation's nuclear defense programs. Therefore, I am proud to be able to announce that the department has paid more than $1 billion in benefits to deserving Tennessee residents," said Rachel P. Leiton, director of the department's Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation, which administers the EEOICPA. "But we also believe that there may be others eligible in Tennessee who have not yet filed for these benefits." These individuals are encouraged to contact the Labor Department toll-free at 866-481-0411."
The EEOICPA is divided into two parts, B and E, each having unique criteria for awarding benefits. Part B of the act was implemented in July 2001, and 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, that department's contractors or subcontractors, a designated Atomic Weapons Employer or a beryllium vendor. Individuals or their survivors found eligible under Part B may receive a lump sum compensation payment of $150,000 and medical expenses for their covered condition.
Part E of the act was created as an amendment to the EEOICPA in October 2004, transferring the old Part D from DOE to the Labor Department. Part E provides coverage to Department of Energy contractor or subcontractor employees who developed any illness, including cancer, beryllium disease and silicosis, as a result of occupational exposure to a toxic substance at a covered Department of Energy facility. Workers found eligible under Part E of the EEOICPA receive payment of their medical expenses for their covered illness and may also be eligible for impairment and/or wage loss compensation. Survivors found eligible under Part E receive a lump sum compensation payment of $125,000 and may also be eligible to receive additional compensation if the worker experienced wage loss due to the accepted condition.
The Department of Labor's record of administering the EEOICPA demonstrates that our nation's promises made to Cold War veterans are being kept. The Labor Department continues to strengthen its processes and procedures, maintain its outreach efforts, improve services to claimants, and adjudicate and pay eligible claims as promptly and accurately as possible.
The Labor Department maintains 11 resource centers nationwide that provide in-person and telephone-based assistance to service individuals regardless of where they live. Tennessee residents needing additional information or who want to file a claim under the EEOICPA may call the Oak Ridge Resource Center toll-free at 866-481-0411.