EEOICPA BULLETIN NO. 06-09

 

Issue Date: June 2, 2006         

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Effective Date: June 2, 2006

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Expiration Date: June 2, 2007

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This bulletin replaces Bulletin 04-09, Center to Protect Workers’ Rights (CPWR). It reflects the current contract details.

 

Subject: Center to Protect Workers’ Rights (CPWR).

 

Background: The Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation (DEEOIC) has received numerous claims from employees who worked in jobs related to construction or trade (construction workers, electricians, plumbers, etc.) in the nuclear weapons industry. Given these jobs are usually performed under a subcontract, obtaining reliable documentation to verify employment has proven difficult and time consuming.

 

To assist in the collection of relevant evidence, the DEEOIC has contracted with The Center to Protect Workers’ Rights (CPWR) for assistance in obtaining records pertinent to construction and trade employees at DOE, Atomic Weapons Employer or Beryllium Vendor facilities. The DEEOIC has contracted with the CPWR due to their extensive access to records and their ongoing relationship to various worker advocate organizations. CPWR is a research, development, and training arm of the Building and Construction Trades Department (BCTD), of the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).  This unique relationship with the BCTD allows CPWR direct access to the 15 building and construction trades international unions, signatory contractors, union health and welfare records, and pension funds. As a consequence, they have access to employment records, pension contribution records, union rosters and dispatch records. In addition, CPWR has an extensive institutional knowledge and working experience with several DOE sites.

 

DEEOIC has contracted with CPWR to research and provide employment information for construction/trade worker claims where the Department of Labor (DOL) has been unable to obtain reliable information through available resources (i.e. DOE, corporate verifiers).  Additionally, CPWR is able to provide employment information for claims originating under both Parts B and E of the Act.  However, they serve no function in determining coverage for benefits, nor are they permitted to offer opinion as to the validity of the evidence presented to substantiate a claim. The CE retains the responsibility for evaluating evidence and making any judgment concerning covered employment. CPWR will be asked to provide any information or documentation that substantiates the following items:

 

(1) Evidence that a contractual relationship existed between DOE at the covered facility and the identified employer (contractor) during a specific time period;

 

(2) Evidence that the claimant was an employee of covered employer during the claimed time period;

 

(3) Evidence that the employee worked at the covered facility.

 

Currently CPWR is able to assist DEEOIC with several construction and trade positions, including laborers, at 21 DOE facilities.  Additional DOE facilities will be added on an as needed basis.

 

Reference: EEOICPA Bulletin 03-27, Establishing Covered Subcontractor Employment.

 

Purpose: To provide procedures for obtaining employment documents from CPWR.

 

Applicability: All Staff

 

Actions:

 

1. When the CE reaches the point in case development where he or she is attempting employment verification through the DOE or a corporate verifier, consideration must be given to referring the case to CPWR.

 

2. A referral to CPWR must be performed concurrently with other required developmental actions, such as requests for wage information from the Social Security Administration, or development letters to the claimant. The CE should not delay undertaking other avenues of development on a case while awaiting a response from CPWR.

 

3. A referral to CPWR is contingent on the facility where employment occurred and the type of job claimed. CPWR will coordinates the creation and updating with the National Office the submission of two lists.  One list identifies the facilities where CPWR can provide assistance. The second list identifies the types of jobs for which CPWR is likely to have information, such as construction or building trades. These lists are available to each District Office via the shared drive and are periodically updated. For a CPWR referral to proceed, the claimed employment must identify both a facility and job type appearing on the lists provided.

 

4. To determine that any period of claimed employment satisfies both the facility and job type criteria for CPWR, the CE must complete a Subcontractor Worksheet (Attachment 1).  The Subcontractor Worksheet has two parts, claimed and verified. The claimed section refers to the information provided by either the employee or survivor on forms EE-1, EE-2, and EE-3.   

 

Claimed Employment Dates - identifies the dates of employment listed on the form EE-3 and or occupational history,

Claimed Covered Facility - identifies the facility(ies) at which the employee worked,

Claimed Subcontractor - identifies the subcontractor which employed the employee.

 

The verified section refers to the documentation on record that supports the information reported on the forms EE-1, EE-2, and EE-3.

 

Verified Contract/Employment – identifies the source that confirms the employer’s link to the Department of Energy,

Verified Earnings – identifies documents which supports that the employee was employed by the specified subcontractor,

Verified Premises – identifies documents used to support the employee’s presence at a covered facility during the covered time period.

 

5. Upon completion of the Subcontractor Worksheet (Exhibit 1), if the CE determines that any period of claimed employment satisfies both the facility and job type criteria for CPWR consideration, he or she may confer with the designated District Office Point of Contact(POC)or the designated backup. The POC is selected by each District Office to serve as the principal liaison between DEEOIC and CPWR. There will be one POC per District Office. The designated POC is responsible for all communication between the District Office and CPWR. Moreover, the POC is responsible for certifying outgoing referrals and reviewing incoming responses.

 

6. If the POC agrees that the claim requires a CPWR referral, the appropriate forms are to be prepared. There are three principle forms used to make a CPWR referral: a Subcontractor Worksheet, a CP-1 Referral Sheet and a CP-2 Employment Response Report (Attachments 1, 2 & 3). The Subcontractor Worksheet, previously described, apprises CPWR of the established documentation on record relevant to establishing covered employment. The CP-1 provides general information concerning the employee’s case file. The CP-2 is a form CPWR uses to respond to employment data requests made by the DEEOIC.

 

7. The CP-1 is to be completed by either the CE or the POC. Section 1 requires information concerning the case to be listed, such as employee name, claim type, file number and Social Security Number. In Section 2, the referring District Office is to be identified along with the number of attached CP-2 Employment Response Reports. Any special requests or other relevant information for CPWR is to be listed in the comment section.

 

8. For each claimed employer at a facility where CPWR can provide assistance, a separate CP-2 Employment Response Report is to be prepared by the CE or POC. The CE or POC may prepare as many copies of the form as necessary. The CP-2 contains two sections. Section 1 is completed by the CE or POC and describes the employment to be researched by CPWR. It is important that the information specify both the periods of employment requiring verification and the type of evidence being requested such as evidence of contractual relationship, proof of employment with the claimed employer, or evidence of employment on the premise of the claimed facility. Section 2 of the CP-2 is reserved for CPWR to report any findings pertaining to the claimed employment.

 

9. Upon completion of the DOL’s portions of the CP-1 and CP-2, the POC is to conduct a complete review of all the material. He or she ensures that the information contained on the Subcontractor Worksheet and on the referral forms is reported accurately and satisfies all the requirements for submission to CPWR. Once the review is complete and the POC is satisfied that the Subcontractor Worksheet, the CP-1 and all CP-2 forms are completed correctly, he or she signs and dates the CP-1. The CP-1 Referral Sheet is certified on the day the referral is mailed out of the District Office.

 

10. Once the referral forms are completed and certified by the POC, copies of the Subcontractor Worksheet, the referral sheets and the factual documents (medical documents are excluded) in the case file are made. The POC or CE attaches the original CP-1 and CP-2 sheets to a copy of the Subcontractor Worksheet and factual documents in the case file. This constitutes a complete CPWR referral package. The entire package will be express mailed to CPWR. Copies of the Subcontractor Worksheet, CP-1 and CP-2 forms are to be inserted into the official case file.

 

11. On the same day that the referral package is mailed to CPWR, notification of CPWR involvement in the case must be prepared for each known claimant and/or authorized representative. The CE or POC must prepare a letter for each claimant that describes CPWR’s involvement in the case (Attachment 4). This letter must then be sent to the claimant(s) and/or authorized representative.

 

12. CPWR will be able to accept a minimum of 3500 through a maximum of 6000 of CP-2s annually. Once the POC or the backup person determines the number of cases to be sent to CPWR during a given week, he or she is to batch all the referrals and express mail them weekly to:

 

Anna Chen (achen@zenithadmin.com)

Zenith Administrators

201 Queen Anne Avenue, North

Suite 100

Seattle, WA 98109

1-800-866-9663

 

On the same day the referrals are expressed to Zenith, the POC or the backup person will email the total number of referrals requested from CPWR to the designated contact at the National Office. The email will include the last name of the employee, the last four digits of the employee’s case file number, and the number of referrals requested per employee.

 

13. The POC or the backup person is the ultimate arbiter of all issues involving the CPWR referral process. He or she is not to certify for submission any referral package that does not meet the requirements for referral. Any incomplete or inaccurate referral package must be returned to the CE. The POC is to notify the CE of any deficiency and the steps necessary to correct the problem. CPWR is permitted to contact claimants directly. However, any request for claimant contact must be

submitted to the POC, who will then provide the necessary contact information.

 

14. The POC is responsible for tracking all CPWR referrals and responses. For each referral, the District Office must track the following information:

 

a. case number

     b. facility name(s),

     c. employer name(s),

d. number and date of referral(s) to CPWR,

e. number and date response(s) received from CPWR,

f. CE initiating request,

g. target due date (40 days from the date of referral).

h. number of overdue referral(s)(41 or more days from the date of referral.)

 

By the tenth day of each month, the DO POC will send the National Office an email summarizing the total number of CPWR referrals and responses for the preceding month, the number of outstanding requests (>40 days), the number of referrals determined to be eligible, the number of referrals determined to be ineligible, and the total number of referrals to date.  The number of referrals determined to be eligible is defined as the number of referrals that CPWR determined as valid requests.  The number of referrals determined to be ineligible is defined as the number of referrals that CPWR determined as invalid requests, e.g. the name was incorrect, the social security number was incorrect, the subcontractor was not a part of their database, etc.  Contractually, CPWR can process a limited number of claims during the contracted time period. Therefore, the report will assist the National Office in tracking the number of requests by each District office on a monthly basis.

 

15. The CE or POC is to enter the claim status code “US” (Union sent) in the claim status history screen in both Parts B and E of ECMS with the status effective date equal to the date of referral mailing.  The “UScode signifies that all actions are complete pertaining to a CPWR mailing, including release of a completed referral package and mailing of a cover letter to the claimant(s).  Upon entry of the US code, the CE or POC must select the number of CP-2s that are sent to CPWR from the corresponding drop-down box.  The drop-down menu will only allow the CE or POC to select a number between one and twenty. 

 

In the event that more than twenty CP-2s are sent to CPWR, the CE or POC will enter an additional US code and select the remaining number of CP-2s (greater than twenty) that are being mailed.  For example, if twenty-five CP-2s are being sent to CPWR, the CE or POC will have to enter one US code and select “20” from the drop-down menu.  Then the CE or POC will have to enter a second US code and select “5” from the drop down menu. 

 

16. The CE or POC will also enter a 40 day call-up in ECMS effective the date of referral. If a CE or POC receives a call up notice indicating 40 days has elapsed and a response from CPWR has not been received, he/she will send notification via email to the POC. Upon receipt of the notification, the POC is to verify the delinquency and list it in their tracking program. The POC is then responsible for contacting CPWR by telephone or email to advise of the overdue request. The POC is to input a claim status code of “DE” (Developing Employment) in the claim status history screen on both Parts B and E of ECMS effective the date contact is made with CPWR concerning an overdue response. The CE or POC selects “US-Follow-up to CPWR” from the reason code list box. All phone calls or email are to be appropriately recorded in the case file. The POC has three working days to report all overdue referrals to CPWR.  Moreover, he or she must update the status of the referral in the CPWR tracking program.

 

17. In instances where CPWR requests that additional CP-2s are needed subsequent to their preliminary research and request such from the POC, the CE and POC must confer on the requests to determine if additional CP-2s are needed.  If they agree with CPWR’s assessment, the POC will forward via email or fax the appropriate number of additional CP-2s to the aforementioned address.  If they do not agree with CPWR’s assessment, the POC will provide with an explanation of disagreement.

 

In instances where new factual evidence is received by the district office (DO) while the CPWR referral is pending, the CE will review it for relevance to the CPWR referral. If the new factual evidence is received within the first week (five to seven calendar days) of the referral and the CE and POC agree that it is sufficient to establish covered employment, the CE must prepare an “EC Memo” (Attachment 5).  The POC will then advise, via email or fax, CPWR to cancel the referral. 

 

If there is new factual evidence and the CE and POC agree that it is not sufficient to establish covered employment, the POC will provide, via email or fax, CPWR with a supplemental package that contains another CP-1 identifying whether the attached CP-2s are new or supplemental.   

 

The POC will then update both Parts B and E of ECMS and the local spreadsheet with the appropriate changes whenever there is a change to the original referral package. For example, if the DO referred a claim in January with one (1) form CP-2 for CPWR to research, then receives more employment evidence in February which changes the number of CP-2’s to request, the POC enters another case status code US (drop down with the number of additional CP-2 forms) into ECSM, and added to the local NO tracking spreadsheet as another case referred.

 

18. CPWR has 30 calendar days from receipt of a referral package to conduct appropriate research into the claimed employment, complete each CP-2 based on the evidence gathered, and express mail the response to the appropriate POC. Responses are to be bundled according to case file number.

 

19. District Office mailroom staff date stamps incoming responses according to established procedures and forwards it to the designated POC. The POC enters the receipt date in the tracking database and immediately forwards the CPWR response to the appropriate CE.

 

20. Upon receipt of a CPWR response, the CE or POC enters the claim status code “UR” (Received from Union) in the claim status history screen on both Parts B and E of ECMS with the status effective date equal to the date the referral was date stamped received by the DO.  Upon entering the UR code, the CE must select a “VN-verified none”, “VS-verified some”, or “VA-verified all” from the corresponding drop-down box.

Verified None (VN): when “NONE” of the data requested from CPWR was used to verify the claimed covered employment.

 

Verified Some (VS): when “SOME” portion of the data requested from CPWR was used to verify the claimed covered employment.

 

Verified All (VA): when “ALL” of the data requested from CPWR was used to verify the claimed covered employment.

21. When reviewing the CPWR response, the CE or POC is to ensure it is complete. The CE or POC checks to ensure that the number of CP-2 forms per bundle corresponds with the number of referrals identified on the CP-1 form. Each CP-2 form is to be marked according to the information found, submitted with any supporting documentation and signed by a representative of the CPWR. In particular, CPWR is required to complete the Search Results section on the CP-2 for each employer noting: the evidence located; whether it resulted in sufficient evidence to support the developmental components identified by the CE requiring assistance; comments to include where the information came from and how to interpret; a summary of all the evidence; contact information for potential affiants; and contact information for the CPWR employee who conducted the search.

 

22. When reviewing the evidence, generally, there are five categories of records that can be submitted to the CE for consideration. The categories are listed in the CPWR Research Results section of the CP-2 Employment Response Report and will be marked if corresponding evidence is submitted. These categories include: Union Dispatch/Log, Pension Fund, Health & Welfare, Facility/Site, DOE Former Worker Program, and other. To assist the CE in distinguishing between the categories of records, the evidence will be labeled as follows: A – Union Dispatch Log; B – Pension Fund; C - Health Welfare Fund Records; D – Former Worker Program Records; E - Site Records.

(A) Union dispatch/log – records that show the placement of a worker to a specific jobsite and/or contractor. These records are filed at the local union hall or with the union steward on the jobsite. A dispatch record may provide the following information: worker’s name, social security number, job title, project being assigned to, the date of assignment, the company/employer, hire/termination date, and pay scale.

 

(B) Pension fund – records maintained by a pension fund established pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement between a building and construction trades union and one or more employers to act as a trust for the purpose of providing pension benefits to employees covered by the collective bargaining agreement.

 

(C) Health and welfare – records maintained by a health and welfare fund established pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement between a building and construction trades union and one or more employers, to act as a trust for the purpose of providing pension group health, life, disability and similar benefits to employees covered by the collective bargaining agreement.

 

(D) Former Worker Program (FWP) - These programs evaluated the long-term health conditions of former workers who may be risk of occupational diseases due to their former employment at certain DOE sites. Additional discussion on the FWP is located in Bulletin 05-05.

 

(E) Facility/Site - records that CPWR has obtained previously or concurrently from the DOE facility such as a certified payroll, a personnel record, or a collective bargaining agreement.

23. The CE is responsible for carefully assessing the relevance of any evidence or information submitted by CPWR. Judgments regarding covered employment rely on a careful examination of not only the evidence submitted by CPWR, but other sources as well. The CE should be mindful to ensure that the evidence submitted by CPWR reasonably substantiates allegations of employment brought forth by an employee or survivors. The evidence must reasonably satisfy all the components necessary to establish covered employment. In instances where additional action is needed subsequent to CPWR response, the CE must further develop the case.  For example, the evidence provided by CPWR confirmed that the employee was employed by a covered employer yet failed to place the employee on the premise during a covered time period.  Additionally, CPWR provided the names and addresses of individuals that may have known the employee yet this information was not previously contained in the factual evidence.  The CE must request an affidavit form EE-4 from individuals identified by CPWR.  In any instance where the CE questions or does not understand the nature of the information supplied by CPWR, he or she must request the POC to contact CPWR for clarification.

 

24. The DEEOIC is the ultimate arbiter of any disputes arising between the program and CPWR. If the POC encounters an instance where a question of interpretation has arisen that can not be resolved through normal discourse with CPWR, the issue should be referred to the Branch of Policies, Regulations and Procedures. A memo is to be prepared outlining the issue to be resolved. Copies of the completed referral form(s) and any other relevant employment documentation are to be attached. All referrals prepared for the National Office are to be certified by the appropriate POC and District Director.

 

 

 

Disposition: Retain until incorporated in the Federal (EEOICPA) Procedure Manual.

 

 

 

 

PETER M. TURCIC

Director, Division of Energy Employees

Occupational Illness Compensation

 

Attachment 1

Attachment 2

Attachment 3

Attachment 4

Attachment 5

 

Distribution List No. 1: Claims Examiners, Supervisory Claims Examiners, Technical Assistants, Customer Service Representatives, Fiscal Officers, FAB District Managers, Operation Chiefs, Hearing Representatives, District Office Mail & File Sections