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Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation (DEEOIC)

Outreach Effort Assists Section 5 Uranium Workers Community

During fiscal year (FY) 2008, the Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation (DEEOIC) sponsored 18 town hall meetings in an effort to reach out to the Section 5 uranium worker community. The goal of these meetings was to explain how the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA or Act) program works and to encourage those potentially eligible to file claims under Parts B and E of the EEOICPA. As a result of this outreach effort, over 900 individuals attended the 18 town hall meetings and more than 200 new claims were filed under the Act. Town hall meetings were conducted in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Wyoming, Colorado, Oklahoma, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and West Virginia.

The success of this outreach effort was due in part to interagency coordination with the Department of Justice (DOJ), which administers the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA), and the Department of Health and Human Services, which administers the Radiation Exposure Screening and Education Program. Both agencies attended town hall meetings in Grand Junction, Colorado, and Flagstaff, Tuba City, and Kayenta, Arizona. Further, DEEOIC Resource Center and District Office personnel attended each of the 18 town hall meetings in order to provide attendees with one-on-one assistance, as well as to facilitate claim intake and provide claim status updates.

Many former uranium miners, uranium millers, and ore transporters live in remote or rural areas such as the Navajo and other reservations in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado. Therefore, DEEOIC resolved in these western states to conduct additional outreach activities. Further, DEEOIC provided Navajo translators for all uranium worker outreach activities conducted in the Navajo Nation and in areas with high concentrations of Navajo speakers in an effort to be accessible to the Navajo claimant community. In response to the large attendance at the town hall meetings held in the Navajo Nation, DEEOIC is conducting monthly traveling resource centers in Shiprock, New Mexico, and Kayenta, Arizona, to provide in-person assistance to Navajo and other claimants. DEEOIC is currently assessing the need for additional town hall meetings and traveling resource centers across the country.

Under Part B of the Act, a uranium miner, uranium miller, or ore transporter, must have received a $100,000 award under Section 5 of RECA, administered by DOJ, to be eligible for an additional lump sum compensation award of $50,000 and medical benefits for the same illness. Those individuals who receive such a supplemental payment under Part B may also be eligible for benefits under Part E of the Act.

Further, some uranium workers who did not receive a $100,000 award under Section 5 of RECA may be eligible for benefits under Part E of the Act. Part E considers the effect that exposure to a toxic substance at a covered Section 5 facility had in causing, contributing to, or aggravating the illness and/or death of a covered employee. Uranium workers who developed an illness as a result of exposure to a toxic substance while working at a covered Section 5 uranium mine, uranium mill, or ore buying station anytime during the period January 1, 1942 through December 31, 1971, are encouraged to apply for benefits under Part E.

The DEEOIC Denver District Office will assist former uranium workers and their survivors in developing employment, exposure, and medical evidence in support of their Part E claims. Among its array of tools, the district office utilizes a database known as the Site Exposure Matrices (SEM) that provides toxic exposure data for biological and chemical substances at Section 5 facilities and information regarding the types of illnesses associated with exposure to particular substances. The public SEM database is available for viewing and comment to interested parties online at www.sem.dol.gov. The DEEOIC also employs a national network of qualified District Medical Consultants to assist in the evaluation of medical records.

For additional information about the uranium worker outreach effort conducted during FY 2008 or for claim-filing assistance, please contact your nearest Resource Center or call 866-888-3322 toll-free. A listing of all Resource Centers can be found at: http://www.dol.gov/owcp/energy/regs/compliance/ResourceMeetings/ResourceCenters.htm.