Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation (DEEOIC)
Authorized Representatives-Conflict of Interest Guidance
EEOICPA Bulletin 14-04 was issued July 1, 2014 to clarify the situations where an authorized representative under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA) has a conflict of interest due to a competing financial interest. The Division of Energy Employees Occupation Illness Compensation (DEEOIC) issued this guidance to ensure that a duly authorized representative properly serves the interests of the appointing claimant.
The duty of an authorized representative under the EEOICPA is to the appointing claimant. This focus is diminished when the appointed authorized representative has a private non-representative financial interest other than his or her fee for serving as an authorized representative. If you, as the authorized representative, could benefit financially from your client’s claim due to something other than your statutorily limited fee for representing your client, you will be considered to have a prohibited conflict of interest. This could be, for example, representing the claimant while working: as a paid home healthcare worker with the claimant; being an employee of a durable medical equipment supplier that provides equipment to the claimant; or as an employee of a medical office that is treating the claimant. These types of examples clearly involve the potential for financial benefit to the authorized representative from the claimant’s claim other than from the statutory authorized representative fee. A spouse or family member serving as an authorized representative is not considered to have a conflict of interest merely because of the fact that they are assisting the employee to obtain medical or lump sum compensation.
The DEEOIC recognizes that there may be situations where a conflict arises, as per the examples above, but where the authorized representative keeps his/her focus on the best interests of the claimant. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to objectively measure the extent of a conflict of interest, so as to determine whether the claimant’s interests are being properly served. Accordingly, an authorized representative will be considered to have a prohibited conflict of interest if, in addition to being an authorized representative, he/she is also being paid by DEEOIC, directly or indirectly, as a provider of authorized medical services, durable goods, or home healthcare services. If you are in a position to directly benefit financially from your client’s EEOICPA claim, you are required to notify DEEOIC and withdraw as representative. The full bulletin can be viewed HERE.