Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) — Office of the Ombudsman for EEOICPA
- What is the Office of the Ombudsman for the EEOICPA?
- Who is the Ombudsman?
- What does the Office of the Ombudsman do?
- Who may contact the Office of the Ombudsman?
- What if I want to speak to a person?
- Can I request informational meetings in my area?
- Where can I find a copy of the Annual Reports to Congress?
- Will the Office of the Ombudsman share my conversation or information about my claim with anyone from the EEOICPA program, including my claims examiner?
- What practical information can the Ombudsman share with me?
The Office of the Ombudsman for the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program is an independent office within the Department of Labor. The Office was created by Congress in 2004 to provide information and to address the concerns of citizens relating to the benefits available under the EEOICPA.
The Ombudsman for the EEOICPA is Malcolm Nelson. Mr. Nelson, a career government attorney, most recently served as general counsel for the Benefits Review Board, an appellate adjudicatory board exercising nationwide jurisdiction over appeals from the decisions of the Office of Administrative Law Judges under the Black Lung Benefits Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act administered by the Department of Labor. Nelson has also served as an acting administrative appeals judge for the Benefits Review Board.
A primary mission of the Office of the Ombudsman is to provide information and assistance to anyone with a question about EEOICPA, including individuals who have filed claims for benefits and are seeking assistance with the claims process. The Office of the Ombudsman provides such information by conducting outreach events at locations throughout the country each year, and by being available to speak directly with members of the public by telephone, email, and written correspondence.
Likewise, a primary mission of the Office is to submit a report to Congress each year that sets forth the number of complaints, grievances, and requests for assistance received by the Office during the preceding year. Included in the report is the Office’s assessment of the most common difficulties encountered by claimants and potential claimants during the preceding year.
The Office also makes recommendations to the Secretary of Labor regarding the location of resource centers for the acceptance and development of claims under EEOICPA.
Any member of the public may contact the Office of the Ombudsman. The Office is routinely contacted by claimants, potential claimants, attorneys, authorized representatives, health care providers, and/or members of Congressional staff.
The Office of the Ombudsman is located in Washington, D.C. You may contact the Office of the Ombudsman by calling toll-free (877) 662-8363 or (202) 693-5890.
The Ombudsman and the staff of the Office of the Ombudsman are also available by email at Ombudsman@dol.gov. Should you wish to share documents with the Office of the Ombudsman, you can send them as an email attachment or fax to (202) 693-5899.
Yes, the Office of the Ombudsman is interested in receiving information about any meetings in your area where individuals wish to learn more about the EEOIPCA program and benefits.
You may find a copy of each Annual Report to Congress since 2005 on the homepage for the Office of the Ombudsman at http://www.dol.gov/eeombd/reports.htm.
Will the Office of the Ombudsman share my conversation or information about my claim with anyone from the EEOICPA program, including my claims examiner?
No, the Office does not share our conversations or information you share with the Office with the EEOICPA program or your claims examiner. In certain circumstances our Office is asked by a claimant or authorized representative to contact the EEOICPA program directly and provide specific information about the claim in order to provide assistance. Only in those circumstances where the claimant or authorized representative specifically asked would the Office contact the EEOICPA program and provide claim-specific information. Otherwise, all communications with the Office are confidential and shared with no outside office or individual.
- Can I file more than one claim? Yes. In fact, if a new illness is diagnosed, a new claim must be filed for each illness. You can file for a new illness even if the original claim was already denied. Also, if a medical condition or illness occurs as a result of an accepted illness, a new claim must be filed for the "consequential condition."
- Can I review a copy of my file? Yes. At any time during the claims process, you may request a copy of your file or any records in your file. The request must be in writing, and you can designate whether you wish to receive a paper copy or have it provided on a CD. One copy is provided for free, and additional copies can be provided if a copying fee is paid. Send the request to the claims examiner or hearing representative who is handling the claim.
- Can I request an extension of time to provide information or evidence in support of my claim? Yes, but the request must be made in writing. Send the request to the claims examiner or hearing representative who is handling the claim.
- How can I send information or documents to the Ombudsman? You can send information or documents to our mailing address, by fax or by email.
Office of the Ombudsman
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20210
Fax: (202) 693-5899
Your email does not have to be addressed to anyone in particular, but if you have spoken to an individual in the Office, you can address the email to them in the body of the email.