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ESA-OWCP New Release: [03/23/2009]
Contact Name: Dolline Hatchett

Phone Number: (202) 693-4650
Release Number: 09-0276-NAT

U.S. Department of Labor pays $100 million in benefits to Illinois residents under Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor today announced that it has paid more than $100 million in compensation and medical benefits to more than 1,080 Illinois 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 department has paid 49,596 claimants nationwide more than $4.6 billion in compensation and medial benefits.

“It is our goal to get compensation in the hands of eligible claimants as quickly as possible. This milestone further demonstrates that we are working hard to achieve our goal,” said Rachel P. Leiton, director of the Labor Department’s Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation, which administers the EEOICPA. “We have compensated many deserving individuals from the state of Illinois.”

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 conditions.

Part E of the act was created as an amendment to the EEOICPA in October 2004, transferring the old Part D from the Department of Energy to the Department of Labor. Part E provides coverage to Energy Department 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 Energy Department facility. Workers found eligible under Part E of the EEOICPA receive payment of their medical expenses for their covered illnesses 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.

Illinois is home to several facilities covered under the EEOICPA, including Argonne National Laboratory – East, Dow Chemical Co. (Madison Site) and General Steel Industries. The Labor Department maintains 11 resource centers nationwide that provide in-person and telephone-based assistance to service individuals regardless of where they live. Illinois residents are serviced by the Paducah Resource Center located at Barkley Center-Unit 125, 125 Memorial Drive, Paducah, KY 42001. The toll-free number to inquire about potential eligibility is 866-534-0599.