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OWCP News Release: [09/07/2010]
Contact Name: Jesse Lawder         Michael Volpe

Phone Number: (202) 693-4659     (202) 693-3984
Release Number: 10-1248-NEW

US Labor Department notifies former Bethlehem Steel employees in New York of inclusion in new EEOICPA Special Exposure Cohort designation

WASHINGTON —The U.S. Department of Labor is notifying all former Bethlehem Steel employees who worked at the Lackawanna, N.Y., site between 1949 and 1952 about a new class of employees added to the Special Exposure Cohort of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act. The EEOICPA provides compensation and medical benefits to workers who became ill as a result of working in the nuclear weapons industry. Survivors of qualified workers may also be entitled to benefits.

“We are proud to have been able to approve benefits for eligible Bethlehem Steel workers and their survivors thus far under the EEOICPA,” said Rachel P. Leiton, director of the department’s Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation, which administers the EEOICPA.   “However, we believe there are many more Bethlehem Steel workers who will qualify for benefits because of the new SEC, and we are eager to grant them their EEOICPA compensation and medical benefits.”

A worker who is included in a designated SEC class of employees, and who is diagnosed with one of 22 specified cancers, may receive a presumption of causation under the EEOICPA.  On July 14, 2010, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services designated the following class of employees as an addition to the SEC: all atomic weapons employer employees who worked at the Bethlehem Steel Corp. facility in Lackawanna, N.Y., from Jan. 1, 1949, to Dec. 31, 1952, for at least 250 workdays occurring either solely under this employment or in combination with workdays within other classes of employees in the SEC. This designation became effective on Aug. 13, 2010. The Labor Department’s role is to adjudicate these claims based on the new SEC class definitions as determined and introduced by HHS. 

To date, more than $62 million in compensation and medical benefits has been paid to eligible Bethlehem Steel claimants under the EEOICPA, while more than $6 billion in compensation and medical benefits has been paid nationwide.  For additional information about the new SEC at the Bethlehem Steel site in Lackawanna or to schedule an appointment for claim-filing assistance, contact the Labor Department’s New York Resource Center toll-free at 800-941-3943.