DEEOIC Hosted Traveling Resource Center for Workers of the Y-12 Plant
On January 18, 2012, the Department of Laborís Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation (DEEOIC) hosted a Traveling Resource Center (TRC) at the Doubletree Inn in Oak Ridge, TN, to provide former Y-12 Plant workers with information regarding a new class of employees recently added to the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Actís (EEOICPA) Special Exposure Cohort (SEC). As a result of this TRC, 30 new claims were filed under the EEOICPA on the day of the event and 133 individuals were assisted by DEEOIC staff including existing EEOICPA claimants who had questions regarding their pending claims. Since the day of the event, the DEEOICís Oak Ridge Resource Center has also spoken with several attendees and their follow-up has led to an additional 22 claims being filed under the EEOICPA, bringing the grand total of new claims filed to 52.
Mary Harris, Program Support Specialist with DEEOICís Branch of Outreach and Technical Assistance, organized the event and Teri Davy and Johnnie Golden, Technical Assistants with DEEOICís Jacksonville district office, met with claimants in-person to provide status updates on existing EEOICPA claims. The Oak Ridge Resource Center staff was also on hand to assist those individuals wanting to file new claims under the EEOICPA. Other attendees at the TRC included James McQuade from the Department of Laborís Office of the Ombudsman for the EEOICPA and Ed Mee from the Department of Energyís Former Worker Medical Screening Program. Both Mr. McQuade and Mr. Mee provided attendees with information regarding the services their offices provide to EEOICPA claimants.
The meeting got off to an early start, and Teri and Johnnie were able to assist early arrivals. The meeting room provided a setting where attendees felt comfortable enough to talk and mingle with former employees as they waited to meet with the district office and resource center representatives. Ed Meeís area was a popular meeting place for former employees to gather and socialize as they waited to meet with a representative.
The EEOICPA provides compensation and medical benefits to employees who became ill as a result of working in the nuclear weapons industry. Survivors of qualified individuals also may be eligible for benefits. A worker who is included in a designated SEC class of employees, and who is diagnosed with one of 21 specified cancers, may receive a presumption of causation under the EEOICPA. On Oct. 18, 2011, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) designated the following class of employees as an addition to the SEC: all employees of DOE, its predecessor agencies, and their contractors and subcontractors who worked at the Y-12 facility in Oak Ridge, Tenn., during the period from Jan. 1, 1948 through Dec. 31, 1957, for a number of work days aggregating at least 250 work days, occurring either solely under this employment, or in combination with work days within the parameters established for one or more other classes of employees in the SEC. This designation became effective on Nov. 17, 2011. DEEOICís role is to adjudicate these claims based on the new SEC class definition as determined and introduced by HHS. As of January 31, 2012, the new SEC has resulted in the issuance of seventy-one additional final decisions to accept.
It is DEEOICís goal to disseminate information concerning EEOICPA benefits to potentially eligible claimants across the country. To aid in this effort, DEEOIC maintains 11 resource centers nationwide to provide in-person and telephone-based assistance to service individuals regardless of where they live. For additional information about the new Y-12 SEC 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.