U.S. Dept. of Labor Expedites 100 Claims Under New Energy Workers’ Comp Program

January 13, 2005

The U.S. Department of Labor is reportedly moving swiftly to pay claims and benefits under a program established by the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act’s (EEOICPA) new “Part E” passed by Congress last year. The department announced this week that nearly 100 claims will be approved for payment and distributed within the next month.

“These workers were harmed in service to our country and compensation to them and their families is long overdue,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao. “We are working very hard to ensure that this program is up and running as quickly as possible and these workers receive the compensation they are due.”

In October of 2004, the President signed into law an amendment to the EEOICPA that created this new “Part E” program, administered by the Department of Labor, to provide federal compensation and medical benefits to contractors and subcontractors, or their survivors, who worked at certain Department of Energy facilities and sustained an occupational injury as a result of exposure to toxic substances. This new Department of Labor program replaces one formerly administered by the Department of Energy.

While many Part E entitlement provisions will be set forth in final regulations expected to be published in late-spring, the preliminary procedures allow the Department of Labor to quickly process the most straightforward claims and issue payments.

Over the past four years of administering Part B of the EEOICPA, the Department of Labor has issued more than $1 billion in compensation and medical payments to approximately 12,800 claimants. Part B provides a lump sum payment of $150,000 in addition to medical expenses for current and former Energy Department employees who became ill as a result of their exposure to radiation, beryllium or silica. Energy Department contractor employees (and certain survivors) are also potentially eligible.

Covered conditions include radiogenic cancers, beryllium diseases and chronic silicosis. Qualified survivors of deceased covered employees may also be eligible for the lump sum compensation of $150,000.

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