Presumptions in the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA) are legal provisions that simplify the process of proving causation between work-related exposure and certain illnesses. Presumptions are based on scientific research and epidemiological studies, which provide evidence of the increased risk of developing specific illnesses due to exposure to hazardous substances. These presumptions allow eligible employees or their survivors to receive compensation without the burden of demonstrating a direct link between their illness and their work environment.
EEOICPA provides compensation and benefits to individuals who have developed occupational illnesses due to toxic substance exposure while working as Department of Energy (DOE) contractors or subcontractors. Part E of the EEOICPA covers both cancerous and non-cancerous conditions, and it is essential to understand the criteria for eligibility and the process of establishing a causal relationship between toxic substance exposure and diagnosed conditions.
Part E of the EEOICPA aims to cover non-cancerous conditions resulting from occupational toxic substance exposure. The criteria for eligibility under Part E involve demonstrating a causal relationship between exposure at a covered facility and the diagnosed condition. This chapter outlines the steps taken by Claims Examiners (CE) to establish this relationship.
Part B allows for a presumption that an occupational illness approved under Part B is related to toxic substance exposure under Part E. This presumption applies if the employee is a DOE contractor or subcontractor working at a covered DOE or RECA Section 5 facility. When issuing a Part E Recommended Decision (RD) based on a Part B acceptance, the CE incorporates the factual findings from the original Part B Final Decision (FD). This includes verified covered employment, diagnosed medical condition(s), and survivor relationship, if applicable. Survivors approved under Part B must establish distinct survivorship criteria under Part E and provide evidence linking the toxic substance exposure to the employee’s death to receive benefits under Part E.
To determine the coverage under Part B, Part E, or both, the CE begins by assessing whether the claim is filed for employee benefits (Form EE-1) or survivor benefits (Form EE-2). The CE then reviews the claimed condition(s) provided on the form to ascertain potential coverage. Part B covers conditions such as beryllium sensitivity, chronic beryllium disease (CBD), chronic silicosis, and cancer. Part E extends coverage to any illness claimed as related to occupational toxic substance exposure, including those covered under Part B. This includes diagnosed cancers, and respiratory illnesses. Consequential conditions arising from an accepted Part B or Part E condition are also compensable. The CE carefully evaluates the claimed employment to associate the claimed condition with the appropriate occupational exposure under Part E.
The Presumptions in the EEOICPA Program play a vital role in simplifying the compensation process for work-related illnesses. By recognizing the associations between exposure to hazardous substances and certain illnesses, these presumptions alleviate the burden of proving causation, ensuring that eligible individuals receive the compensation they deserve. However, navigating the complexities of the program can be challenging, which is why seeking professional assistance is crucial.
Stephens & Stephens, LLP is here to help. Our dedicated team of legal professionals has extensive experience in handling EEOICPA claims, and we are committed to fighting for the rights of individuals affected by work-related illnesses. Contact us today through our contact form or by calling (800) 548-4494 or (716) 208-3525, and let us guide you through the claims process, ensuring that you receive the maximum compensation available.