Stephens and Stephens EEOICPA attorneys help victims of toxic substances, and radioactive material exposure get compensation and medical benefits for injuries related to the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA). EEOICPA claims are adjudicated by the Department of Labor. Where the eligible employee is deceased, their survivors may be eligible for compensation.
Who is Covered Under EEOICPA?
Eligible claimants include current or former employees of the Department of Energy (DOE), their survivors, specific vendors, contractors, and subcontractors with radiogenic cancer, chronic beryllium disease, beryllium sensitivity, and chronic silicosis resulting from exposure to radiation, beryllium, or silica while employed at covered facilities. EEOICPA also covers employees and survivors compensated under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) section 5.
EEOICPA Part B and Part E
EEOICPA includes Part B, and E. Part E compensates DOE contractor and subcontractor employees, their survivors, and uranium miners, millers, and ore transporters for occupational illnesses causally linked to toxic exposures in the DOE or related to mining.
What Compensation is Offered Under EEOICPA Part B?
Part B offers a lump sum payment of $150,000 and medical benefits to covered employees, vendors, contractors, and subcontractors suffering from occupational illnesses due to radiation, beryllium, or silica exposure.
Part B survivors are entitled to a lump sum of $150,000, proportionally, in order of precedence: spouse, child, parent, grandchild, and grandparent.
Part B covered employees must have been diagnosed with:
- Beryllium sensitivity or CBD from occupational beryllium exposure
- A specified cancer for SEC members
- Any cancer that is at least as likely as not related to occupational radiation exposure at a covered facility
- Chronic silicosis due to exposure to silica after working at a DOE facility in Nevada or Alaska for at least 250 days in atomic weapons-related work.
Eligible uranium workers or survivors get $50,000. Those eligible under RECA Section 5, as determined by the Attorney General, receive $100,000. Eligible survivors get $150,000 shared equally. Covered employees with beryllium sensitivity get medical benefits and medical monitoring.
What Are EEOICPA Part E Benefits?
Part E provides DOE contractor employees and survivors compensation up to $250,000, where exposure to a toxic substance “at least as likely as not” significantly aggravated, contributed to, or caused the employee’s illness or death.
The covered employee under part E must establish that the exposure was “at least as likely as not” related to employment at the facility. The amount offered depends on whether the employee suffered wage loss or impairment.
Part E Eligible Survivors include the spouse and the children of the covered employee under the age of 18 years, or full-time students under 23 years at the time of the employee’s death, or incapable of self-support at the time of the employee’s death.
A spouse may elect to receive the compensation the deceased would have received before their death.
EEOICPA Impairment Compensation
Impairment is considered for employees whose covered illness is stabilized and unlikely to improve with additional medical treatment. Survivors are not entitled to impairment benefits under Part E.
EEOICPA Wageloss Compensation
The wage loss is based on the years that the employee’s wages were reduced due to a covered illness and is paid to cover the employee’s remaining years until retirement. A survivor eligible for wage loss gets an additional $25,000 or $50,000 if the deceased wage loss exceeds 10 or 20 years.
All eligible employees are entitled to medical care services, appliances, and supplies prescribed or recommended by a qualified physician or which DEEOIC considers likely to cure, relieve, or reduce the condition’s degree or period. Provider fees for accepted medical are subject to a fee schedule.
What is the Difference Between EEOICPA Part B and E?
Part B covers beryllium sensitivity, CBD, chronic silicosis, and cancer. Part E coverage includes illnesses claimed as related to occupational toxic substance exposure, including those covered under Part B, such as diagnosed cancers, respiratory illnesses, cardiac illnesses, and mental illnesses originating from a physical condition. Illnesses and injuries arising from an accepted Part B or Part E condition are compensated as consequential illnesses.
Some Part B covered employments do not qualify under Part E. Part B coverage extends to AWEs, beryllium vendor employees, DOE contractors/subcontractors, and federal employees. Those covered under Part E include DOE subcontractor and contractor employees working at DOE facilities.
Part E does not cover employees of AWE, beryllium vendors, or federal agencies, except for employees who worked at an AWE facility or for a beryllium vendor designated for remediation and remediation contractor employees.
Covered employment facilities
- AWE Facilities dealing in radiation-emitting material used by the United States to produce atomic weapons, excluding uranium mining or milling. Only AWE employees working at an AWE facility are covered. Contractor and subcontractor employees, joint employer doctrine, and those working for subsidiaries are not covered. AWEs are covered only for cancer under Part B but not Part E.
- Beryllium vendors’ employees, contractors or subcontractors, and federal employees who may have been exposed to beryllium while working for specified companies that process or produce beryllium for DOE are also covered. Coverage for beryllium vendor employment only applies to Part B for beryllium sensitivity and CBD.
- Individuals working in DOE facilities- Benefits depend on the type of employment, i.e., federal employee, contractor, or subcontractor employee. Part B covers DOE federal employees, contractors, and subcontractor employees, while Part E covers contractor or subcontractor employees only.
- RECA Section 5 coverage under EEOICPA includes miners, millers, and ore transporters at uranium mining facilities.
Special Exposure Cohort (SEC) Class
Employees in a designated SEC class benefit from a presumption that employment-related radiation caused certain specified cancers. A SEC class can apply to a whole facility, specific buildings, processes, or job titles. For an employee to qualify under a SEC class, they must have worked for at least 250 workdays at one or more SEC worksites.
NIOSH Dose Construction
Employees diagnosed with non-SEC cancer in covered employment are referred to the NIOSH for a radiation dose reconstruction. Such cases are more complicated without the help of an experienced EEOICPA attorney.
If the employee does not qualify as a SEC member but has a specified cancer and covered employment, their claims may also be referred to NIOSH for dose reconstruction.
Any non-SEC cancers must be forwarded to NIOSH for dose reconstruction to determine eligibility for non-SEC primary cancer medical benefits.
Cases that do not require dose reconstruction include a primary cancer, which is a non-specified cancer (for instance, prostate cancer), and metastasizes to a secondary cancer site, which is a specified cancer (such as bone).
You were potentially exposed to beryllium if you worked at a beryllium vendor or DOE facility. To be eligible for compensation, you must demonstrate that you were present or had at least one day of verified employment at a DOE facility or a facility owned and operated by a beryllium vendor.
For Part E, the employee must have at least one day of verified employment as a DOE contractor or subcontractor at a DOE facility.
Part B eligible employees receive medical monitoring (including all tests for CBD), treatment, and therapy for the condition effective on the filing date. However, part B does not provide a lump-sum payment.
Chronic silicosis is a nonmalignant lung disease caused by prolonged exposure to silica dust. Part B covers only chronic silicosis, while Part E covers chronic silicosis, acute silicosis, accelerated silicosis, and complicated silicosis.
For chronic silicosis part B claims, a DOE employee or contractor employee must have been present for at least 250 workdays during the mining of tunnels at a DOE facility in Nevada or Alaska for atomic weapon testing.
The initial occupational exposure to silica dust must precede the onset of chronic silicosis by at least ten years. The claimant should also present written evidence from a qualified physician of the diagnosis of chronic silicosis and the date of initial onset.
How do You Prove Covered Employment?
An experienced EEOICPA attorney can help you gather the required evidence for covered employment. Employment verification can be challenging because the atomic weapons program dates back to the 1940s and involves large public and private organizations. Locating employment records can be difficult because some documents may be missing, degraded, lost, or destroyed. Helpful documentation may include contracts, business reports, internal memos, purchase orders, news articles, affidavits from co-workers, etc.
How Do You Establish Likely Exposure
An EEOICPA lawyer will collect the necessary evidence to help you prove that “it is at least as likely as not that the exposure to such toxic substance was related to employment at a DOE or RECA facility.”
Evidence required includes:
- Covered employment
- A diagnosed medical condition
- Causation or a demonstrated relationship between the employment, exposures, and the diagnosed condition- DEEOIC often requires a medical opinion on causation from a qualified physician, SECOP physician, a CMC, or a Referee specialist. Causation under Part E may be established by an acceptance under Part B.
- Survivors must have documentation establishing eligibility for survivorship, such as a marriage certificate, birth certificate, adoption records, etc.
Offset or Coordination of Benefits
OWCP benefits are offset to prevent multiple compensations for an employee’s covered illness or death. Also, if an employee dies before receiving a settlement filed under part E, medical benefits awarded to the survivor are coordinated if the deceased had received benefits for the same covered illness. Part B benefits and insurance policy payments to an employee or eligible surviving beneficiary are not offset.
Administrative Closure of Claim
DEEOIC may administratively close a claim if the claimant does not provide the required information to help process their claim. To avoid this, claimants should hire an experienced EEOICPA attorney to help file their claim. You can contact us if your claim was administratively closed. Our experienced EEOICPA attorneys may help you get the required evidence for compensation.
What can an EEOICPA Attorney do for you?
Unless the claimant authorizes otherwise, a properly appointed authorized representative (AR) has the authority, to the same extent as the claimant, to present or seek evidence, make factual or legal arguments, seek medical authorization, interact with DEEOIC staff, and obtain information from the case file. The DEEOIC channels all communication relating to claim adjudication to the claimant’s AR.
How Much Do You Pay an Attorney For Your EEOICPA Claim?
Attorney fees for filing EEOICPA claims are contingency-based. You only pay when you receive compensation. An EEOICPA attorney is legally entitled to the following percentages of a lump-sum payment made to a claimant:
- 2% for filing of an initial claim, provided that the representative was retained before the filing of the initial claim
- Plus, 10% of the difference between the lump-sum payment and the amount proposed in the RD when objections are made to the RD
Why Choose Stephens and Stephens EEOICPA Lawyers?
Experience! We have helped claimants recover approximately $70 million from the federal government in EEOICPA claims over the past 13 years. During that period, we pursued litigation in federal court against the United States Department of Labor, overturning specific arbitrary, capricious, and claimant unfavorable rules and determinations for the benefit of our claimants. We go the extra mile to help claimants get the compensation they deserve!