Frequently Asked Questions | RECA

Your RECA Claim Questions Answered

What is the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA)?

The RECA claims program involves Uranium Miners, Millers, and Transporters who developed lung and kidney diseases as well as cancer due to exposure to Uranium and other hazardous substances.

RECA also addresses claims from on-site participants who were exposed to radiation during a test of a nuclear weapon at the Nevada Test Site (NTS) or in the South Pacific and later developed certain types of cancer. Those who lived downwind of the Nevada Test Site (NTS) and were diagnosed with certain types of cancer can also obtain compensation under RECA as Downwinders.

What are downwinders? 

You may not have been employed at a nuclear testing site, but the fallout from one of these federal tests can still impact your health. Downwinders are people who suffered from radiation-related disease because they were downwind from nuclear testing facilities. If you believe you qualify as a downwinder, our lawyers are committed to getting your benefits. Talk to your lawyer to determine if your state is impacted.

Am I eligible for RECA compensation?

If you, your parent (step-parent), spouse, or your grandparent worked as a uranium miller, miner, or transporter and developed a condition related to uranium exposure then you are eligible to apply for compensation under RECA’s program for uranium miners, millers, or transporters.

RECA also has a program which compensates individuals who developed cancer and lived downwind of the Nevada Test Site during its period of operation (Downwinder claims), and one which addresses individuals who were exposed to radiation due to presence at a nuclear weapons test (Onsite Participant claims).  If this applies to you, your parent, or your grandparent, you are eligible to apply for compensation.

We have obtained over $50 million establishing this connection for our clients. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

How do I know if I’m eligible for RECA benefits?

For many, eligibility for RECA benefits means being employed in one of the agencies testing radioactive substances, or being one of the people who never worked for one of these companies but were downwinded from their testing facilities. We can help you determine whether you’re eligible.

I think I am eligible for compensation. What now?

We encourage potential claimants to allow us to file their claims. We send out an authorized representative form and an engagement letter. The authorized representative form allows us to represent your interests before the Department of Labor (DOL). They ultimately decide whether your claim will be approved or denied.

How do I file a RECA claim if I’ve been denied before? 

If you’ve been denied a claim, you may still have grounds to pursue compensation. You can take the official statement regarding your denial to a lawyer, who can help you resubmit your claim and seek the compensation you’re due.

What is the engagement letter?

This engagement letter lists our fees – which are limited by the RECA statutes themselves.

  • Fees are 2% for an initial claim, plus 10% if the claim is recommended for denial.
  • The fees will be the same whether you choose a reputable lawyer, professional advocate or other representative.
  • We do not receive compensation if your claim is not paid.
  • The compensation that is paid by the Department of Labor is wired directly into your account.
  • After you receive your compensation we send you an invoice for 2%, 10%, or 12% of the compensation based on (1) whether you were paid on the initial claim, (2) if we only handled the objection and/or hearing, or (3) if we handled both the initial claim and the objection and/or hearing.

What’s the difference between RECA and EEOICPA claims? 

One of the key differences between RECA and EEOICPA claims is that RECA doesn’t offer medical benefits. Your injuries instead are compensable by a one-time lump sum payment, which can be used for your medical bills.

But you may be eligible for both. Talk to your legal representative about your eligibility and what your claim may be worth.

How can a lawyer help me with a RECA claim? 

RECA claims are one of our most important practice areas, and we’re dedicated to providing the service you need to get your claim compensated. You may not have the resources you need for success, which is where we step in. If you don’t have representation for your claim, it can be difficult or even impossible to get fairly compensated.

I would like Stephens & Stephens to handle my RECA claim.

Please contact us by phone at 1-800-548-4494, email (hstephens@stephensstephens.com) or through the contact form here on our site. We will first seek to understand the nature of your claim. If you wish to proceed from there we will send you an authorization agreement that will allow us to represent you to the Department of Labor.

  • If you have already filed a claim with the Department of Labor and your claim has been denied, we may still be able to assist you. If this is the case we will request your entire case file from the Department of Labor and determine the best strategy to proceed with from our review of the case file.
  • If you have a never filed a claim before, we will file the initial paperwork and correspond with the Department of Labor on your behalf. We will need the necessary documentation to file your claim. This includes survivorship evidence (i.e birth certificates if you are the child of a deceased worker, marriage certificate if you are the spouse of a deceased worker) and medical evidence of your claims (medical records such as pathology reports, PFT results, biopsy results, medical narratives, etc).

I have already begun filing, what now?

Stephens & Stephens will obtain a copy of the DOL file and pick up where you left off. We will do our best to ensure that your hard work is brought to a final resolution. On denied EEOICPA claims we obtain a copy of the DOL file which includes all documentation related to your claim. We analyze the reason why your claim was denied in the first place and we urge the DOL or the DOJ to accept your claim.

We frequently work with experts including Occupational and Environmental Medicine Physicians and Health Physicists and occasionally Subject Matter Experts to present a professionally prepared analysis built on strong supporting evidence.

How long does the claims process take?

There are a number of factors that can affect the Department of Labor’s ability to verify you claim. While we are unable to guarantee our ability to secure a more expedient adjudication, our team is experienced at working with Department of Labor claims examiners to ensure that claims are processed in a timely manner.

  • Claims process generally takes around six months.
  • Dose reconstruction claims can take a year.
  • If a claimant is terminal the claim process can be expedited and lead to a payment within days instead of months.
  • If claims have been denied, there can be a considerable work period before re-presenting them to DOL, sometimes years.