If you’ve landed on this page I’m going to assume you’ve already read our page on EEOICPA eligibility or you’re already familiar with the details of the program.
The Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program’s Part B is the first of two parts meant to compensate sick nuclear energy workers.
Part B focuses on the most common exposure related illnesses such as radiogenic cancers, chronic beryllium disease and silicosis.
Here, I’m going to walk you through the details of Part B and how to determine eligibility. We’ll also discuss how to qualify for a Special Exposure Cohort and get your claim approved faster.
It’s important to note, EEOICPA is complicated. While I’ll lay out most of the basics here, every case is different. If you find yourself getting confused or have specific questions regarding a claim, please feel free to contact us.
As always, we’ll start with my favorite topic, the available benefits. Part B provides the following benefits to living workers.
- $150,000 tax-free, lump sum payment
- $50,000 to uranium workers covered under RECA section 5
- Medical coverage for the accepted illness
- Survivor benefits are also available
Part B Eligibility
To qualify for any benefits under EEOICPA you must meet the following three conditions:
- Prove employment at a covered facility
- Have a diagnosed medical condition
- Prove causation between your illness and exposures
I know this seems like a lot, but let’s break down each piece.
First you’ll need to make sure you worked at a covered Department of Energy facility. The Department of Labor provides a database of all facilities eligible for EEOICPA.
When looking up your facility’s profile, you will see a field called “Time Period:” in bold. This date range indicates the time periods of employment covered under EEOICPA.
Once you’ve confirmed your employment to be eligible, you’ll need to provide proof of employment.
There are a number of resources which can help prove employment, such as:
- Employment contracts
- Old pay stubs
- Department of Energy records
- W2s and other tax filings
- Social Security Administration documents
- Statements from coworkers
- And more…
A representative at one the eleven Department of Labor’s Resource Centers across the country can help you retrieve these documents to verify your employment.
Part B is very specific as to the types of medical conditions eligible for compensation. Each illness category listed below has its own set of criteria for eligibility.
In order to be eligible for Part B you must be diagnosed by a physician with a condition in one of the following categories.
- Radiogenic Cancers
- Chronic Beryllium Disease
- Beryllium Sensitivity
- Chronic Silicosis
- RECA Section 5 Illnesses
A few other notes:
- Workers with “beryllium sensitivity” only receive medical monitoring to check for the development of Chronic Beryllium Disease(CBD). If a worker develops CBD they will become eligible for Part B benefits
- Chronic Silicosis is a covered disease under Part B only if the worker worked in Nevada uranium mines or Alaska atomic weapons test tunnels
- Part B only covers cancers caused by radiation. Claims for cancers caused by toxic substances will need to be pursued under Part E claims
- Precancerous conditions are not covered under Part B, but may be covered under Part E
- If you worked for a Beryllium Vendor you’re only eligible for Part B if you have a beryllium related illness. Cancers aren’t covered for Beryllium Vendor employees
- Cancers caused by exposure to non-ionizing radiation are not compensable under Part B
Again, I know, things are getting a little complicated here. If you’re unsure don’t hesitate to contact us for further assistance. It took us a while to figure all this stuff out as well.
Proving causation is the most complicated and controversial part of the program. It’s beyond the scope of this page to try and discuss all the possible situations and instances for proving causation. Here I’ll give you an overview.
For cancer claims there are two primary paths to proving causation.
NIOSH Dose reconstruction
Once you’ve gathered all your employment documents and have been officially diagnosed with a qualifying cancer all this information will be forwarded along to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
NIOSH has been contracted by the Department of Labor to perform what is known as a dose reconstruction. Essentially, they review all your information and the available information about where you worked to determine if your cancer is work-related.
The term dose reconstruction is the source of much consternation among former workers. The process notoriously can take years for results. Once NIOSH has finished the reconstruction they forward all the information back to the DOL for a final judgement to be made on the claim.
If the Probability of Causation (POC) is 50% or greater the claim is accepted by the Dept. of Labor.
Special Exposure Cohort
Special Exposure Cohort or SEC, establishes certain groups of workers that can forgo the dose reconstruction process. Generally, SEC claims are approved much faster than dose reconstruction based claims.
Every SEC class has differing criteria and new classes are being added on a regular basis. Groups of workers have the right to petition NIOSH to add a Speical Exposure Cohort class if they feel there is sufficient evidence.
Click here to see a list of SEC classes and their requirements.
Generally, to be considered in a SEC class there are two main criteria:
- A worker must have been employed for at least 250 working days(a typical working year) at a SEC site
- The worker must have been diagnosed with one or more of the 22 “specified cancers”
Beryllium Disease Causation
Proving causation for Beryllium claims is covered in detail on our beryllium disease page.
Chronic silicosis is a condition specific to those who worked in Alaska or Nevada mining tunnels related to atomic weapons.
Proving causation for Silica Claims will be covered in detail on our upcoming silica page.
EEOICPA Part B and Part E Approval
Certain workers approved under Part B can also be eligible for Part E benefits. If you worked as a Department of Energy contractor or subcontractor, or if you worked at a RECA Section 5 facility and your Part B claimed was approved, you’re also approved for Part E.
If you were a Department of Energy employee, worked for an Atomic Weapons Employer(AWE) or Beryllium Vendor(BV) you will most likely not be eligible for compensation under Part E, even if your Part B claim was approved.