Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program is the full form of EEOICPA. It was enacted to provide compensation as well as full medical benefits to the employees hired by the Department of Energy (DOE) and its contractors/subcontractors. The compensation benefits are also provided to the immediate survivors of the employees who died due to illness resulting from exposure to radioactive or other toxic materials. The energy workers compensation program contains two benefit programs – Part B and Part E.
Part B of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program provides lump-sum compensation to the eligible workers or their immediate beneficiaries. The compensation sum can go up to $150, 000. In addition, the employees also receive full medical expenses up to $50, 000 for certain conditions as recognized under the section 5 of RECA (Radiation Exposure Compensation Act.
This part of EEOICPA provides compensation up to $250, 000 along with medical expenses for the enlisted conditions. The maximum limit on the amount of compensation payment is based on years of wage loss/duration of impairment pertaining to the covered diseases.
The eligibility criteria under the EEOICPA are distinct and different in Part B and Part E of the compensation program.
Filing Claims for Compensation and Medical Benefits
The eligible employees are required to get into touch with the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Resource Centre to apply for compensation as well as full medical expenses. The eligible worker needs to contact the centre in the state where his/her last Department of Energy or DOE employer is based or the centre in the worker’s area.
Illnesses Covered under EEOICPA
Not all illnesses are covered under the EEOICPA. The program covers only certain illnesses resulting from the claimant’s prolonged exposure to toxic substances. Three types of illnesses are covered under the EEOICPA – Chronic Silicosis, Beryllium Illnesses and certain types of cancers.
Filing a claim for compensation does not guarantee that the employee will receive the benefits as specified under the EEOICPA. It is mandatory for the worker to submit proofs of illness as well as establish that illness has been caused because of exposure to the radiation and other hazardous substances at the workplace.
The proofs refer to the medical reports that clearly establish the presence of the disease in the claimant. Any medical report does not serve the purpose. Under the act, the required medical tests to prove the illnesses have been clearly mentioned.
Two points are made clear as per the EEOICPA to qualify for compensation benefits and medical bills – the worker needs to submit proofs in support of his/her claim and give some convincing reasons to establish that he/she has been suffering from the disease only because of long-time exposure to dangerous materials at the worksite. For example, pancreas cancer is enlisted under the act. If the claimant is diagnosed with pancreas cancer, it is his/her responsibility to prove that the disease did not occur due to heavy smoking, alcohol intake or excessive consumption of coffee.