The EEOICPA is a government-operated program with its own process, it may be overwhelming to tackle it on your own.
Almost every job comes with risk and for those who work in nuclear power plants, the risk of cancer and other injuries is small but significant.
Nuclear plant employees are exposed to a variety of different risks:
- Radiation exposure
- Exhaustion or fatigue
However, some studies show that nuclear plant workers are more likely to experience health issues because of shift-related factors, such as long hours or accidents than because of long-term exposure to the nuclear plant environment. New health and safety regulations make for a better environment for workers, but the possible health risks aren’t completely removed.
When a nuclear plant employee gets ill at work, are they entitled to workers compensation?
Nuclear plant employees and other people working at certain Department of Energy (DOE) facilities are protected by the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA).
The act was first introduced in July 2001 to cover all current and former workers who have been diagnosed with cancer and silicosis, diseases caused by radiation exposure.
The act includes two separate programs:
Part B – provides eligible employees or survivors with lump-sum compensation up to $150,000, and covers medical bills. It can also provide payments to individuals eligible for compensation under Section 5 of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) (which only awards compensation retroactively);
Part E – provides eligible employees or survivors with lump-sum compensation up to $250,000, and covers medical bills.
Each program has separate eligibility criteria. For instance, Part E can also account for lost wages if the worker had to miss days of work due to their medical states, while Part B does not.
How Do You Receive These Benefits?
If you are a nuclear plant worker and want to benefit from EEOICPA, you have to file a claim with the Department of Labor, as this is the agency that oversees the program. There are two main documents you’ll need to file, as well as all your medical files that prove your diagnosis.
The Department of Labor will then review your claim and see if you are eligible for Part B or Part E. Please note that if you were not the employee, but the survivor of nuclear plant workers, there are different types of forms you’ll need to file.
What Should You Do?
In regular workers compensation cases, you inform the employer of your injury, file a claim, and receive compensation. It is a form of insurance, so the matters are negotiated with your employer’s insurance company.
But EEOICPA is a government-operated program with its own process. Because of it, it may be overwhelming to tackle it on your own. You should consider getting in touch with a St. Louis workers compensation attorney for additional help.
A lawyer can help you file the claim, gather all the necessary documents, and increase your chances of the claim getting approved. Additionally, they may also recommend other forms of compensation based on your state, such as disability benefits.