The Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA) provides benefits for workers’ illnesses related to their exposure to radiation or toxic substances while working at a Department of Energy facility as an employee, contractor or subcontractor. Under the EEOICPA, eligible Department of Energy (DOE) employees and surviving family members are entitled to receive a lump sum of up to $200,000, as well as medical care depending on certain factors involving:
Nature of work that brought an individual into contact with radioactive or hazardous materials
Medical records and information that indicates the individual’s occupational illness or disease
Individuals who have developed work-related illnesses or conditions resulting from radiation exposure may be eligible to receive a lump sum of up to $50,000 under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA).
According to Benefits.gov, there are four diseases that qualify employees, contractors or subcontractors for benefits under the EEOICPA: Radiogenic cancer: Radiogenic cancers are cancers caused by exposure to radiation.
Chronic silicosis: Silicosis is a respiratory disease that is caused by inhaling silica dust. Chronic silicosis is the result of long-term exposure to low amount of silica dust. The result is swelling in the lungs and chest lymph nodes and trouble breathing.
Beryllium sensitivity: Beryllium sensitivity is an allergic reaction to the presence of beryllium in the body. Beryllium enters the body by inhaling beryllium particles or fumes. Employees diagnosed with beryllium sensitivity receive monitoring to determine whether the condition has progressed to chronic beryllium disease.
Chronic beryllium disease: Chronic beryllium disease is a progressive loss of lung function that results from inhaling beryllium particles or fumes. The beryllium particles cause non-caseating granulomas to form in the lungs, which inhibits normal lung function.
Employees, contractors or subcontractors who worked in Department of Energy facilities with beryllium or other toxic substances should pay attention to their lung health and ability to breathe. At any sign of trouble, they should seek medical attention immediately. If they are diagnosed with any of the above diseases, they may be eligible for benefits under the EEOICPA.