ESA News Release: [02/21/2008]
Contact Name: Dolline Hatchett or Loren Smith
Phone Number: (202) 693-4650 or x4676
Release Number: 08-0234-NAT
WASHINGTON The U.S. Department of Labor today announced that it has paid more than $1 billion to 8,926 individuals under Part E of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA). Part E of the act was created as an amendment to the EEOICPA in October 2004 to alleviate the delay claimants were experiencing under the old Part D program administered by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Labor Department was charged with implementation of Part E.
"We achieved this $1 billion milestone because our focus is on ensuring that those who are covered by the program receive the compensation and medical benefits they are entitled to as quickly as possible," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao.
More than 25,000 cases were transferred to the Department of Labor from the Department of Energy during the Part E transition and, to date, more than 70,000 claims have been filed under Part E. Payments exceeded the $1 billion mark on Feb. 15, just more than three years after the inception of the program. Less than $2 million was paid out via state workers' compensation systems under Part D, the predecessor program.
Shelby Hallmark, director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, administers the Department of Labor program. He stated: "Reaching $1 billion in payouts in three years demonstrates the Department of Labor's commitment to helping people who have become sick due to their work at Department of Energy nuclear weapons facilities."
Part E provides federal compensation and medical benefits to contractors and subcontractors of the Department of Energy who worked at certain Department of Energy facilities and sustained an occupational illness as a result of exposure to toxic substances. Certain survivors of these workers also are eligible for benefits. Part E provides additional compensation for uranium workers who worked at facilities covered by the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act and certain survivors of covered employees.
The Part E benefit payout is already nearly double what the Congressional Budget Office projected for fiscal year 2005 through fiscal year 2008 at the time of the statute's passage. Part E payouts have grown each year and continue to accelerate. Payments are expected to exceed $400 million in fiscal year 2008 alone.
The Labor Department also administers Part B of the EEOICPA. Since the implementation of the act in July 2001, more than 88,000 claims have been filed by workers or their families seeking benefits under the Part B provisions. The department has reached final decisions on more than 55,000 Part B claims, issued lump sum payments exceeding $2.3 billion to claimants under Part B, and as of Feb. 14, 2008, paid an additional $196 million to cover costs of necessary medical care for employees with illnesses linked to their employment in the atomic weapons industry.
For additional information about how to file a claim under Part E of the EEOICPA, call 866-888-3322 toll-free.