Category Archives: EEOICPA

Labor Dept. to reopen comment on rules changes

The Department of Labor plans to reopen and extend the public comment period on proposed changes to the government’s nuclear workers compensation program. Dozens of changes to the process for evaluating claims and making awards were initially proposed in November 2015, with the comment period open through Jan. 19, 2016. That comment period was extended for another 30 days at the request of the Alliance of Nuclear Workers Advocacy Groups and others, and the Labor Department is now reopening the window for public comment following a recent letter from U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Tom Udall, D-N.M., asked Labor to postpone the implementation of the rules changes on the Energy Employees Occupational Illness and Compensation Program. The new comment period will be open through May 9. Continue reading

Alexander, Udall urge Labor Dept. to halt rule changes on sick worker compensation program

alexandersummitIn a letter sent Thursday,  U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Tom Udall, D-N.M., urged  Labor Secretary Thomas Perez to halt the implementation of dozens of rule changes in the government’s compensation program for sick nuclear workers.

The senators asked Perez to delay the implementation of at least 72 proposed changes until the Labor Department can incorporate the findings of a recent Government Accountability Office report on the program and allow time for the newly created Advisory Board on Toxic Substances and Worker Health to come online and review the changes. The newly created board is scheduled to have its first meeting in April.

According to Alexander and Udall, some of the proposed changes to the Energy Employees Occupational Illness and Compensation Program could adversely impact the adjudication of claims filed by former workers or their surviving relatives.

Here’s a statement from Alexander:

“At the peak of the Cold War, nearly 600,000 workers across the country — including tens of thousands of Tennesseans — were involved in the research and production of nuclear weapons. These men and women worked with little-understood hazardous materials to build and maintain our nation’s nuclear defense and keep our country safe. The Department of Labor is proposing to put in place rules that could make it harder for these workers, many of whom are sick and elderly, to get the medical benefits they deserve. We think the department should first address potential problems with its operation of the program before the department adds more burdens to these workers.” Continue reading

Tennessee passes $2B milestone on EEOICPA payments

Tennessee is the first and only state so far to pass the $2 billion milestone for payments and medical care from the government’s compensation program for sick nuclear workers. That mark was passed recently. Most of the Tennessee claimants were former workers (or their surviving relatives) at the Oak Ridge nuclear facilities. Continue reading

New Advisory Board on Worker Health; first meeting set for April 26-28 in Washington

The newly named Advisory Board on Toxic Substances and Worker Health will advise the Secretary of Labor on technical issues pertaining to the government’s compensation program for sick nuclear workers.

Garry Whitley, former president of the Atomic Trades and Labor Council in Oak Ridge, has been named a board member representing the claimant community. The advisory board’s first meeting is scheduled for April 26-28 in Washington, D.C., and it will be open to the public.

Here’s the full list of board members: Continue reading

ANWAG urges Labor Dept. to extend comment period on rule changes for compensation program

The Alliance of Nuclear Worker Advocacy Groups is asking Labor Secretary Thomas Perez to extend the comment period for proposed rule changes to the federal compensation program for sick nuclear workers.

The comment period is scheduled to end Jan. 19.

In a letter to Perez, Deb Jerison of ANWAG asked the Labor Department to extend the comment deadline until the newly created Advisory Board on Toxic Substances and Worker Health has been seated and functioning so that board members can participate in the review of rule changes. Continue reading

Hearing loss among former workers

k25viewThe Department of Energy’s 2014 annual report for the Former Worker Medical Screening Program contains a bunch of interesting information about worker health issues, and I’ll report more on this later.

One of the most widespread medical issues among former workers is hearing loss, and this is particularly notable among former production workers at the department’s gaseous diffusion plants — such as K-25 in Oak Ridge (pictured). Continue reading