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Additional Changes to Compensation Program

October 8, 2020

October 8, 2020

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Industry News

Last month, the Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation (DEEOIC) published a notice alerting the stakeholders that the Procedure Manual has been revised.

One change that will have a big, positive impact is that they extended the exposure period for asbestos related COPD thorough December 31, 1995.  The previous cut-off when considering asbestos exposure for COPD was December 31, 1986.  This change is very important.  DEEOIC will presume that exposure to asbestos resulted in the development of COPD if the employee worked for 20 aggregate years at a nuclear weapons facility in a position where there was significant asbestos exposure and who was diagnosed with COPD 20 years after their first exposure.

The Claims Examiner is to consider the following labor categories to have had significant exposure to asbestos based on their job tasks.

  • Automotive mechanic; Vehicle mechanic; Vehicle maintenance mechanic
  • Boilermaker
  • Carpenter; Drywaller; Plasterer
  • Demolition technician; Laborer
  • Electrical mechanic; Electrician; Floor covering worker
  • Furnace & saw operator; Furnace builder; Furnace operator; Furnace puller;Furnace technician; Furnace tender; Furnace unloader
  • Glazier; Glass installer; Glazer
  • Grinder operator; Mason (concrete grinding); Tool grinder; Maintenance mechanic (general grinding); Welder (general grinding); Machinist (machine grinding)
  • Insulation worker; Insulation trade worker; Insulator
  • Ironworker; Ironworker-rigger
  • Maintenance mechanic; Electrician; Insulator;
  • Mason; Brick & tile mason; Concrete and terrazzo worker; Bricklayer, Tilesetter
  • Millwright
  • Heavy equipment operator; Operating Engineer
  • Painter
  • Pipefitter, Plumber steamfitter; Plumber/pipefitter; Plumbing & pipefitting mechanic; Plumbing technician, Steamfitter
  • Roofer
  • Sheet metal mechanic; Sheet metal fabricator/installer
  • Welder; Welder burner; Welder mechanic
  • Uranium Miner/Miller

If you were denied compensation for COPD because exposure to asbestos was not considered after 1986 check with your authorized representative (AR) or your claims examiner (CE), if you filed your own claim, to see if your claim should be reopened.

Another positive impact is DEEOIC revised the way to calculate, for employees who spent a continuous 24 hours onsite, the 250 aggregate days needed to qualify as a member of the Special Exposure Cohort.

If evidence exists establishing an employee’s onsite presence at a designated SEC facility for 24 hours, including time spent working or living at the facility, the employee will be credited for 3 work shifts (i.e. 3 workdays) towards the 250-work day requirement. In such instances, the 250-work day requirement will be satisfied if the evidence establishes the employee’s onsite residential presence at a designated SEC facility for 83 days, which a CE may consider as the equivalent of 250 workdays.

Again, if you were previously denied for this reason check with your AR or CE to see if your claim can be reopened.

DEEOIC revised Exhibit 15-4, Exposure and Causation Presumptions with Development Guidance for Certain Conditions, to reflect updated presumption language regarding Asthma and Parkinsonism. For Asthma, DEEOIC is updating language to clarify the need for a physician to identify a toxic substance that resulted in the condition. DEEOIC is also updating the known aliases for Parkinsonism to include Parkinson’s Disease, Paralysis Agitans and Hemiparkinsonism.

The last major change is how DEEOIC will treat survivor claims who decide to pursue the “Election of Benefits” compensation as opposed to the survivor benefits.  The “Election of Benefits” is where if a worker dies from a non-covered illness after being approved under Part E but before the claimed payment is received, the survivor(s) has the option to elect to receive the payment for impairment and/or wage loss that the covered Part E employee would have received, had he/she not died prior to payment.

The change is that if the survivor files for the Election of Benefits option and receives compensation from a state workers’ compensation program, DEEOIC will offset their benefits,

Once a survivor makes an election to receive a payment that the covered Part E employee would have received, the survivor is treated the same as the employee in determining whether the payment is subject to state workers’ compensation (SWC) coordination. For example, if the employee received SWC benefits for asbestosis and the survivor elected to receive what the deceased employee would have received under EEOICPA based on asbestosis, the CE must coordinate the amount payable to the survivor with the amount of those SWC benefits. (See PM Chapter 32, Coordinating State Workers’ Compensation Benefits).

If you have any questions concerning these changes please call Cold War Patriots Help Center, 888-837-7390.