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Don’t Give Up! Reflections from a Claims Advocate on the White Card Process

September 29, 2023

September 29, 2023

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By Daniel Burroughs of Energy Employee Advocates

Daniel Burroughs is Co-Owner and CEO of Energy Employee Advocates. As a Claims Advocate, Daniel assists former energy workers in navigating the complex white card claims process, drafting medical opinion letters, corresponding with claims examiners, and balancing voluminous amounts of medical and employment data.

Thousands of nuclear weapons and uranium workers across the country have been denied for white card benefits under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (“EEOICPA”) and never reapplied.  When asked, many of you mention a number of reasons for abandoning a claim: frustration with the process, erroneous information from third parties, and sheer exhaustion. Fortunately, many denied claims are in a good position for appeal.

There is no limit on the number of times that you may appeal a denied claim, as long as new evidence is presented. Such evidence might include medical diagnosis information, a medical opinion letter signed by a physician, revision of EEOICPA regulations, or evidence of covered employment. As long as new probative information is submitted, a previously denied claim may be reopened.

Quite often, claimants are denied because sufficient evidence of a causal linkage between toxic substance exposure and the applied-for medical condition is missing. While some doctors are willing to draft a letter for claimants, these efforts often fail because physicians are not familiar with EEOICPA policy. In these situations, an experienced Advocate is equipped to interpret EEOICPA regulations and fine tune a medical opinion letter to satisfy regulatory standards.

An experienced Advocate can offer a fresh set of eyes and spot connections that often go unnoticed when you file your own claim. A prime example involves consequential conditions. More often than not, medical complications affecting one organ system are linked to another. For example, Chronic Kidney Disease is linked to consequential conditions in almost every major organ system.

Many of the workers we speak with have been told by third parties or other workers that certain conditions can never be covered under the Act, but that is often not the case. While labor categories, exposure profiles, timing of diagnosis, and other factors all impact the strength of a claim, you should consider asking an Advocate to review the merits of the case before giving up. Because Advocates work on a contingency basis (i.e., a fee that is only paid out if a claim is approved), there’s no financial risk for you.

In conclusion, the White Card process can seem challenging to navigate on your own. An experienced Advocate has the knowledge and resources to turn a seemingly impossible claim into an approval.

Do you have questions about your White Card claim?
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