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Talk to Terrie: Changes to DEEOIC Procedure Manual Could Mean Good News for Some Claimants

September 4, 2018

September 4, 2018

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A few days ago, Cold War Patriots (CWP) posted a notice that the Department of Labor’s Division of Energy Employees Compensation (DEEOIC) updated their Procedure Manual.  For those of you who clicked on the document detailing the changes you may have thought to yourself, “Oh, my!  What does all of this mean?”

There are a lot of changes.  I and other advocates have not yet completed our review.  But I do want to share something to you immediately because the change could impact previously denied claims for asbestos-related diseases.  It appears that DEEOIC has accepted the Advisory Board on Toxic Substances and Worker Health’s (ABTSWH) recommendation on these diseases.

The asbestos-related diseases are:

  • Lung cancer
  • Mesothelioma
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Pleural Plaques

DEEOIC accepted ABTSWH’s recommendation that the latency period for lung cancer, mesothelioma and ovarian cancer be reduced from 30 years to 15 years and from 20 years to 10 years for pleural plaques.  They also accepted the board’s recommendation on the duration a worker would need to be exposed to asbestos as well.  You can find this information in the Procedure Manual, Chapter 15, https://bit.ly/2OZcPcO.

I imagine that some claims for the above diseases may have previously denied because the disease was diagnosed, for instance, 20 years from when the worker was first exposed to asbestos.  Fortunately, DEEOIC allows a claimant or their authorized representative to petition to reopen a claim.  All petitions to reopen a claim must be in writing and specify the reason for the request. As Chapter 27 on page 293 of the Procedure Manual explains, changes in policies (Procedure Manual) as a reason to petition to reopen a claim,

(6) Change in Law, Regulations or Policies. If the initial review reveals that the claimant has identified a change in the law, regulations, or policies governing the EEOICPA, the DD determines whether the nature and extent of such information satisfies the requirements of 20 C.F.R. § 30.320, and whether it is sufficient to warrant reopening.

It is unclear what DEEOIC considers “…significant exposure to asbestos on a day-by-day basis…” but that language should prevent claimants from considering reopening their claims.

If you have an authorized representative reach out to them to see if your claim should be reopened or call our Help Desk at 888-903-8989.