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Talk to Terrie: DEEOIC’s October Webinar

October 21, 2020

October 21, 2020

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The Department of Labor’s Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation (DEEOIC) hosted its fifth webinar October 14, 2020.  The topic for this webinar was the role of the Resource Centers’ Responsibilities and Authorized Representatives’ Services.

These webinars are very informative not only to those new to the program but also for individuals like me who have been involved with the program for years.  I was pleasantly surprised and thankful that Josh Novak, Chief of the Outreach Branch, announced that the Resolution designating October 30, 2020 as the National Day of Remembrance for nuclear weapons complex workers was passed by the Senate.  Mr. Novak expressed his appreciation of the work and sacrifice of these employees and claimants. Every year, since 2009, Cold War Patriots has initiated the resolution for Senate approval and we are proud to say that it has been approved all 12 years.

The Resource Centers’ responsibilities have been expanded.  Besides accepting claims and conducting the Occupational History Questionnaire the Resource Center can now,

  • Check the status of your claim,
  • Upload documents for the claimant,
  • Check to make sure a document uploaded through the electronic portal has been included in the case file,
  • Assist claimants with preauthorization requests for medical treatments, and
  • Assist claimants who have problems with their medical bills.

The Resource Centers also monitor and respond to the calls made to DEEOIC’s toll free number.  They can forward a call to a claims examiner if the claims examiner is available.

The second part of the webinar concerning the role of Authorized Representative (AR) was presented by Daniel Povich of the Department of Labor’s Office of the Solicitor.  He explained that anyone can be an AR.  The claimant must notify DEEOIC that they wish to be represented in writing and recommended that the claimant use the form on page 454 of the Procedure Manual.

Mr. Povich also discussed how much an AR can charge a claimant.  I didn’t quite understand so I submitted a hypothetical after the webinar:

A claimant hires an AR to file the claim.  The claimant receives a Recommended Decision (RD) to deny and the same AR participates in a hearing before the FAB.  If the FAB decides in the claimant’s favor and approves the claim, the AR can only charge the 10% fee stipulated in the statute.

DEEOIC responded:

In your example, where the claimant authorized a representative to file the initial claim, the district office then issues a decision recommending denial of the claim and Final Adjudication Branch (FAB) subsequently approves the claim:  the AR may charge no more than 2% of whatever lump-sum payment is awarded in the final decision plus 10% of the lump-sum payment made to the claimant. 

These percentages apply only to the lump sum payments awarded and not to medical benefits.

Mr. Povich explained that it is against the law for ARs to charge more than this.  A stakeholder asked what should a claimant do if an AR does charge more?  Mr. Povich said that if the claimant has proof (a copy of a contract, e.g.) they should send it to the claims examiner and they will forward it to the National Office for further investigation.

DEEOIC will hold two more webinars this year.  November’s topics will be DEEOIC Website Tour (Tools and Resources) and U.S. Department of Energy Records Search – November 12, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. ET.  December’s topic will discuss the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act – U.S. Department of Justice and DEEOIC – December 9, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. ET

Cold War Patriots will provide how to register for these webinars as soon as DEEOIC issues the invitation.