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DEEOIC Webinar: DOJ explains RECA and it’s sunset
April 1, 2022
April 1, 2022
The Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation (DEEOIC) March webinar featured representatives from the Department of Justice (DOJ) who provided information on the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) and what will happen if Congress allows the program to sunset on July 11, 2022. Representatives from the Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation (DEEOIC) also explained DEEOIC’s role in compensating uranium workers.
RECA provides monetary compensation to three groups of individuals who were exposed to radiation. People who lived downwind of above ground nuclear testing received $50,000. Government employees or contractors receive $75,000. Uranium miners, millers, and transporters receive $100,000. The last group is the only one who can also apply for financial and medical benefits through DEEOIC.
As of March 29, 2022, DOJ has approved 74.5% of claims. DEEOIC’s approval rate is 44.3%. The reason for the high approval rate is that RECA claimants do not need to prove causation. While there are statutory requirements that needs to be met (working at a uranium mine for a minimum of one year, e.g.), Ms. Beg relayed that if any evidence is ambiguous DOJ will give the benefit of the doubt to the claimant.
Lori Beg from DOJ explained that, unless Congress acts, the RECA program will end in a few short months. She said that DOJ will accept new claims that are postmarked July 11, 2022. However, the RECA legislation also calls for the trust fund also sunsets on July 11, 2022. There is a huge uncertainty on whether claims filed on or before the sunset date will be able to be able to be compensated. DOJ is working with Congress to fix this issue. She also explained that all claims, along with the evidence must be mailed to DOJ. DOJ cannot accept faxes or emails.
Shire Kirkpatrick presented DEEOIC’s program for Section 5 uranium workers. If DOJ approves a uranium worker, the claimant can file for medical benefits and an additional $50,000 in financial benefits under Part B of EEOICPA. They will automatically be approved for wage loss and/or impairment under Part E. However, Section 5 uranium workers who were denied by DOJ and under Part B of EEOICPA can still file for benefits under Part E. The compensation provision under Part B for uranium workers will end on July 11, 2022.
There are a couple of bills before Congress to extend and expand RECA. The most comprehensive is House bill 5338 and the companion bill in the Senate, S-2798. If passed, these bills would extend the cut off date for uranium workers from 12/31/1970 to 12/31/1990 and extend the number of counties who experienced the downwind effect of the above ground nuclear tests.
To reach the DOJ RECA office:
Contact the DOJ RECA Program by telephone
Telephone: 1-800-729-RECP (1-800-729-7327)
Contact the RECA Program by U.S. Postal Service
U.S. Department of Justice
Radiation Exposure Compensation Program
P.O. Box 146
Ben Franklin Station
Washington, DC 20044-0146
Contact RECA by e-mail
To request a RECA claim form be mailed to you, visit this page.
For more information on DEEOIC’s role for Section 5 uranium workers or to file a claim under EEOICPA please contact your local Resource Center.
DEEOIC informed the group that they will begin in-person outreach meetings soon. They plan to hold these meetings in Oak Ridge, the Navaho Nation, and Savannah River Site later in the year. However, since there is a great turnout for the webinars, DEEOIC plans to continue hosting them. Next month’s webinar will be on the Department of Energy’s Former Worker Program followed by one on the role and responsibilities of the Resource Centers.