An ombudsman is a person who communicates between the general public and a public authority. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) had created two ombudsman offices to help people who want to work with the DOL and the people who administer the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA).
The Office of the Ombudsman has three main responsibilities:
- To provide information to people who want to file claims about the benefits available under the EEOICPA. They also answer questions about the requirements and procedures for these benefits.
- Recommend ideal locations where the Secretary of Labor can establish Resource Centers to accept and help with the submission of claims.
- To submit an annual report to Congress by February 15th of each year. This information outlines the number and types of complaints, grievances, and requests for help that the ombudsman has received. It also assesses the most common difficulties that people who want to file claims have experienced during the year.
Malcom Nelson, DOL Ombudsman
Toll-free: (877) 662-8363
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is responsible for conducting dose reconstruction. This is the process that calculates the probability that an EEOICPA cancer was caused by exposure to radiation and toxic substances at a nuclear weapons facility. NIOSH also has an advisory board that rules on new Special Exposure Cohort (SEC) petitions
The responsibilities of the NIOSH Ombudsman include:
- Educating people who file claims, advocates, and the general public to help them better understand EEOICPA.
- Working with all agencies involved in the claims process. These include NIOSH, DOL, DOE and the DOL resource centers.
- Conducting workshops so advocates, petitioners, claimants and the general public stay up-to-date on EEOICPA legislation.
- Helping people filing claims with the appeal process in response to DOL decisions.
- Reviewing entire case files, including the initial DOL file and medical records.
- Contacting the appropriate agencies to help whenever necessary. The NIOSH Ombudsman has direct contact with the DOL Ombudsman, the DOL District Directors and the DOL National Office.
- Helping former U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) workers when they request free medical screenings.
- Working with the DOL on Part B issues. These may include chronic beryllium disease (CBD) and illnesses in addition to cancers.
Denise Brock, NIOSH Ombudsman
Toll-free: (888) 272-7430
Both the DOL Ombudsman and the NIOSH Ombudsman have extensive experience working with the EEOICPA process. They have direct contact with the people in government agencies involved with the claims process and welcome any questions you have.