What Are Resource Centers and How Do I Find One?
]In 2001, the Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation (DEEOIC) established eleven resource centers across the nation to address the needs of workers and their families applying for benefits under The Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA).
Resource Center Locations
The Resource Centers were created primarily to help claimants complete necessary paperwork for filing an EEOICPA claim. Because there are only eleven sites, all of the resource centers can be reached both in person and over the phone, enabling them to provide services to claimants who are outside of their geographical area. However, claimants should generally attempt to contact the resource center that is closest to their most recent place of employment. The resource centers, each of which serving a different general geographical area, are located near a major nuclear weapons facilities located in the following areas:
- Dublin, California;
- Westminster, Colorado;
- Idaho Falls, Idaho;
- Paducah, Kentucky;
- Espanola, New Mexico;
- Las Vegas, Nevada;
- Amherst, New York;
- Portsmouth, Ohio;
- North Augusta, South Carolina;
- Richland, Washington; and
- Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
Filing a Claim at a Resource Center
One of the Resource Center’s most important tasks is assisting nuclear plant workers’ file claims. This not only requires help with obtaining the appropriate forms and filling them out correctly, but the facilities are also able to assist in retrieving supporting documentation, such as claimant employment records, medical records, and exposure records.
Obtaining evidence of employment can be difficult, especially if the exposure occurred many decades before the claimant filed. However, any of the following evidences of employment may be able to help:
- Pay stubs;
- Tax returns;
- Social Security records;
- Written affidavits; and
- Other employment records.
Employees at these resource centers can be instrumental in helping claimants track down the documentation necessary to filing a successful claim. However, claimants are also required to provide medical evidence of their disease or illness. The employees at a local resource center may be able to lend a helping hand in obtaining the appropriate records, including:
- Physician reports documenting a physical examination of a patient;
- Reports documenting laboratory test results;
- Hospital records;
- Biopsy and pathology reports;
- X-ray, MRI, and CAT scan results; and
- Death certificates.
Certain diseases may require claimants to present evidence of specific tests before the federal government will approve a claim. The employees at these resource centers are well-versed in the various types of proof that can or must be submitted with an EEOICPA claim in order to help further along the workers’ claims.
Aside from providing information and assistance to those going through the claims process, Resource Center employees can also address the following issues:
- Medical travel reimbursement requests;
- Home modification requests;
- Requests for home health care;
- General questions and information about the program;
- Transmit documents to the relevant DEEOIC district office;
- Help claimants find legal or medical specialists; and
- Conduct outreach and education to help notify the public about the requirements and benefits of the EEOICPA by reaching out to unions, local senior centers, health care providers, community groups, contractors, and workers employed in Department of Energy (DOE) facilities.
Contact a Local Resource Center Today
The EEOICPA resource centers play an important role in giving many workers who are qualified to receive benefits but do not have access to the information required to file a claim. If you were a nuclear power worker and incurred illness or disease due to your employment, take the opportunity to receive compensation for your losses by contacting a resource center near you.
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In order to be eligible for EEOICPA/RECA benefits, an individual must have been employed at a covered Department of Energy facility, an approved atomic weapons facility, or at a permitted beryllium vendor. An individual must also have one of the covered conditions as a result of exposure to radiation, beryllium, or silica while employed at an accepted facility. In addition, uranium miners, millers, and ore transporters are eligible for benefits if they develop an illness as a result of exposure to toxic substances (such as radiation, chemicals, solvents, acids, and metals) and worked at a facility covered under RECA. Eligibility requirements vary by location and condition.