Monday, May 25, 2009

DOL Pays $400 Million in Benefits to Colorado Residents under EEOICPA

The U.S. Department of Labor announced on May 11 that it has paid more than $400 million to compensate Coloradans sickened by working in the atomic weapons industry under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA).

The act was created to help those individuals who suffered cancer and other illnesses caused by exposure to toxic substances. Survivors of such individuals may also be eligible for benefits.

The department said that the money went to 5,042 Colorado claimants under the EEOICPA.The department also said Coloradans had filed 8,713 cases under the act, but about 15% were ineligible for benefits. There are still 929 cases awaiting a final decision.

The act covers several facilities in Colorado including Rocky Flats, the Rulison Nuclear Explosion Site, and the Rio Blanco nuclear explosion site.

"It is our goal to compensate eligible claimants as quickly as possible. This milestone further demonstrates that we are working hard to achieve our goal," said Rachel P. Leiton, director of the department's Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation. "We have compensated many deserving individuals from the state of Colorado. But we also believe there may be other Coloradans who have not yet filed for these benefits."

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