If you worked in one of the country’s atomic weapons programs during the Cold War, you may have developed a serious illness because of it. Even if you didn’t work with atomic weapons directly, you may have lost a family member to premature death due to his or her exposure to harmful substances. In June 2001, the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA) was created to provide funds to injured workers and their families. Those who may qualify for benefits include employees, contractors and subcontractors at any Department of Energy (DOE) job site or people who worked for an atomic weapons employer. Survivors of deceased employees are also eligible.

Under the second section of EEOICPA, workers who developed cancer as the result of radiation exposure or those with silicosis or beryllium disease can also apply for benefits. If eligible, affected employees would receive a one-time payment of $150,000 in addition to payment of all medical expenses. If you were exposed to uranium on the job and got sick because of it, you may be eligible for an additional $50,000.

Eligibility for benefits

There was an amendment made in 2004 to improve benefits and expand eligibility for the program. After the amendment, surviving family members included the employee’s spouse, children under age 18 or adult children under age 23 who are full-time students. Mentally and physically handicapped adult children who depended on the deceased employee’s income are also eligible for benefits.

Nager, Romaine and Schneiberg Co., LPA is a personal injury law firm located in Cleveland that can help you if you are having trouble collecting your EEOICPA benefits. Even though you are entitled to them by law, you may have been denied due to a paperwork error or another minor problem. You were there when our country needed you, so we think it is only right that you get your benefits without any additional hassle from the government.