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Former INL and Argonne West Workers Received $596 Million in Benefits — More May Be Eligible

Published online: Jun 03, 2024 Articles
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Protections for workers at sites like Idaho National Laboratory and Argonne West weren’t always top-notch, leading to illnesses tied to radiation exposure. In 2001, Congress established the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA) to compensate energy workers with medical conditions linked to their time at U.S. Department of Energy sites.

“There were safety concerns at many facilities, including Idaho National Laboratory and Argonne West, which were not fully understood at the time,” said Jaden Hunsaker, Benefit Advisor with United Energy Workers Healthcare (UEW) based in Idaho Falls.

Workers diagnosed with radiogenic cancer, chronic beryllium disease, or chronic silicosis are eligible for benefits, as well as those with conditions from exposure to toxic chemicals. Benefits include monetary compensation and fully-funded medical care, covering doctor’s appointments, medications, medical equipment, and home health care.

Since the EEOICPA’s inception, more than 140,000 people have filed for benefits, with over $24 billion paid out. For Idaho National Laboratory and Argonne West workers alone, numerous claims have led to substantial compensation and benefits totaling over $596 million as of May 27, 2024, according to the Department of Labor.

Benefits are available for those who worked at the site for at least a year. Part B of the EEOICPA covers radiogenic cancers, chronic beryllium disease, or silicosis with a maximum lump sum compensation of $150,000 plus medical benefits. Part E offers benefits if a condition is proven to be caused by exposure to toxic substances at a DOE facility. It includes wage loss up to $250,000 and for survivors, a maximum of $125,000.

United Energy Workers Healthcare (UEW), a DOL-approved in-home care provider, will host an exclusive event for the Idaho National Laboratory and Argonne West community. UEW has been providing benefits guidance and expert in-home care to atomic energy workers for over a decade. The event will take place on Friday, June 21, 2024, at the Holiday Inn & Suites Idaho Falls (Ballroom) at 3005 S Fork Blvd., Idaho Falls, ID 83402. Attendees can enjoy a complimentary catered lunch at 11:00 AM followed by an educational session at 11:30 AM.

“Understanding your eligibility and benefits under EEOICPA is crucial,” said Anette Hunt, Benefit Advisor with United Energy Workers Healthcare. “We are here to help you navigate the process and get the support you need.”

Special guest speaker Jason Jones, a well-known attorney and seasoned EEOICPA Claim Representative who has helped over 10,000 claimants, will provide insights and answer questions. Discover your eligibility for no-cost medical benefits, understand potential compensation up to $400,000, and learn how to optimize your benefits if you're a DOL White Card holder.

The event will also feature numerous vendors who provide services and support to EEOICPA beneficiaries, offering attendees a chance to explore a variety of resources.

For more information and to confirm your attendance, please call Jaden Hunsaker or Anette Hunt, both based in Idaho Falls, at 208-904-9340 or RSVP online at https://forms.office.com/r/mQ8jV9M281. Don’t miss this opportunity to explore the benefits you deserve and network with peers from the Idaho National Laboratory and Argonne West community.

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