Workers at the Nevada Test Site and other nuclear facilities in Nevada may be entitled to compensation from the federal government if they developed illness from exposure to radiation or hazardous substances at their jobs. The Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program (the “Program”) began on July 31, 2001 and seeks to provide monetary relief to workers employed by the federal government or subcontractors at a qualifying location where radiation and hazardous substances were used. To date, the Department of Labor has paid $10.6 billion to 95,037 claimants nationwide. In Nevada, the covered locations are as follows: Nevada Test Site, Project Faultless Nuclear Explosion Site, Project Shoal Nuclear Explosion Site, Tonopah Test Range, and the Yucca Mountain Characterization Project. Approximately $500 million has been paid in claims associated with the Nevada Test Site, making it the site with the most claims in the state. The Program has two parts—Part B and Part E. The qualifications for each part are described below.
Part B –Nuclear and Beryllium
Under Part B, claimants are eligible for $150,000 (flat fee) plus reimbursement for medical expenses from the date a claim is filed. In order to qualify for a Part B claim, a worker must have been employed by the Department of Energy (DOE) or its subcontracors and the worker must have developed cancer after working at a covered facility. Furthermore, the cancer must be at least likely as not likely to have been caused by working at the facility. In addition, employees who were exposed to Berylium and who developed Chronic Beryllium Disease (lung scarring due to inhaling beryllium) are eligible. Lastly, workers who spent at least 250 days mining at Nevada’s underground facilities are eligible if they develop chronic silicosis (lung scarring from inhaling silica dust). If the employee is no longer alive, his or her survivors can also make a claim.
Part E—All Toxins
Under Part E, claimants are eligible for up to $250,000 (variable depending on circumstances) plus reimbursement for medical expenses from the date the claim is filed. In order to qualify for a Part E claim, a worker must have been employed by the DOE or its subcontractors and the worker must have worked at a covered facility and developed illness due to exposure to a toxic substance. A toxic substance is not just radiation but also chemicals, solvents, acids and metals. The compensation is variable and is made up of two parts: wage loss and impairment. Wage loss is the amount that the employee was not able to earn because he or she was sick, up to a maximum of $15,000 per year of wage loss. Impairment is compensation for the decrease in function of a body part, up to $250,000 for whole body impairment. If the employee is no longer alive, his or her survivors can also make a claim.
Making a Claim
You can find information on making a claim here. There are also federal resource centers nationwide that can assist you with your application. One resource center is located in Las Vegas, Nevada. The address is Flamingo Executive Park, 1050 East Flamingo Road, Suite W-156, Las Vegas, NV 89119. The phone number is 702-697-0841 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. However, if you wish to have the assistance of an attorney, please contact our office at 702-333-1111 or by email at email@example.com so we can help you get the maximum amount of compensation.