The energy workers compensation program has helped tens of thousands of sick workers along with their survivors largely. It has paid out more than twelve billion USD in compensation and health care since the year 2000. The compensation has been for the illness ranging from lung diseases to cancer.
However, the advocates who had helped the claimants have been of the opinion that it has often been a struggle to seek approval and several have been unable to manage it. Several problems could also continue afterward, as people have started to seek the medical care they have actually been promised.
The program has been run by the Department of Labor. Their Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation revealed that it has been following the rules and noted that the program was not intended to compensate the entire ex-workers who had fallen ill. Nonetheless, the approvals have been relatively higher than what was initially expected by the division.
What issues were highlighted by the report?
Find below the major issues highlighted by the report.
- Difficult to find information
The Labor Department would issue the bulletins, documents, and circulars that would explain the various aspects of the program and dictate the policy. People who have relied on the information in a single document had later discovered that their claim has been impacted by a relevant discussion of the same issue that has been found in another document. It was specifically frustrating that the document they relied upon on had made no mention of the other one.
The program has been relatively clear in writing that scientific studies have been about the effects of the substance on the animals that could prove helpful in a majority of cases. However, the stipulation was that specific chemicals were used in the production of nuclear weapons that were unique and exotic. Moreover, there were no broad-based studies of any health effects existing.
- Lacking adequate assistance
Several claimants have told the office that no one at the agency took the pains to explain them about looking at the online database of exposure information by various facilities along with the job to help them pull together the necessary evidence they require. The program has been using information that could be difficult to understand.
- Post-approval problems
There have been instances where people with approved claims had troubles with their medical care such as Labor Department billing issues. The doctors also refused to provide continued services as they believed the program needed unnecessary paperwork.