By Frank Lewis
The all-volunteer Division of Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation (DEEOIC) Interim Advisory Board (DIAB) is inviting people to have filed Part E claims with the government to come to an Ohio Town Hall Meeting June 20, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 577 Hall, located at 1236 Gallia St., in Portsmouth.
“The program is divided into two parts,” Portsmouth Attorney Franklin T. Gerlach said. “Part B, which is basically cancers, and the other big program is called Part E, which is everything else that happens to you other the cancers and Berylliym claims.”
The Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program (EEOICP) began on July 31, 2001 with the Department of Labor’s implementation of Part B; Part E implementation began on Oct. 28, 2004. The mission of the program is to provide lump-sum compensation and health benefits to eligible Department of Energy nuclear weapons workers (including employees, former employees, contractors and subcontractors) and lump-sum compensation to certain survivors if the worker is deceased. When you apply for either Part B and/or Part E they will collect medical, employment, and other information from you and make a decision about whether or not you qualify for compensation and benefits.
“This group (EEOIC) wants to talk to the various people that are claimants or want to be claimants and find out what has been going on that they are upset about concerning the handling of their claim, or if they have questions,” Gerlach said. “They’re doing this nationally. They just finished up one about a month ago and they’ve got others that will be scheduled. What they do is assemble this information, then forward it to the Department of Labor and the president, saying, these are certain areas that need to be looked into or where some improvements can be made, or there’s a big question about this part of the program. The purpose is to give feedback to the Department of Labor.”
Gerlach said the Part B Board (NIOSH) is a paid board, and while the Part E Board is all volunteer, there is legislation proposed to create Part E as a paid group. The procedure closely resembles the process of quality control.
“There have been several studies that say, yes, the government should create this,” Gerlach said. “It’s like an oversight of the people handling the claims procedure.”
People attending the June 20 meeting will be given the opportunity to tell their stories and explain their circumstances to members of the board. No reservation is required.
Gerlach said the maximum cash that can be paid to Part B claimants is $150,000, while the maximum for Part E is $250,000. The maximum for claimants under both Part B and Part E is $400,000.
More information is available at www.DIABoard.org or by calling 970-620-5279.
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 252, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.