DOL: Causation Presumption Might Speed Benefits for Ex-Nuclear Weapons Lab Workers

Former workers at a Columbus, Ohio nuclear weapons plant operated by Battelle Laboratories may get a leg up in collecting compensation and medical benefits for illnesses caused by their employment, the U.S. Department of Labor announced today.

The DOL said that these workers would qualify for a “causation expansion” simplifying the process of applying for benefits if they are included in a designated Special Exposure Cohort class of employees, and have a diagnosis of one of 22 specified cancers.

A presumption of causation can simplify the process for nuclear weapons workers applying for compensation under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act, the DOL said.

Qualifying employees must have worked at least 250 days total, either solely under this employment, or in combination with workdays within the parameters established for one or more classes of employees included in the Special Exposure Cohort.

The work must have taken place at the Battelle Lab’s King Avenue site in Columbus, Ohio, from July 1, 1956 to Dec. 31, 1970.

The EEOICPA provides compensation and medical benefits to employees whose work in the nuclear weapons industry made them ill. Survivors of qualified workers may also be entitled to benefits. To date, the U.S. Department of Labor has paid $10.9 million in EEOICPA compensation and medical benefits to 99 King Avenue Battelle Laboratories claimants, and more than $12.3 billion in compensation and benefits nationwide.

Here’s today’s DOL announcement in full.

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