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Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim for My Loved One If They Passed Away From an Illness Covered under the EEOICPA/RECA?FAQ

Through the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program (EEOICPA) and the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) survivors of eligible beneficiaries may be entitled to recover financial compensation through an EEOICPA claim or a RECA claim. As these are complicated cases, many people have questions over when exactly they can apply for these death benefits.  

At United Energy Workers Healthcare and Four Corners Health Care, we are a family-based company that is proud to provide the best home healthcare services to beneficiaries of EEOICPA and RECA. Unfortunately, we know that many workers who have developed occupational illnesses that are covered by these federal programs have passed away. Here, we explain the most important things you need to know about survivor benefits that are available through EEOICPA/RECA.

Survivor Benefits May Be Available Through EEOICPA/RECA

The EEOICPA and RECA provide survivor benefits to applicants who meet certain eligibility criteria. Notably, there are actually three different paths to recovering benefits through these federal programs. This is because the EEOICPA contains two different sections: Part B and Part E. It is possible to make a survivor claim under both of these sections of the law. However, there are some significant differences between the two.

Survivor Benefits: Part B of the EEOICPA

Under Part B of the EEOICPA, the survivors of a qualified worker — which can include the spouse, children, or even grandchildren — may be entitled to death benefits. Under this section of the EEOICPA, compensation is offered because the worker developed cancer. Technically, it is not necessary to prove that the cancer in question was the cause of the death of the worker. In addition, the survivors are not required to be legal dependents of the worker. In other words, survivors who bring a Part B claim are being paid because their loved one, the worker, had cancer. Part B offers up to $150,000 in survivor benefits. These benefits may be split by multiple parties.

Survivor Benefits: Part E of the EEOICPA

In contrast to Part B, under Part E of the EEOICPA, survivors must prove that the illness and condition in question actually contributed to the worker’s death. In this way, Part E is similar to a workers’ compensation program. In addition to that requirement, applicants for survivor benefits under Part E must also establish they are a dependent. For spouses, proving status as a ‘dependent’ is usually relatively straightforward. Proving a marriage at the relevant dates is generally sufficient. Though, children must prove that they were a legal dependent when the worker passed away. Otherwise survivor benefits under Part E of the EEOICPA may be denied. As an example, unfortunately, an adult child is typically not eligible to recover survivor benefits through Part E of the EEOICPA.  

Survivor Benefits: RECA

Under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA), survivor benefits may also be available to qualified applicants. This federal statute provides financial benefits to uranium millers and miners, employees who contributed to nuclear weapons tests, and non-employee individuals who lived downwind of certain nuclear testing sites. RECA offers one-time lump sum benefits to all qualified parties. If a person is deceased, that benefit can be paid directly to their survivors. Spouses take precedence, followed by children, then parents and grandchildren.

What You Need to Know About the Claims Process

EEOICPA and RECA are both complex federal statutes. Under these programs, there are a number of different procedural requirements that must be met. To be approved, an EEOICPA or RECA claim must always be backed by strong, carefully organized supporting evidence. Among other things, a survivor must be able to prove that the deceased worker qualifies for the program, and that they are actually related. For example, a spouse will generally be able to produce a marriage certificate. If you are applying for survivor benefits and you have any questions or concerns about your legal rights or your eligibility, it is strongly recommended that you seek professional legal guidance from a qualified attorney.

Find Out How Our Healthcare Professionals Can Help

At United Energy Workers Healthcare and Four Corners Health Care, we are proud to offer no-cost home healthcare services to the beneficiaries of EEOICPA/RECA. If you or your elderly loved one needs assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our home healthcare professionals today. Our team is here to answer your questions or to help put you in contact with someone will be able to do so. We look forward to helping you in any way that we can.

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In order to be eligible for EEOICPA/RECA benefits, an individual must have been employed at a covered Department of Energy facility, an approved atomic weapons facility, or at a permitted beryllium vendor. An individual must also have one of the covered conditions as a result of exposure to radiation, beryllium, or silica while employed at an accepted facility. In addition, uranium miners, millers, and ore transporters are eligible for benefits if they develop an illness as a result of exposure to toxic substances (such as radiation, chemicals, solvents, acids, and metals) and worked at a facility covered under RECA. Eligibility requirements vary by location and condition.