[Excerpt] July 31, 2011, marked the 10th anniversary of the Department of Labor’s administration of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA). In those ten years, more than 88,000 claims were filed, which has resulted in more than $7 billion in compensation and medical benefits paid. In fact, just in FY11 alone, more than $1 billion was paid in compensation and medical benefits.
While numerous claims have been paid and one clearly sees progress in many aspects of the claims process, individuals continue to contact the Office of the Ombudsman for the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program (the Office) with complaints, grievances and requests for assistance. As in previous years, the complaints received by the Office reflect every aspect of the EEOICPA claims process, and come from a wide array of sources, claimants, potential claimants, family members, authorized representatives, congressional staff members, physicians, health care providers, and others. Moreover, as we mark the 10th anniversary of the DOL’s administration of the program, we continue to receive complaints and grievances raising novel issues.
Section 7385s-15(e) of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA) provides that the Office shall submit to Congress an annual report that sets forth:
The number and types of complaints, grievances, and requests for assistance received by the Office during the preceding year, and An assessment of the most common difficulties encountered by claimants and potential claimants during the preceding year.
This report is the fulfillment of that mandate. In this report we not only set forth the numbers and types of complaints, grievances, and requests for assistance received during the year, we also endeavor to provide the reader o why, in spite of the vast amounts of monies paid to date, the Office continues to ceive complaints, grievances, and requests for assistance related to the EEOICPA.