The Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program (EEOICP) was established 15 years ago to provide medical and disability benefits for workers who were employed, or still work, at nuclear weapons production facilities.
Five former workers, one current worker and two family members of deceased employees of the Hanford nuclear site in Washington State recently told KING 5 (video below) that they've only experienced delays and denials from the EEOICP.
The workers' illnesses include: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) kidney failure, cancer and brain damage.
Doctors employed by private contractors that were hired by the U.S. Department of Labor have claimed that working at the Hanford site was not a "significant factor in causing, contributing to, or aggravating" their illnesses, even though there were untold amounts of radioactive toxins and chemicals at the site.
However, there's no oversight of the doctors who recommend the denials, nor do these doctors ever actually examine the workers whom they deny benefits to, according to 2010 audit by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
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The U.S. Department of Labor told King 5 that the third-party doctors, who deny benefits, are employed "to help claimants who may not initially be able to meet their burden of proof."
That "help" includes delays of up to seven years, which means some workers will die before they ever get any actual medical or disability benefits.
"It’s very difficult in my opinion for the worker to pass that denial threshold," said Dr. Brian Campbell, a neuropsychologist in Spokane. "[The government] can outwait, outlast, and outspend any of the workers that I’ve seen."
These denials of benefits sound similar to U.S. veterans who have been denied medical claims and care.
According Breitbart.com, Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) announced last month that some Veteran’s Administration (VA) disability employees filed federal whistleblower complaints about the VA in Oakland, Calif.
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The whistleblowers claim that the Oakland VA would "reap bonuses [known as Payout Savings Incentive] by posting savings to the government and taxpayers [by] denying these claims and these payments.”
However, it's not clear if the U.S. Department of Labor employees or the third-party doctors get bonuses for denials.