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Thread: For Former Department of Energy or defense workers

  1. #1
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    For Former Department of Energy or defense workers

    During the Cold War and the years thereafter, many workers for the Atomic Energy Commission, Department of Energy, and various contractors had occupational exposure to radiation or toxic chemicals through uranium mining, ore transport or processing, manufacture of weapons grade nuclear materials, weapon manufacture and testing. Later, as these sites were known to be hazardous, many other workers were exposed in the process of cleaning the sites up.

    For those of you not already aware, there is a government program administered through the Department of Labor that provides compensation for those whose potential exposure may have caused, or been a factor in causing, certain types of cancer and other chronic or terminal diseases. The benefit is also available for survivors of workers who may have succumbed to those diseases.

    When I was diagnosed with Follicular Lymphoma in 2010, I applied for the benefits but was denied. However, there have been changes in the way the program is administered, in that certain groups of workers who were employed at several DOE facilities during certain time periods, who have certain listed cancers, and who worked at the facility for 250 days or more, are automatically, considered to have contracted their disease as a result of occupational exposure.

    I got a phone call from the Department of Labor last month, with the news that my cased had been reopened due to new information about my case and because the facility I worked at was now considered one of those where you automatically qualify for benefits if you meet the listed requirements.

    As a result, it looks like I'll be receiving a settlement from the Department of Labor.

    For those who qualify, the benefit is fairly substantial: $150,000 cash, tax free. The DOL will also reimburse you for any out-of-pocket medical expenses you paid related to your cancer or treatment, from the time you applied. Finally, the DOL will pick up all future medical expenses related to your cancer - no copay, no deductible.

    If you think you might qualify, I highly recommend checking this website: https://www.dol.gov/owcp/energy/
    DX - 5/2010 Grade 1, Stage 4 fNHL - w/spleen and 47% bone marrow involvement
    TX - 6/2010-12/2010: SWOG S0801- R-CHOP + Bexxar + Rituxan (4 yrs/quarterly)
    Restaged (post Bexxar) - PCR-Neg/NED :2/2011
    Rituxan maintenance ended 3/2015
    12/2016: Remission continues (>5 years) Down to one checkup/year!

  2. #2
    Administrator Top User Kermica's Avatar
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    This is great news for those who qualify, Defens, thanks for bringing it forward. Now, if only we could get the VA to presumptuously approve the thousands of Americans who served in Southeast Asia outside of Vietnam during that war and were exposed to Agent Orange as a result.

    I would be interested in whether there was new legislation associated with the changes at DoL. If there was, it would also be of interest to know who the sponsors were. Again, congratulations to you and anyone else who is accruing this benefit, it is as it should be. I have made the thread a Sticky so it doesn't sink out of site.

    Good health,

    kermica
    Last edited by Kermica; 07-10-2016 at 11:16 PM.
    When the world says, "Give up," Hope whispers, "Try it one more time."
    ~Author Unknown

    Age 66
    Follicular lymphoma diagnosed August 08, Stage 1
    2 cycles (20 treatments each) localized radiation to tumor sites. Remission confirmed July 09
    Restaged to Stage 3 May 2010
    Recurrence confirmed May 2010 - Watch and Wait commenced - multiple scans with minimal progression.
    Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma diagnosed September 2012. Mohs surgical excision 09/2012. Successful, clean edges all around.
    Significant progression detected in PET scan - December 2012
    Biopsy to check for transformation 1/18/2013 - negative for that but full of lymphoma, of course.
    July 2013 - Rescan due to progression shows one tumor (among many) very suspect for transformation, another biopsy 8/12/13.
    August 2013 - No evidence of transformation, 6 courses of B+R commence 8/29 due to "extensive, systemic disease".
    February 2014 - Diagnostic PET scan states: Negative PET scan. Previous noted hypermetabolic cervical, axillary, iliac and inguinal lymphadenopathy has resolved. Doctor confirms full remission.
    June 2014 - started 2 year maintenance Rituxan, 1 infusion every 3 months. Doctor confirms lump under right arm are "suspicious" for recurrent disease, deferring scans for now.
    February 2015 - Doc and I agreed to stop R maintenance as it is depressing my immune system too much.
    June 2015 - Confirm that the beast is back by physical exam, will scan in August after esophageal issues settle down so we can get a clear view.
    August 2015 - physical exam in error, PET/CT shows no evidence of disease. Remission continues well into second year!
    December 2015 - Cardiologist tells me I have plaque buildup growing at an alarming rate. Stent or bypass down the road but not yet...
    March 2016 - new tumor below the jaw so remission is over. Back to active surveillance until treatment is needed.
    June 2016 - C/T scan indicates presence of multiple lesions in iliac chain.
    August 2016 - PET/CT shows multiple areas of lymphoma as expected plus new areas of concern in bowel.
    January 2017 - C/T scan shows significant progression in cervical and inguinal lymph chains, largest tumor is impacting hearing, measures 2.1x4.6 cm. 4 to 8 cycles of R-CVP, 1x3weeks to commence 2/6/17.
    April 2017 - Mid treatment scan shows about 1/3 reduction in multiple tumors. Also shows abdominal aortic aneurysm with peripheral thrombus. Cardiologist changed meds, spoke of need for surgical repair down the road.

  3. #3
    Senior User
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    Kermica, the law that established this program also included a process by which a group of people could petition to have additional facilities and/or time periods added to the list of "Special Exposure Cohorts." Over the years since the law was passed, several of these petitions have been submitted and approved. The SEC that was added which included my employment was approved in 2012.

    As they add SECs, they go back to review prior denied applications and evaluate whether they should be reopened. That's why I was contacted. I had worked at a DOE site that was added to the program, AND they found additional evidence of my employment there.
    DX - 5/2010 Grade 1, Stage 4 fNHL - w/spleen and 47% bone marrow involvement
    TX - 6/2010-12/2010: SWOG S0801- R-CHOP + Bexxar + Rituxan (4 yrs/quarterly)
    Restaged (post Bexxar) - PCR-Neg/NED :2/2011
    Rituxan maintenance ended 3/2015
    12/2016: Remission continues (>5 years) Down to one checkup/year!

 

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