|For Immediate Release||July 24, 2001|
|Media Contact:||Bill Taylor (803) 725-2889|
Aiken SC (July 24) -- A resource center where nuclear weapons workers can go for help to file claims for compensation under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act will begin operations with an opening ceremony at 11 a.m., Friday, July 27. The Energy Employees Compensation Center at 1708 Bunting Drive, North Augusta, SC, is sponsored jointly by the U.S. Departments of Labor and Energy.
One of 10 opening throughout the country this month, the Energy Employee Compensation Center will help energy workers or their families file for compensation from the federal government.
"Today is a major step forward in America's commitment to the well-being of our nuclear industry workers and their families," said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "It is a tragedy that more was not done to care for these injured workers sooner. But I'm proud that this resource center is now opening so we can start processing claims as quickly as possible. These workers are American heroes, and they deserve to be treated as such."
"I join Secretary Chao in supporting these centers that will help the workers who played a very important role in this country's defense mission," said Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham. "The resource centers are a visible sign of our commitment to put words into action, and will help our workers get benefits as quickly as possible." Energy workers and their survivors can also use the resource center to process the necessary forms needed to apply for compensation program benefits that may be available through the state workers' compensation program.
Those interested in the program are requested to call (803) 279-2728 to schedule an appointment. The North Augusta Energy Employees Compensation Center hours of operation will be from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The center's toll free number is (866) 666-4606.
Under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Act passed last year, the Labor Department has responsibility to administer compensation and medical benefits to current and former contractor employees with specific types of illnesses caused by their work. The Energy Department, which jointly funds the Compensation Centers, will help workers file state workers' compensation claims at or near Energy Department sites.
More information about the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Act is available on line at www.dol.gov or by calling, toll-free, 1-866-888-3322.