Higgins Announces Win for Hooker Chemical Workers; Invites Former Employees & Their Families to U.S. Department of Labor Session in Niagara Falls
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced that the U.S. Department of Labor will host a resource session for former employees of Hooker Electrochemical Corporation to provide information on the newly designated Special Exposure Cohort and assist eligible parties with the filing of claims for compensation. On September 22, 2015 the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary designated that certain cases for compensation would be considered under a Special Exposure Cohort rather than the arduous “dose reconstruction” process previously required.
“In their service to this nation, Hooker Chemical workers have paid a significant price, costing lives and resulting in suffering for employees and their families,” said Congressman Higgins. “This new designation creates a much less burdensome application process for those seeking the compensation they deserve.”
The Special Exposure Cohort is extended to atomic weapons employees who worked at Hooker Chemical, for a minimum of 250 days, between July 1, 1944 and December 31, 1948 and were diagnosed with one of 22 specified cancers.
During the Cold War era, workers at Hooker Chemical and other facilities helped build the nuclear arsenal. Without adequate monitoring or protection, many were exposed to significant levels of radiation. Under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program qualifying employees whose claims are granted are entitled to $150,000 in compensation.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation division will be available to answer questions, assist with new claims and update existing claims on:
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
9:00AM – 12:00PM
1:30PM – 4:30PM
FourPoints by Sheraton Niagara Falls
7001 Buffalo Ave
Niagara Falls, NY
As of November 22, 2015, 608 claims have been filed by former employees or their families. To date only 35 claims have been approved. The previously required “dose reconstruction” process is especially difficult since many of the records necessary either never existed or are no longer available. This new designation will allow for the approval of many more claims.
Congressman Higgins has a long record of fighting for Atomic Workers. Working closely with former Bethlehem Steel employees, Higgins fought for Washington to listen to the former workers and at his request the Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health agreed to host a meeting in Western New York. After reviewing the evidence and hearing from local families the Board agreed to grant a Special Exposure Cohort for Bethlehem Steel, allowing local families to get the compensation they deserve. To date, former Bethlehem Steel workers have been awarded close to $234 million for compensation and medical expenses.
Constituents who can’t make the meeting and are in need of more information on eligibility criteria or the claims process can call Congressman Higgins’ office at: 716-852-3501.