A number of workers in South Carolina are engaged in a lengthy process of receiving compensation for their work at nuclear sites in the area.
Workers from nuclear site have waited years or died before claims were paid out
Many workers from the defunct Savannah River Site have been filing claims to get compensation for radiation related illnesses, but the process has become extremely disorganized and problematic. Some workers from an atomic weapons plant ultimately ended up dying before they could receive compensation and benefits. This mostly happened because the Department of Energy would not issue a final approval for funds to be released until years after an initial claim. Some of the workers compensation claims would be denied outright, even if it was clear that the employee in question had met all requirements and suffered a bona fide work related injury.
Some of the workers who participated in the claims process were interviewed by the same news source in 2002. When they were contacted for a follow up over a decade later, some of them had still not been paid, or were gridlocked in various stages of waiting for responses. Others who had chronic illnesses of the lungs and respiratory system had died in the years between. While the families can still get payments on the deceased person’s behalf even after death, it often takes years in most cases, and medical and funeral expenses have already been paid out of the family’s own money. In total, approximately 2000 of the Savannah River Site workers have spent at least 5 years navigating the process and trying to get paid. For perspective, there are approximately 1400 site workers who have already died from work related injuries and exposure to radiation, and just over 600 claims have been completely processed and paid out.
There are some troubling examples of the inadequacy of the system. One crane operator who worked at the site received ten claim denials between 2001 and 2015. He had been diagnosed with multiple types of skin cancer and brain cancer. Another worker who was exposed to asbestos from pipe fittings waited 13 years before his claim was completed and the money was paid out.
An attorney who represents local clients in the Carolinas released a statement that the system in place is simply not working.
Speak with a workers compensation attorney for help
People who have an injury or serious illness that can be traced directly to their occupation are entitled to workers compensation and other benefits.
A firm that assists workers with these kinds of claims in Greenville and the upstate region is available to assist you. For more info, contact:
870 Cleveland St., Suite 2D-A, Greenville, SC 29601