Are You Eligible For RECA Benefits? Find Out Here

Did you know exposure to high-energy radiation destroys DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and causes diseases like cancer? Experts and officials in the United States understand that well. That is why they instituted the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA). RECA compensates people who contract the following diseases from radiation exposure: silicosis, primary lung cancer, pulmonary fibrosis, pneumoconiosis, and cor pulmonale caused by lung fibrosis. The victims covered by RECA include:

1.       Uranium miners

Uranium miners facilitate the extraction of Uranium ore close to the surface by digging it out of open pits. The process involves stripping away the rock and topsoil covering the uranium ore. However, if it's deep underground, they use mines and underground tunnels to reach and remove it. Miners can be exposed to several potential carcinogens, including radon and mining dust. If you were a uranium miner and contracted any of the diseases mentioned above from your job, you may be eligible for a one-time lump sum payment of $100,000. The same applies to millers and ore transporters.

2.       Ore transporters

Experts transport uranium oxide concentrate or yellowcake to conversion plants from mining sites. They do that using standard open head steel drums loaded into shipping containers. The cargo then undergoes sea, road, or rail transportation, depending on the mining company's preference. Although technicians incorporate numerous measures to protect transporters from radiation, including prevention of criticality, sometimes issues like broken drums and road accidents undermine their efforts. When that happens, and the ore transporters become ill, they may receive Radiation Exposure Compensation Acts benefits.

3.       Downwinders

Downwinders are individuals and communities living downhill of a nuclear reactor or test site, places with higher risks of exposure to radiation leaks and fallouts. To qualify for downwinders' claim, you must be a victim of a compensable disease like multiple myeloma, primary cancer of the small intestine, primary stomach cancer, lymphomas, and primary ovary cancer. You may be eligible for a one-time, $50,000 compensation. But note that, under current law, the only downwinders that qualify for RECA benefits are those present in any of the designated counties in Utah, Arizona, and Nevada during the atmospheric testing periods at the Nevada Test Site (NTS).

4.       Onsite nuclear-test participants

Most onsite nuclear test claimants are associated with the Department of Defense (DoD) contractors or components, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), and the Department of Energy (DOE). If you are an eligible DoD claimant or surviving beneficiary, prepare to fill out a form asking you about the claimant's name, military service number, social security number, participation site, and date of onsite assignment, among others. If your claim relates to other entities, including the DOE and AEC, you may have to submit all the information listed above only without the military-related details. Look into a center like the National Cancer Benefits Center for more information.