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Senate Bill Would Investigate Claims Labor Dept Delayed Compensation to Nuclear Workers via The Washington Free Beacon

Whistleblowers claim Labor Dept intentionally slowed compensation in hopes claimants would die

Senators have passed a bill that would launch a government investigation into allegations from whistleblowers that Labor Department officials intentionally wrote and manipulated regulations to delay and deny congressionally mandated compensation to nuclear-weapons workers.

The compensation program created by Congress is designed to benefit hundreds of thousands of the nuclear workers who suffered sicknesses—and in some cases died—as a result of their work building the nation’s Cold War arsenal.

[…]

The Senate last week passed a bill funding the Labor Department that would require the agency’s Office of Inspector General to conduct a “comprehensive review” of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program (EEOICP) to determine “the impact of policy changes in the past two years” on the workers applying for the funds, as well as whether the program is currently fulfilling its “statutory mission.”

The Appropriations Committee also expressed deep concern about the whistleblower’s allegations that Labor Department leadership under former Secretary Tom Perez ignored years of his complaints about the “open hostility” he said some administrators exhibited toward claimants, many of whom are too poor and sick to fight the agency’s denials and red tape in federal court.

[…]

Stephen Silbiger, the Labor Department whistleblower, said he is encouraged by the Senate action because no one at the agency or in Congress has reached out to him to investigate his concerns.

Silbiger said new top officials at the Labor department appointed by President Trump have yet to reach out to him or inquire about the charges at all. Additionally, his substantive work at the Labor Department has dried up since the article appeared, which he said was retaliatory action for his decision to take his complaints to the media.

“The Trump administration has not asked me anything about this and have not responded to complaints that I’m now not getting any substantive work,” he told the Free Beacon in an interview Tuesday. “No one has talked to me about this—no one in the administration or Congress.”

[…]

Under the law, EEOICP qualified workers who were diagnosed with certain types of cancer or other diseases acquired from exposure to toxic substances at covered facilities, or their survivors, are entitled to between tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation to help pay medical bills and loss of wages due to their illnesses, with a cap of $400,000.

Read more at Senate Bill Would Investigate Claims Labor Dept Delayed Compensation to Nuclear Workers 

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