Senator Murray Helps Launch Investigation into Compensation Program for Ill Hanford Workers

Nov 19 2008

As new Administration prepares to take office, Murray and colleagues ask for GAO investigation into compensation delays and requirements

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chairman of the Senate HELP Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety, announced that she is calling for a Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigation into problems in implementation of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA) of 2000.  EEOICPA is the federal program responsible for compensating Hanford and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) workers and their families who have been become ill as a result of radiation or chemical exposure.  Senator Murray joined a bi-partisan group of U.S. Senators and Congressman in requesting the investigation. GAO is moving forward with their request.

“For too long, sick Hanford workers have had to struggle to get the compensation they deserve,” said Senator Murray. “Whether they have been forced to wait for years, have had critical information ignored, or have been wrongly denied compensation, Hanford workers have had to fight a system designed to help them.”

The GAO investigation that Senator Murray and her colleagues have called for will look into delays in claim processing times, the cost of claims processing, concerns in decision making on claims and the ability of government agencies to provide access to data and assistance for claimants.

“This investigation will provide us with the information we need to fix a broken system,” Murray said. “I look forward to working with the new administration to get EEOICPA working for claimants again.”

GAO hopes to have preliminary conclusions for members of Congress by next spring.  More information on the topics that GAO will investigate.