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As the son of a downwinder, the issue of radiation exposure and compensation for federal government-sponsored nuclear weapons testing is very important to Congressman Matheson. Please look through this online resource for more information about currently available compensation and feel free to call the Utah office if you have any questions or concerns.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  How do I apply for compensation under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA, P.L. 101-426)?

If you are the claimant or the beneficiary, you must submit a completed form and any supporting documentation to the RECA Program at the following address:

            P.O. Box 146
            Ben Franklin Station
            Washington, D.C.  20044-0146

Claim forms may be requested directly from the RECA Program by calling 1-800-729-7327.

Q: What are the other federal radiation exposure compensation programs?

Veterans’ Dioxin/Radiation Exposure Compensation Standards Act (P.L. 98-542)
Radiation-Exposed Veterans’ Compensation Act (REVCA, P.L. 100-321).
Veterans exposed to radiation have special priority for enrollment for health-care services. These veterans are also eligible to participate in the Veterans Administration's (VA) Ionizing Radiation Registry and to request a complete physical and all necessary tests. Veterans can get information on filing a claim for monthly disability compensation by calling the Veterans Administration Radiation Help Line at (800) 827-1000.

Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000 (P.L.106-398, Title XXXVI) DOE employees, contractors and subcontractors, beryllium workers, and atomic weapons workers, who suffer from beryllium disease, chronic silicosis, bone cancer, or one of the 21 cancers covered under RECA are eligible for a lump sum payment of $150,000 and payment of future medical expenses.  People already receiving compensation under RECA or a VA radiation compensation program cannot receive payments under this Act.  However, uranium miners who have received a $100,000 RECA payment are eligible for another $50,000 lump sum payment and payment of future medical expenses.  The Department of Labor began accepting claims for compensation under this program on July 31, 2001.   Additional information is available from the Department of Energy or by calling the DOE’s Office of Worker Advocacy at (877) 447-9756.  You can also check with the Department of Labor or call the DOL's Energy Employees Compensation Information Help Line at (866) 888-3322.

Q: What are the categories of eligible claimants under RECA?

Downwinders:  You must have resided in designated counties in Utah, Nevada and Arizona for at least two years from January 21, 1951 to October 31, 1958 or June 30, 1962 to July 31, 1962.

Uranium Mill Workers:  You must have been employed for one year in a uranium mill located in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Wyoming, South Dakota, Washington, Utah, Idaho, North Dakota, Oregon, and/or Texas at any time between January 1, 1942 and December 31, 1971.

Uranium Miners:  You must have been employed for at least one year in aboveground or underground uranium mines located in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Wyoming, South Dakota, Washington, Utah, Idaho, North Dakota, Oregon, and Texas at any time during the period beginning on January 1, 1942, and ending on December 31, 1971.  Additional mining states may be included for compensation upon application.

Ore Transporters:  You must have been employed in the transport of uranium ore or vanadium-uranium ore for at least one year from mines or mills located in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Wyoming, South Dakota, Washington, Utah, Idaho, North Dakota, Oregon, and Texas at any time during the period beginning on January 1, 1942, and ending on December 31, 1971.

Onsite Participants:  You must have been present "onsite" above or within the official boundaries of the Nevada, Pacific, Trinity, or South Atlantic Test Sites at any time during atmospheric nuclear testing and must have "participated" in the atmospheric detonation of a nuclear device.

Q:  What are the specified compensable diseases for each of the categories under RECA?

    * Downwinders and onsite test participants: leukemia (other than chronic lymphocytic leukemia), multiple myeloma, lymphomas (other than Hodgkin's disease), and primary cancer of the thyroid, male or female breast, esophagus, stomach, pharynx, small intestine, pancreas, bile ducts, gall bladder, salivary gland, urinary bladder, brain, colon, ovary, or liver (except if cirrhosis or hepatitis B is indicated), or lung.
    * Uranium Millers and Ore Transporters: primary lung cancer, certain nonmalignant respiratory diseases, renal cancer, and other chronic renal disease including nephritis and kidney tubal tissue injury.

    * Uranium Miners: primary lung cancer and certain non-malignant respiratory diseases.

Q:  What the “designated affected areas” for Utah downwinders?

Beaver, Garfield, Iron, Kane, Millard, Piute, San Juan, Sevier, Washington, and Wayne counties.

Q:  As a downwinder, what kinds of records can I use to establish physical presence?

  • Tax, land, property, voting or any other records of a governmental office
  • School records or other records of educational institutions
  • Employment, business, or Social Security records
  • Original envelopes, personal diaries
  • Church or religious records
  • Telephone directories or records of state or local libraries or historical societies

Q:  For Millers and Ore Transporters, what kinds of records can I use to prove milling and ore transporting employment?

  • Mill and trucking employer records
  • Records from the Social Security Administration
  • Federal or state income tax records
  • Records of state regulatory agencies
  • Records of benefits (such as records from the state workers compensation board)
  • Medical records created between 1942 and 1971 indicating or identifying the claimant’s employer and occupation
  • Records of academic or scholarly study, not conducted in anticipation of or in connection with any litigation, and complete prior to 1990
  • Any other contemporaneous record that identifies the claimant’s occupation or employer.

Q:  What are the payment amounts for claimants or beneficiaries under RECA?

  • The payment for a downwinder is $50,000
  • The payment for an on-site Participant is $75,000
  • The payment for a uranium miner, mill worker or an ore transporters is $100,000