The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act
Last updated 10/11/2020 at Noon | View PDF
In this column I would like to address a benefit that you might qualify for that is not a Department of Veterans benefit. This is a benefit that is provided through the Department of Justice (DOJ) and has been around since 1990. However, many possible claimants are unaware of it.
There is a lot of information regarding this program - too much for this column - so I am only going to highlight parts of it. You can follow this link for more information: https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R43956.pdf. Please be aware that this program is currently set to expire in 2022.
The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) is a possible payment available to the following groups:
• Onsite participants - $75,000 to persons who participated in the atmospheric test of an atomic weapon and developed one of the cancers that is listed at the above link.
• Downwinders - $50,000 to persons who were present in one of the specified areas near the Nevada Test Site during a period of atmospheric atomic weapons testing and developed one of the cancers listed in the provided link.
• Uranium miners, millers and ore transporters - $100,000 to persons who worked in mining, milling or transportation of uranium between 1942 and 1971, and developed one of the diseases listed in the provided link.
The application process for this program is provided through the Department of Justice's Civil Division, which can be reached at the following phone number, the Department of Justice's Main Switchboard: (202) 514-2000. The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) statute does require that claimants submit "written documentation" of their illnesses to qualify for benefits, and there are specific documents that need to be provided per the RECA regulations. For further information, please contact the DOJ.
I would also like to mention that if you apply for this benefit and are approved, you can still apply for benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). However, you will not be able to receive monetary benefits for this disability from the VA until the amount granted via the RECA has been fully paid out to you.
Ken Cruickshank, the Veterans Services Officer for Tulare County, is a retired Navy Master Chief Petty Officer. Contact him at the Veterans Services Office at 3348 W. Mineral King Ave., Visalia; by phone at (559) 713-2880; or by email at KCruicks@tularehhsa.org.