Saturday, April 3, 2010

Am I Qualified to File a RECA Claim?

I am frequently asked to determine whether or not a person is qualified to file a claim under the “Downwinder” portion of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Program. Just exactly what are the requirements for a “claimant” (the person for whom the claim is being filed)?   Given that the compensation available is $50,000, it is important to know and understand the qualifications.

First and foremost, the claimant must have lived or worked downwind of atmospheric nuclear tests in certain counties in Utah, Nevada, and Arizona for a period of at least two years during the period beginning on January 21, 1951, and ending on October 31, 1958, or, for the period beginning on June 30, 1962, and ending on July 31, 1962.

The counties covered in the State of Utah are Beaver, Garfield, Iron, Kane, Millard, Piute, San Juan, Sevier, Washington, and Wayne; in the State of Nevada, the counties of Eureka, Lander, Lincoln, Nye, White Pine, and that portion of Clark County that consists of townships 13 through 16 at ranges 63 through 71 (which does not include Las Vegas or any of the surrounding suburbs); and in the State of Arizona, the counties of Apache, Coconino, Gila, Navajo, Yavapai, and that part of Arizona that is north of the Grand Canyon in Mohave County. There are currently several bills pending in Congress that would add additional areas to the program, but at this time, there are the only areas that are covered.

The claimant must have also contracted one of the following specified diseases: 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.

You can file a claim on behalf of yourself if you meet these qualifications, or you can file a claim on behalf of a deceased family member if that family member would have qualified. There are several categories of claimants, other than a self-filer:

1. Spouse: A spouse can file on behalf of a deceased spouse, even if the living spouse has since remarried. To file on a spouse, you must have been married to him or her for at least one year prior to their death.

2. Parent: A child can file on behalf of a deceased parent if the there is no spouse living that would otherwise qualify to file a claim. You must share the compensation with an living sisters or brothers that you may have, including step-siblings who lived in the same household as the deceased parent.

3. Child: A parent can file on behalf of a deceased child. If both parents of the child are still living, they are entitled to share the compensation equally.

4. Grandparent: A grandchild can file on behalf of a deceased grandparent, but only if there is no living spouse, and no living children of the grandparent. All grandchildren share the compensation equally.   A Grandparent may also file on behalf of a deceased grandchild if there is no parent living that is qualified to file a claim.

Feel free to call me at (928) 776-2457, or my assistant, Margaret, at (928) 636-5363 to find out more about the qualifications of the program.

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