Sessions will focus on uranium miner benefits

Meetings planned at Shiprock Chapter house on Thursday

Noel Lyn Smith
U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., right, talks on Oct. 2, 2015, with Gilbert Dayzie, a civil engineer with the Shiprock Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Program, while touring a former uranium mine in the Red Valley Chapter in Arizona.
  • A recent annual report shows several former workers aren't aware they are eligible for compensation.
  • The first session will take place at 10 a.m. Thursday, while the second one follows at 2 p.m.
  • Information presented at the meeting will be translated into Navajo.

FARMINGTON — Former uranium mine workers and survivors of workers who are seeking information about federal programs to address health and compensation can receive free information during two sessions on Thursday.

Tim Lerew, chairman for the Cold War Patriots, said the town hall meeting is designed to help people understand the benefits provided in the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act and the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act. and connect eligible individuals with available resources.

Cold War Patriots is part of Professional Case Management, an in-home health care services provider, and is a community resource organization that provides information, advocacy and recognition to nuclear weapons workers and uranium miners, millers and haulers.

A press release from the organization cites a recent annual report that indicated several former workers are not aware of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act, which was enacted by Congress in October 2000.

The program compensates current or former employees, as well as their survivors, who were diagnosed with certain forms of cancers and other diseases as a result of exposure to radiation, beryllium or silica at the work site, according to the U.S. Department of Labor website.

Lerew said an overview of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act will be provided since people who have experienced several illnesses have become eligible for coverage, including those caused by exposure to dust, diesel fumes and carbon dioxide. Additionally, benefits such as medical and home care are addressed.

Two sessions will be held on Thursday at the Shiprock Chapter house, with the first at 10 a.m., followed by a second session at 2 p.m.

The information presented during the meeting will be translated into the Navajo language, and representatives from the U.S. Department of Labor's resource center will be on hand to assist with claims or help people access benefits, Lerew said.

For more information, contact Cold War Patriots at 888-903-8989.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636.