oversight

Radiation Exposure Compensation: Funding to Pay Claims May Be Inadequate to Meet Projected Needs

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2003-04-10.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

             United States General Accounting Office

GAO          Report to Congressional Committees




April 2003
             RADIATION
             EXPOSURE
             COMPENSATION
             Funding to Pay Claims
             May Be Inadequate to
             Meet Projected Needs




GAO-03-481
                                               April 2003


                                               RADIATION EXPOSURE COMPENSATION

                                               Funding to Pay Claims May Be
Highlights of GAO-03-481, a report to
Congressional Committees                       Inadequate to Meet Projected Needs



On October 15, 1990, the Radiation             Since the enactment of the RECA Amendments of 2000, which expanded
Exposure Compensation Act                      eligibility for benefits, the RECA program has experienced a significant
(RECA) was enacted providing for               increase in the number of claims filed. Claims also are taking longer to
payments to individuals who                    process, and the number of pending claims has grown sharply. Since we last
contracted certain cancers and                 reported in September 2001, claims have increased from 7,819 to 14,987.
other serious diseases presumably
as a result of their exposure to
                                               Pending claims have increased 300 percent, from 653 to 2,654. About 3,200
radiation released during                      new claims are anticipated in fiscal year 2003. In addition, the average time
aboveground nuclear weapons                    to process claims increased for each category of claimant.
tests or as a result of their
employment associated with the                 Given these circumstances, current funding for the RECA program to pay
uranium mining industry during the             claims may be inadequate to meet projected needs. In fiscal year 2002, RECA
Cold War era.                                  was appropriated funds to cover a 10-year period—fiscal years 2002 through
                                               2011 up to a specified amount per year—totaling $655 million. The
The RECA Amendments of 2000                    Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Department of Justice (DOJ)
required that GAO report to the                estimate that funding levels appropriated to the Trust Fund are insufficient
Congress on the Department of                  to meet the projected claims. As a result, claims may be delayed, particularly
Justice’s administration of RECA
not later than 18 months after the
                                               through 2007. Since 1993, funding for DOJ administration of the program has
enactment of the amendments and                been provided in a separate appropriation account for Radiation Exposure
every 18 months thereafter. GAO                Compensation administrative expenses. For fiscal years 2001 and 2002, the
originally reported on the status of           RECA program may have exceeded its appropriation for administrative
the program in September 2001.                 expenses. According to a program budget official, the RECA program spent
The objectives of this report are to           about $100,000 in fiscal year 2001 and about $1 million for fiscal year 2002 in
update information on claims                   administrative expenses over the $1.996 million appropriated to the RECA
processing, payments from the                  expenses account in those fiscal years. For fiscal year 2003, Congress
Trust Fund, and administrative                 authorized DOJ’s Civil Division to absorb any additional funding required for
expenses.                                      administrative expenses above the amount appropriated. However, the
                                               availability of additional funds, if needed, for administrative expenses is
                                               contingent on the Civil Division’s ability to absorb any additional costs.

GAO recommends that the                        RECA Trust Fund Appropriations and CBO Estimates (Dollars in millions)
Attorney General consult with the               Appropriations and CBO Estimates (Dollars in millions)
congressional committees of
                                                200
jurisdiction to develop a strategy to
address the gap between current
funding levels and the amount of                150
funding needed to pay claims
projected to be approved over the               100
2003-2011 period.
                                                  50


                                                   0
                                                          2002        2003        2004         2005    2006     2007   2008   2009   2010         2011
www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-03-481.                                                                Fiscal Year
To view the full report, including the scope                 CBO estimated requirements                                               Shortfall
and methodology, click on the link above.
For more information, contact, Paul L. Jones                 Actual current appropriations                                            Surplus
at (202) 512-8777 or jonesp@gao.gov.
                                               Source: The Congressional Budget Office data.
Contents


Letter                                                                                    1
               Results in Brief                                                           2
               Background                                                                 3
               Since Fiscal Year 2000, RECA Claims Increased Significantly,
                  Processing Time Has Slowed, and the Number of Pending
                  Claims Has Grown                                                       7
               Funding to Pay Claims May Be Inadequate to Meet Projected Needs          12
               Spending on Program Administration Has Increased                         16
               Agency Comments                                                          19
               Conclusions                                                              19
               Recommendation                                                           19

Appendix I     Scope and Methodology                                                     22



Appendix II    Summary of Key Radiation Exposure Compensation
               Program Provisions by Claimant Category                                   23



Appendix III   RECP’s Claims Adjudication Process                                        26



Tables
               Table 1: Number of RECA Claims Approved, Denied, and Pending
                        through Fiscal Year 2002                                          9
               Table 2: Processing Time in Months for Approved and Denied
                        Claims for Fiscal Years 1992 through 2002                       10
               Table 3: Average Number of Days to Process a Claim for Fiscal
                        Years 1992 through 2002                                         11
               Table 4: Radiation Exposure Compensation Trust Fund Activity,
                        Fiscal Years 1992 through 2002                                  13
               Table 5: Appropriations to Radiation Exposure Compensation
                        Trust Fund, Fiscal Years 2002 through 2011                      14
               Table 6: CBO Estimate of the Funding Shortfall for the Radiation
                        Exposure Compensation Trust Fund for Fiscal Years 2002
                        through 2011                                                    14
               Table 7: DOJ Estimate of the Funding Shortfall for the Radiation
                        Exposure Compensation Trust Fund, Fiscal Years 2002
                        through 2011                                                    16



               Page i                            GAO-03-481 Radiation Exposure Compensation
          Table 8: Average Full-Time Equivalent Staff Levels and
                   Administrative Costs for Processing RECA Claims for
                   Fiscal Years 1992 through 2002                                                   17


Figures
          Figure 1: Map of RECA-Covered Areas                                                        5
          Figure 2: Number of RECA Claims Filed from Fiscal Years 1992
                   through 2002 and Fiscal Year 2003 Estimate                                        8
          Figure 3: Funding Shortfall between the Amount of Funding
                   Currently Appropriated to the Trust Fund and CBO’s
                   Estimate through Fiscal Year 2011                                                15




          Abbreviations

          CBO               Congressional Budget Office
          DOJ               Department of Justice
          FTE               full-time equivalent
          OPB&E             Office of Planning, Budget and Evaluation
          RECA              Radiation Exposure Compensation Act
          RECP              Radiation Exposure Compensation Program
          WLM               Working Level Months


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          Page ii                                    GAO-03-481 Radiation Exposure Compensation
United States General Accounting Office
Washington, DC 20548




                                   April 14, 2003

                                   Congressional Committees

                                   From 1945 through 1962, the United States conducted a series of
                                   aboveground atomic weapons tests as it built up its Cold War nuclear
                                   arsenal. Many people exposed to radiation resulting from the nuclear
                                   weapons development and testing program subsequently developed
                                   serious diseases, including various types of cancer. On October 15, 1990, in
                                   order to establish a procedure to make partial restitution to these victims
                                   for their suffering associated with the radiation exposure,1 the Radiation
                                   Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) was enacted.2 RECA provided that
                                   the Attorney General be responsible for processing and adjudicating
                                   claims under the act. The Department of Justice (DOJ) established the
                                   Radiation Exposure Compensation Program (RECP) within its Civil
                                   Division to administer its responsibilities under the act. RECP began
                                   processing claims in April 1992. RECA has been amended several times,3
                                   including on July 10, 2000, when the RECA Amendments of 2000 were
                                   enacted.4 The amendments of 2000 broadened the scope of eligibility for
                                   benefits coverage to include new victim categories and modified the
                                   criteria for determining eligibility for compensation.

                                   The 2000 amendments also included a mandate that we report to the
                                   Congress on DOJ’s administration of RECA not later than 18 months after
                                   the enactment of the amendments and every 18 months thereafter. Our
                                   first report was issued in September 2001 and covered program
                                   performance from 1992 through fiscal year 2000.5 For this report, we are
                                   updating (1) information on claims processing, (2) information on the


                                   1
                                    RECA recognizes that the amount of money paid does not completely compensate for the
                                   burdens placed upon such individuals.
                                   2
                                    P.L. 101-426, 104 Stat. 920 (1990).
                                   3
                                    Early amendments included November 1990 amendments (P.L. 101-510, 104 Stat. 1835,
                                   1837) that among other things expanded eligibility to include onsite participants and
                                   October 1992 amendments (P.L. 102-486, 106 Stat. 3131) that provided for the judicial
                                   review of denied claims.
                                   4
                                    P.L. 106-245, 114 Stat. 501 (2000).
                                   5
                                    U.S. General Accounting Office, Radiation Exposure Compensation: Analysis of
                                   Justice’s Program Administration, GAO-01-1043, (Washington, D.C: Sept. 17, 2001).



                                   Page 1                                    GAO-03-481 Radiation Exposure Compensation
                   costs to administer the program, and (3) the status of Trust Fund
                   expenditures.

                   To determine the outcomes of the claims adjudication process, including
                   the number of approved and denied claims, the timeliness of the claims
                   adjudication process, and the amount of money awarded, we obtained
                   RECA-related case information from DOJ’s Civil Division’s case histories
                   database for fiscal years 1992 through 2002. To determine the cost of
                   administering RECP, we obtained data from the Civil Division’s Office of
                   Planning, Budget and Evaluation (OPB&E) for the end of fiscal years
                   1992 through 2002. To determine the amount of expenditures from the
                   Trust Fund, we evaluated annual Trust Fund activity from fiscal years
                   1992 through 2002 provided by OPB&E. Appendix I provides details on our
                   scope and methodology.


                   The enactment of the RECA Amendments of 2000 was followed by a
Results in Brief   significant increase in the number of claims filed and processed. The
                   number of claims filed has increased 92 percent, from 7,819 through the
                   end of fiscal year 2000 to 14,987 through the end of fiscal year 2002. Claims
                   are taking longer to process, and the number of pending (in process)
                   claims has grown sharply since we last reported in September 200l. The
                   number of pending claims rose about 300 percent, from 653 at the end of
                   fiscal year 2000 to 2,654 by the end of fiscal year 2002. The percentage of
                   claims processed within 12 months has dropped from 89 percent at the
                   end of fiscal year 2000 to 79 percent by the end of fiscal year 2002.

                   The National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2002 provided
                   funding for the RECA Trust Fund to cover a 10-year period—fiscal years
                   2002 through 2011 up to a specified maximum amount per year. According
                   to DOJ officials, fiscal year 2002 funding was exhausted before the end of
                   the fiscal year, and funding is likely to be exhausted before the close of
                   fiscal year 2003. A total of $655 million is appropriated for fiscal years
                   2002 through 2011. However, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and
                   DOJ estimate that the funding levels will be insufficient to meet the
                   projected claims. The greatest anticipated shortfall, between $72 million
                   and $87 million, will occur over fiscal years 2003 through 2005. According
                   to a budget official, there has also been upward pressure on the costs to
                   administer the program in recent years. Since 1993, funding for DOJ to
                   administer the program has been provided in a separate appropriation
                   account for Radiation Exposure Compensation administrative expenses.
                   There is an outstanding issue with respect to the program’s administrative
                   expenses for fiscal years 2001 and 2002 in that spending may have


                   Page 2                              GAO-03-481 Radiation Exposure Compensation
             exceeded its appropriations for those years. The Antideficiency Act
             provides that an officer or employee of the U.S. government may not make
             or authorize an expenditure or obligation exceeding an amount available
             in an appropriation or fund, or enter into a contract or other obligation for
             payment of money before an appropriation is made. Total administrative
             expenses were $2.1 million for fiscal year 2001 and $3 million for fiscal
             year 2002, while the appropriation for Radiation Exposure Compensation
             administrative expenses was $1.996 million for each of those fiscal years.
             The Consolidated Appropriation Resolution of 2003,6 contained several
             changes to the program’s administrative expenses appropriation. For
             example, the language of the administrative expenses appropriation was
             changed from a specified amount of $1,996,000 to a specified minimum
             amount of “not less than $1,996,000.” Accompanying conference report
             language provides that the conferees expect the Civil Division to absorb
             any additional requirements for processing RECA claims from other
             resources available to the Civil Division.


             RECA established a procedure to make partial restitution to individuals
Background   who contracted serious diseases, such as certain types of cancers,
             presumably resulting from their exposure to radiation from aboveground
             nuclear tests or as a result of their employment in the uranium industry. In
             addition to creating eligibility criteria for compensation, RECA created a
             Trust Fund to pay claims. The Attorney General is responsible for
             reviewing applications to determine whether applicants qualify for
             compensation and establishing procedures for paying claims. To discharge
             these two responsibilities, the Attorney General has issued implementing
             regulations.7

             The regulations established RECP within DOJ’s Civil Division and charged
             it with administering claims adjudication and compensation under the act.
             To file for compensation, the claimant or eligible surviving beneficiary,
             either acting on his or her own behalf or represented by counsel, submits
             the appropriate claim forms along with corroborating documentation to
             RECP, whose claims examiners and legal staff review and adjudicate the
             claims. If the claim is approved, a letter is sent notifying the person of the
             approval and enclosing an “acceptance of payment” form for the claimant


             6
             P.L. 108-7, 117 Stat. 11 (2003).
             7
              DOJ implementing regulations for the RECA program are found at Part 79 of Title 28 Code
             of Federal Regulations (28 C.F.R. Part 79).




             Page 3                                   GAO-03-481 Radiation Exposure Compensation
to return to RECP. According to program officials, upon receipt of a
signed acceptance of payment form, DOJ authorizes the Treasury
Department to make payment from the Trust Fund. The RECA
Amendments of 2000 require that the Attorney General pay claims within
6 weeks of approval. If the victim is deceased, compensation may be
awarded to the victim’s eligible survivors (e.g., the victim’s spouse or
children). Appendix III shows RECP’s claims adjudication process,
including the procedures for refiling and administratively appealing denied
claims.

If a RECP claim does not satisfy the eligibility criteria, the claimant is
notified of the deficiency in writing. The claimant is allowed 60 days in
which to provide documentation correcting the deficiency. At the
expiration of the 60-day period, if the claim remains deficient, DOJ issues a
final denial decision explaining the reasons for the denial, and a copy is
sent to the claimant. Claimants may refile a claim with new information to
RECP up to two more times.

DOJ’s decision denying the claim may be appealed administratively to a
DOJ Appeals Officer, who can affirm or reverse the original decision or
remand the claim back to RECP for further action. Claimants who are
denied may also seek judicial review in a U.S. district court. Under DOJ
implementing regulations, claimants must first exhaust their
administrative remedies within DOJ prior to seeking judicial review.
Program officials said that from program inception in 1992 through
September 30, 2002, only eight claims denied by the RECP have been
brought to district court.

The RECA Amendments of 2000 broadened the scope of eligibility for
benefits coverage, including increasing the geographical areas covered,
allowing more individuals to qualify, and establishing a prompt payment
period. Figure 1 shows the affected areas under RECA.




Page 4                              GAO-03-481 Radiation Exposure Compensation
Figure 1: Map of RECA-Covered Areas




                        WA
                                                                         ND

                   OR
                                         ID                               SD
                                                      WY

                        NV

                                                 UT        CO




                                          AZ          NM

           Test
           site                                                             TX




                                                                    Downwind counties

                                                                    Uranium worker states


Source: Department of Justice, Civil Division.



                                                           Some of the major changes resulting from the amendments include

                                                           •    permitting eligible aboveground uranium mine employees, uranium mill
                                                                workers, and uranium ore transporters to qualify for compensation;
                                                           •    increasing the geographic areas included for eligibility and increasing
                                                                the time period considered for radiation exposure for uranium mine
                                                                employees;




                                                           Page 5                              GAO-03-481 Radiation Exposure Compensation
•   expanding the list of specified diseases that may qualify individuals for
    compensation to include other types of cancers and also noncancers;
•   decreasing the level of radiation exposure that is necessary to qualify
    for compensation for uranium mine employees;8
•   making certain medical documentation requirements are less stringent;
•   eliminating distinctions between smokers and nonsmokers pertaining
    to diseases such as lung cancer and nonmalignant respiratory diseases;
•   construing all reasonable doubts about the eligibility of a claimant in
    favor of the claimant;
•   allowing previously denied claimants to file up to three more times; and
•   requiring the Attorney General to ensure that a claim is paid within
    6 weeks of approval.

On November 2, 2002, the 21st Century Department of Justice
Appropriations Authorization Act9 was enacted. This law included several
provisions that further amended RECA. The amendments affect eligibility
criteria and revise claims adjudication procedures. These provisions were
enacted near the end of our review, and we did not assess their potential
impact on the program. Some of the major changes include

•   re-insertion of a Downwinder area that was inadvertently eliminated
    when RECA was amended in July 2000;
•   requiring that lung cancer must, like other compensable cancers, be
    “primary” (i.e., originate in the specified organ or tissue);
•   allowing uranium miners to qualify by meeting either the 40 Working
    Level Months (WLM) exposure standard or the 1-year duration of
    employment standard; and
•   striking the requirement that, in cases where the claimant is living, a
    claimant with lung cancer must submit the medical documentation
    required for proof of a “non-malignant respiratory disease.”
•   Appendix II provides a more comprehensive summary of the key
    provisions of RECA by claimant category.

In addition to RECP, other programs are authorized to provide
compensation to persons who have presumably become ill as a result of
working for the federal government in producing or testing nuclear


8
 The minimum radiation exposure level for uranium mine employees was reduced from a
range of 200 to 500 WLMs to 40 WLMs. A WLM is a measure of radiation exposure. WLMs
are calculated by multiplying the number of months an individual worked in a particular
mine by the radon level in the mine during the time of employment.
9
P.L. 107-273, 116 Stat. 1758 (2002).




Page 6                                    GAO-03-481 Radiation Exposure Compensation
                        weapons. For example, the Radiation-Exposed Veterans Compensation
                        Act of 198810 provides, in general, monthly compensation for specific
                        diseases to veterans who were present at certain atomic bomb exercises,
                        served at Hiroshima and Nagasaki during specific periods of the post
                        World War II occupation of Japan, or were prisoners of war in Japan. In
                        addition, Title XXXVI of the Floyd D. Spence National Defense
                        Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 200111 establishes the “Energy Employees
                        Occupational Illness Compensation Program” to compensate covered
                        employees or their survivors who contracted certain illnesses resulting
                        from exposure to certain ultra-hazardous materials during employment in
                        Department of Energy facilities that processed or produced radioactive
                        materials used in the production of atomic weapons. Certain uranium
                        employees who are eligible for compensation under RECA may also be
                        eligible for additional compensation and medical benefits under title
                        XXXVI. Specifically, uranium miners, uranium mill workers, and uranium
                        ore transporters, approved under Section 5 of RECA, are eligible to receive
                        under title XXXVI an additional $50,000 lump-sum payment plus medical
                        benefits.


                        The enactment of the RECA Amendments of 2000 was followed by a
Since Fiscal Year       significant increase in the number of claims. Although RECP received and
2000, RECA Claims       processed record numbers of claims in fiscal years 2001 and 2002, claims
                        are taking longer to process. In addition, the percentage of claims that are
Increased               adjudicated within 12 months has dropped, and the number of pending
Significantly,          claims has grown sharply.
Processing Time Has
Slowed, and the
Number of Pending
Claims Has Grown

RECA Claims Increased   Since its inception in April 1992 through the end of fiscal year 2002, RECP
Significantly           has received 14,987 claims for compensation. The total number of RECA
                        claims filed has increased 92 percent, from 7,819 at the end of fiscal year
                        2000 to 14,987 by the end of fiscal year 2002. In fiscal year 2001, the year


                        10
                         P.L. 100-321, 102 Stat. 485 (1988).
                        11
                         P.L. 106-398, 114 Stat. 1654 (2000).




                        Page 7                                  GAO-03-481 Radiation Exposure Compensation
                                                                   following the enactment of the RECA 2000 Amendments, RECP received
                                                                   over 3,800 claims—more claims than were filed in the prior 6 fiscal years
                                                                   combined. There were over 3,300 claims filed in fiscal year 2002. At the
                                                                   end of fiscal year 2002, there were 2,654 claims pending adjudication. In
                                                                   fiscal year 2003, about 3,200 new filings are anticipated. Figure 2 shows
                                                                   the number of claims filed each fiscal year.

Figure 2: Number of RECA Claims Filed from Fiscal Years 1992 through 2002 and Fiscal Year 2003 Estimate

Number of RECA claims filed

4,000                                                                                                                         3,822


3,500                                                                                                                                   3,345
                                                                                                                                                  3,200

3,000


2,500


2,000       1,898


1,500                      1,340
                                           1,207

1,000                                                        827                                                     837
                                                                               551
 500                                                                                        408   358    394


    0
            1992            1993            1994            1995               1996        1997   1998   1999        2000     2001      2002     2003a
            Fiscal year
Source: GAO's analysis of RECA claims data from DOJ's Civil DIvision's case histories database.
                                                                   a
                                                                   Estimate.




Numbers of Claims                                                  When RECP reviews a claim, the review process ends in one of two
Approved, Denied, and                                              possible outcomes—approval or denial of the claim. If approved, the claim
Pending                                                            is forwarded to Treasury for payment. If denied, applicants may refile their
                                                                   claims or pursue other avenues of appeal. Of the total
                                                                   14,987 claims filed, RECP reached a disposition on 12,333. The remaining
                                                                   2,654, or about 18 percent of claims, were pending, as of September 30,
                                                                   2002. Of the claims that were adjudicated, 7,915, or about 64 percent, were
                                                                   approved and 4,418, or about 36 percent, were denied. Excluding pending
                                                                   claims, RECP approved about 56 percent of the uranium mine employee
                                                                   claims, about 75 percent of the downwinder claims, about 34 percent of
                                                                   the onsite participant claims, about 82 percent of the uranium mill claims,




                                                                   Page 8                                      GAO-03-481 Radiation Exposure Compensation
                                                          and about 81 percent of the ore transporter claims. Table 1 shows the
                                                          number of claims approved, denied, and pending as of September 30, 2002.

Table 1: Number of RECA Claims Approved, Denied, and Pending through Fiscal Year 2002

                                                                             Category of claim
                                        Uranium mine                                 Onsite          Uranium mill      Ore transporter
                                           employees      Downwinders          participants           employees             employees        Total
 Approved                                       2,311           4,945                   465                  156                    38       7,915
 Denied                                         1,786           1,688                   901                   34                     9       4,418
 Pending                                          553           1,677                   247                  138                    39       2,654
 Total                                          4,650           8,310                 1,613                  328                   86       14,987
Source: DOJ’s Civil Division’s case histories database.

                                                          Note: Approved, denied, and pending data at the time of our review.


                                                          Through the end of fiscal year 2002, RECP approved about $530.5 million
                                                          to claimants.12 RECP approved $230.5 million to eligible individuals based
                                                          on uranium mine employee applications (or about 43 percent of the total);
                                                          $247.2 million based on Downwinder applications (or about 47 percent of
                                                          the total); $33.4 million based on onsite participant applications (or about
                                                          6 percent of the total); $15.6 million based on uranium miller participant
                                                          applications (or about 3 percent of the total); and $3.8 million based on ore
                                                          transporter participant applications (or about 1 percent of the total).


Claims Taking Longer                                      The RECA legislation requires that applications be processed within
to Process                                                1 year. However, the law permits applicants’ additional time to submit
                                                          more documentation to support their claims.13 About 89 percent of the
                                                          RECA applications were processed within 12 months over the period fiscal
                                                          years 1992 through 2000. By the end of fiscal year 2002, the percentage of
                                                          claims processed within 12 months was 79 percent. Table 2 shows the
                                                          processing times in months for applicants over the course of RECP. We
                                                          could not readily determine to what extent the 2,559 applications that
                                                          were not processed within 1 year were due entirely to the granting of
                                                          additional time.



                                                          12
                                                           In certain cases, awarded compensation may not actually be paid. For example, an
                                                          eligible individual may refuse to accept payment or the victim may pass away before the
                                                          money is disbursed and an eligible beneficiary cannot be located.
                                                          13
                                                           RECA Section 6 (d) (3) excludes this time from the 12-month period. Processing time
                                                          begins when a claim is received by RECP and ends at case disposition.




                                                          Page 9                                         GAO-03-481 Radiation Exposure Compensation
Table 2: Processing Time in Months for Approved and Denied Claims for Fiscal Years 1992 through 2002

                                                                                      Applicant type
                                                                                                                          Ore
                                                    Uranium mine                          Onsite Uranium mill      transporter            Percent
                                             a
 Processing time in months                             employees Downwinders        participants  employees         employees     Total   of total
 12 months or less                                          2,808      5,773               1,039         105                25    9,750       79.2
 13 months                                                    302        260                  78          18                 4      662        5.4
 14 months                                                    196        158                  45          14                 6      419        3.4
 15 months                                                    146        135                  46          10                 3      340        2.8
 16 months                                                    113         88                  26          10                 3      240        1.9
 17 months                                                     59         63                  20          12                 1      155        1.3
 18 to 24 months                                              318        126                  64          19                 5      532        4.3
 More than 24 months                                          148         19                  42           2                 0      211        1.7
 Subtotal over 12 months                                                                                                          2,559
 Total                                                     4,090           6,622            1,360            190           47    12,309       100
Source: DOJ’s Civil Division’s case histories database.
                                                           a
                                                            Appealed and pending cases have been excluded.


                                                           As shown in table 3, the average number of days to process a claim has
                                                           increased in each category since our previous review. According to data
                                                           provided by DOJ officials, for fiscal years 1992 through 2002, the overall
                                                           average processing time from the date an application is filed until its
                                                           disposition was 327 days for uranium miner employee claims. This is up
                                                           from 269 days when we last reported. The average processing time for
                                                           Downwinder claims is 244 days. This is up from 190 days when we last
                                                           reported. The average processing time for onsite participant claims is
                                                           263 days. This is up from 245 days when we last reported. Uranium mill
                                                           employee claims and ore transporter employee claims are new categories
                                                           since we last reported. However, each of these claimant categories, on
                                                           average, took well over a year to process, 459 days and 392 days,
                                                           respectively. Table 3 shows the average number of days to process a claim
                                                           for fiscal years 1992 through 2002 and the increase in processing time by
                                                           claimant category since we last reported.




                                                           Page 10                                     GAO-03-481 Radiation Exposure Compensation
Table 3: Average Number of Days to Process a Claim for Fiscal Years 1992 through
2002

                                           Applicant type
                         Uranium                           Uranium         Ore
                            mine                   Onsite      mill transporter
                       employees Downwinders participants employee    employee
    Average days to process claims
    End of fiscal year
                                                                  a           a
    2000                     269         190           245
    End of fiscal year
    2002                     327         244           263     459         392
                                                                  a           a
    Increase in days           58         54            18
Source: GAO’s analysis of information from DOJ’s Civil Division’s Case Histories Database.
a
Data not available.


RECP officials attributed the increase in average time required to process
claims to differing characteristics associated with each claim and the
different factors involved in the review and application of the RECA
legislation, as amended, for the five claims categories. RECP officials told
us that since the inception of the program, its policy has been to assist
claimants in any way that it can. For example, rather than denying a claim
for a lack of documentation, program officials said that they allow
claimants additional time to provide corroborating documentation. In
many cases, claimants in the uranium industry were employed as millers,
miners, and ore transporters over the course of their career. RECP
officials said that if a claimant filed a uranium miner claim, but could not
provide sufficient documentation to satisfy RECA’s uranium miner
requirements, RECP would work with the claimant to obtain additional
documentation in order to satisfy the uranium miller or transporter
requirements where appropriate.

RECP officials cited other reasons for delays in processing claims,
including RECP’s need, in certain cases, to gather medical records to
address RECA’s statutory requirements for certain compensable diseases.
RECP said that in these instances, staff would conduct additional research
on behalf of the claimant or allow the claimant more time to provide the
proof necessary to meet the eligibility criteria. In addition to the increase
in the volume of claims, program officials said that the adjudication of the
newly added claimant categories (uranium millers and ore transporters)
presented challenges in terms of deciding the types of employment
records that existed and which records should be required and, therefore,
required additional processing time in some instances. Similarly, RECP
had to determine the medical evidence that would be sufficient to



Page 11                                                       GAO-03-481 Radiation Exposure Compensation
                     establish proof of the new compensable diseases and illnesses added to
                     RECA.


Number of Pending    Since the amendments of 2000, RECA claims are coming in more rapidly,
Claims Is Growing    and the processing of these claims is taking longer. As a result, the number
                     of pending claims has grown sharply, from 653 at the end of fiscal year
                     2000 to 2,654 by the end of fiscal year 2002, about a 300-percent increase.
                     In fiscal year 2003, RECP program officials estimate that 3,185 new claims
                     will be filed. It is likely that the number of pending claims will grow
                     further. According to DOJ budget justification documents for fiscal year
                     2003, because the 2000 amendments eased eligibility requirements, many
                     of the claims submitted in 2002 were re-filings from previously denied
                     claimants. According to program officials, the resolution of refiled claims
                     is more straightforward. Therefore, these claims were processed first to
                     speed payments to deserving claimants. But, program officials anticipate
                     that the pace of claims processing will be slower in fiscal year 2003 than in
                     fiscal year 2002, because the adjudications of the remaining claims in
                     process will be more time-consuming and difficult.


                     RECA program funding is provided from two sources. The RECA Trust
Funding to Pay       Fund receives appropriated funds from which compensation is paid to
Claims May Be        eligible claimants. Funding for DOJ to administer the program is provided
                     in a separate appropriation account for radiation exposure compensation
Inadequate to Meet   administrative expenses. Table 4 shows the RECA Trust Fund activity
Projected Needs      from fiscal years 1992 through 2002, including the amounts appropriated
                     each year and the balance at the end of each fiscal year. Money remaining
                     in the Trust Fund at the end of any given fiscal year is generally carried
                     forward to the next fiscal year. The RECA Trust Fund received over
                     $200 million in the first 2 years of the program. Between fiscal years
                     1994 and 1996, the program was funded entirely by funds carried over
                     from prior year appropriations. Beginning in fiscal year 1997, Congress
                     resumed making annual appropriations to the RECA Trust Fund with the
                     exception of fiscal year 1999 when no funds were appropriated to the
                     Trust Fund. For fiscal year 2000, $11.6 million was available in the Trust
                     Fund. This amount included $8.4 million carried forward from the prior
                     year and a fiscal year 2000 appropriation of $3.2 million. For fiscal year
                     2001, $10.8 million was appropriated and $431,000 was carried over from
                     fiscal year 2000. Later, in fiscal year 2001, the RECA program received a
                     supplemental appropriation for “such sums as may be necessary” to pay
                     claims only through the end of that fiscal year. This resulted in payments



                     Page 12                             GAO-03-481 Radiation Exposure Compensation
                                                                    of $107.9 million for fiscal year 2001. Table 4 shows the Radiation
                                                                    Exposure Compensation Trust Fund Activity.

Table 4: Radiation Exposure Compensation Trust Fund Activity, Fiscal Years 1992 through 2002

 Dollars in thousands
                                                                                             Interest earned
                                     Carry forward                  Appropriated          from government                  Total                         Balance at end
 Fiscal year                       from prior year                         funds                   securities          available       Payments           of fiscal year
 1992                                            0                       $30,000                            0           $30,000          $22,454                 $7,546
 1993                                       $7,546                      $170,750                      $2,493           $180,789          $57,390               $123,399
 1994                                     $123,399                             0                      $2,300           $125,699          $60,651                $65,048
 1995                                      $65,048                             0                      $1,365            $66,413          $31,242                $35,171
 1996                                      $35,171                             0                        $464            $35,635          $21,133                $14,502
 1997                                      $14,502                       $30,000                        $332            $44,834          $15,882                $28,952
 1998                                      $28,952                        $4,381                            0           $33,333          $12,339                $20,994
 1999                                      $20,994                             0                        $259            $21,253          $12,822                 $8,431
 2000                                       $8,431                        $3,200                            0           $11,631          $11,200                   $431
                                                                                a
 2001                                         $431                     $107,483                             0          $107,914         $107,914                       0
 2002                                            0                      $172,000                            0          $172,000         $171,551                   $449
Source: DOJ’s Civil Division’s Office of Planning, Budget and Evaluation.
                                                                    a
                                                                    Consists of an initial appropriation of $10.8 million and supplemental funding of $96.683 million.


Funds Appropriated to the                                           The National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 200214 provided
RECA Trust Fund for the                                             funding for the RECA Trust Fund to cover a 10-year period—fiscal years
Next 10 Fiscal Years                                                2002 through 2011 up to a specified maximum amount per fiscal year. In
                                                                    past years, Congress appropriated money each fiscal year. This act,
                                                                    instead, provided specified amounts for subsequent fiscal years
                                                                    2002 through 2011, obviating the need for new congressional action in
                                                                    each of those fiscal years unless the Congress determined that additional
                                                                    funding was necessary. Table 5 shows the Trust Fund appropriations
                                                                    established in law.




                                                                    14
                                                                        P.L. 107-107, 115 Stat. 1012 (2001).




                                                                    Page 13                                         GAO-03-481 Radiation Exposure Compensation
Table 5: Appropriations to Radiation Exposure Compensation Trust Fund, Fiscal Years 2002 through 2011

 Dollars in millions
                                                                    Appropriations (fiscal year)
 2002                      2003             2004               2005          2006          2007           2008         2009          2010           2011        Total
 $172                      $143             $107                $65           $47           $29            $29          $23           $23            $17        $655
Source: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002.


Funds Appropriated for                                             According to estimates by CBO and RECA program officials, beginning in
Fiscal Years 2003 through                                          fiscal year 2003, higher funding levels will be necessary or millions of
2011 May Be Inadequate                                             dollars in claims may be delayed. As shown in table 6, CBO estimates that
                                                                   there will be a shortfall of $101 million in the Trust Fund through fiscal
                                                                   year 2007, of which about $44 million will occur in fiscal year 2003.
                                                                   Overall, CBO estimates a net shortage of $78 million through 2011.
                                                                   Table 7 shows the RECA program estimate, which is similar to, but slightly
                                                                   higher than CBO’s estimate. Overall, RECA estimates a shortage of
                                                                   $107 million through 2011. Both organizations agree that most of the
                                                                   funding shortfall will occur over the next 3 years.

Table 6: CBO Estimate of the Funding Shortfall for the Radiation Exposure Compensation Trust Fund for Fiscal Years 2002
through 2011

 Dollars in millions
                                                                                       CBO estimates by fiscal year
                                                      2002
 Fiscal year                                       (actual)         2003       2004      2005      2006       2007      2008      2009       2010     2011       Total
 Estimated requirement                                $172          $187       $128       $87       $56        $34       $26       $24        $10       $9       $733
 Current appropriations                               $172          $143       $107       $65       $47        $29       $29       $23        $23      $17       $655
 Shortfall amount                                        0           $44        $21       $22        $9         $5       -$3        $1       -$13      -$8        $78
Source: The Congressional Budget Office.

                                                                   Notes: CBO estimates there will be additional unfunded requirements after fiscal year 2011 and
                                                                   beyond that are not mentioned here. While the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year
                                                                   2002 provided funding through fiscal year 2011, Section 3(d) of the RECA statute, as amended,
                                                                   provides that the Trust Fund is to terminate in fiscal year 2022.

                                                                   According to CBO, in the absence of new legislative language, CBO’s estimates should be
                                                                   considered preliminary. Final CBO estimates would reflect actual legislative language and CBO’s
                                                                   then current baseline assumptions.


                                                                   Figure 3 shows the gap between the amount of funding currently
                                                                   appropriated to the Trust Fund and CBO’s estimate through fiscal year
                                                                   2011.




                                                                   Page 14                                        GAO-03-481 Radiation Exposure Compensation
Figure 3: Funding Shortfall between the Amount of Funding Currently Appropriated to the Trust Fund and CBO’s Estimate
through Fiscal Year 2011

RECA Trust Fund appropriations and CBO estimates (dollars in millions)
200




150




100




  50




   0
       2002               2003                 2004          2005             2006             2007   2008         2009        2010         2011
       Fiscal year


                                                                    CBO estimated requirements

                                                                    Actual current appropriations

                                                                    Range of shortfall

                                                                    Range of surplus

Source: GAO analysis of Congressional Budget Office data.



                                                            RECP officials’ estimates through fiscal year 2011 are similar to, but
                                                            slightly higher than, that of CBO’s. According to program officials, recent
                                                            trends indicate that projected claims will total about $762 million for fiscal
                                                            years 2002 through 2011. This would exceed the current total of annual
                                                            Trust Fund appropriations by a total of about $107 million and CBO’s
                                                            overall estimate by $29 million. DOJ’s estimate agrees with that of CBO, in
                                                            that most of the funding shortfall, about $72 million, will occur over the
                                                            next 3 years. According to RECP officials, a shortfall of funding available
                                                            in the Trust Fund in any given year can result in the claims going unpaid
                                                            until funds become available the following year. For example, RECA
                                                            officials said that in fiscal year 2002, funding was exhausted 3 weeks
                                                            before the close of the fiscal year, and based on the shortfalls projected,
                                                            funding is likely to be exhausted before the close of fiscal years
                                                            2003 through 2005. Table 7 shows RECP’s estimate of unfunded




                                                            Page 15                                   GAO-03-481 Radiation Exposure Compensation
                                                          requirements for Radiation Exposure Compensation compared with the
                                                          current Trust Fund appropriations as established in law.15

Table 7: DOJ Estimate of the Funding Shortfall for the Radiation Exposure Compensation Trust Fund, Fiscal Years 2002
through 2011

 Dollars in millions
                                                                       DOJ estimates by fiscal year
 Fiscal year                         2002        2003   2004        2005    2006      2007       2008       2009       2010      2011       Total
 Estimated
 requirement                         $172        $176   $135         $76                             $203                                   $762
 Current
 appropriation                       $172        $143   $107         $65      $47       $29        $29       $23        $23        $17      $655
 Shortfall amount                       0         $33    $28         $11                              $35                                   $107
Source: Department of Justice, Civil Division.




                                                          RECP officials told us that in addition to the significant increase in the
Spending on Program                                       number of claims submitted, RECP received an unprecedented number of
Administration Has                                        telephone and written inquiries for forms and information, a development
                                                          that has further stretched the program’s operational resources. According
Increased                                                 to a budget official, this has led to upward pressure on the overall costs to
                                                          administer the program. In an effort to keep up with the demand, program
                                                          officials began adding additional staff in fiscal year 2000. Table 8, shows
                                                          that RECP’s full-time equivalent (FTE) staff levels and spending on
                                                          program administration have increased in fiscal years 2001 and
                                                          2002 commensurate with a resurgence of claims.




                                                          15
                                                           Table 7 assumes RECA program resources consistent with the President’s fiscal year 2004
                                                          budget request.




                                                          Page 16                                  GAO-03-481 Radiation Exposure Compensation
Table 8: Average Full-Time Equivalent Staff Levels and Administrative Costs for Processing RECA Claims for Fiscal Years
1992 through 2002

 Dollars in millions
                                                                                                                Fiscal year
                                                                       1992a          1993    1994    1995   1996 1997 1998        1999    2000    2001     2002
 Total administrative costs                                             $1.0           $2.1    $2.0   $1.5   $1.5   $1.2    $1.1    $1.1    $1.3    $2.1     $3.0
 Government FTE staff                                                    7.6           13.8   15.4    11.8   11.2   11.8    10.9    10.4    11.1    17.6     20.3
 Contractor FTE staff                                                      0              0       0      0      0       0      0       0   <1.0     10.0     19.0
 Contractor portion of costs                                               0              0       0      0      0       0      0       0   <$.1      $.5     $1.0
Source: Information provided by the DOJ’s Office of Program, Budget and Evaluation.
                                                                 a
                                                                  Because RECP was implemented in April 1992, the government FTE staff levels and administrative
                                                                 costs for fiscal year 1992 only reflect the April 1992 to September 30, 1993, time frame.


Administrative Expenses                                          Since fiscal year 1993, funding for DOJ administration of the program has
May Have Exceeded Its                                            been provided in a separate appropriation account for Radiation Exposure
Appropriations for Fiscal                                        Compensation administrative expenses. The administrative expense
                                                                 appropriation for the program was $1.996 million each for fiscal years
Years 2001 and 2002                                              2001 and 2002.

                                                                 There is an outstanding issue with respect to the program’s administrative
                                                                 expenses for fiscal years 2001 and 2002 in that spending may have
                                                                 exceeded its appropriations for those years. The Antideficiency Act
                                                                 provides that an officer or employee of the U.S. government may not make
                                                                 or authorize an expenditure or obligation exceeding an amount available
                                                                 in an appropriation or fund, or enter into a contract or other obligation for
                                                                 payment of money before an appropriation is made.16

                                                                 It is our understanding, on the basis of information provided to us during
                                                                 our review, that total administrative expenses were $2.1 million for fiscal
                                                                 year 2001 and $3 million for fiscal year 2002, while the appropriation for
                                                                 Radiation Exposure Compensation administrative expenses was
                                                                 $1.996 million for each of those fiscal years. Regarding fiscal year 2001, it
                                                                 is our understanding that following an increase in the number of RECA
                                                                 claims filed, around July 2001, the increase in spending arose from a task
                                                                 order that was issued for $1 million to hire contract staff during fiscal
                                                                 years 2001 and 2002. These expenses were paid with funds from DOJ’s
                                                                 Legal Activities, Salaries and Expenses, General Legal Activities account.
                                                                 The additional staff was reportedly used to assist in processing claims.



                                                                 16
                                                                     31 U.S.C. 1341(a)(1).




                                                                 Page 17                                          GAO-03-481 Radiation Exposure Compensation
According to DOJ, an investigation has been initiated to ascertain if
possible Antideficiency Act violations occurred with respect to the
Radiation Exposure Compensation administrative expenses account.

Whenever an agency discovers evidence of a possible over obligation or
over expenditure, it must investigate that evidence. If the investigation
shows that the appropriation, in fact, is over obligated or over expended,
the Antideficiency Act requires reporting the over obligation or over
expenditure to the President and the Congress. OMB guidance on budget
execution, including requirements contained in the Antideficiency Act, is
included in OMB Circular A-11, Part 4 which requires, among other things,
that agencies include in such reports the primary reason for the violation,
a statement of any circumstances the agency believes to be extenuating, a
statement of the adequacy of the agency’s funds control system, and a
statement of whether any additional action need be taken to prevent
recurrence of the same type of violation. Given that DOJ has initiated an
investigation, we will monitor DOJ’s investigation of possible
Antideficiency Act violations in fiscal years 2001 and 2002 relating to the
Radiation Exposure Compensation administrative expenses account and
take appropriate actions, if necessary, at the conclusion of DOJ’s
investigation.

Fiscal year 2003 appropriations contained several changes to the
program’s administrative expenses appropriation. First, the Consolidated
Appropriations Resolution, 2003,17 appropriated funds for the program’s
administrative expenses in DOJ’s Legal Activities, Salaries and Expenses,
General Legal Activities account rather than in a separate appropriation.
Second, the language of the administrative expenses appropriation was
changed from a specified amount to a specified minimum amount.
Specifically, whereas fiscal year 2002 appropriations provided for
“necessary administrative expenses in accordance with the Radiation
Exposure Compensation Act, $1,996,000,” the fiscal year 2003
appropriation provides, in part, that “not less than $1,996,000 shall be
available for necessary administrative expenses in accordance with the
Radiation Exposure Compensation Act.” In accompanying Conference
Report language, the conferees said that they “expect the Civil Division to




17
 P.L. 108-7, 117 Stat. 11 (2003).




Page 18                             GAO-03-481 Radiation Exposure Compensation
                  absorb any additional requirements for processing RECA claims from
                  other resources available to the Civil Division.”18

                  We provided a draft of this report to the Attorney General for review and
Agency Comments   comment. The Justice Department advised us they had no formal
                  comments. The Civil Division and the Justice Management Division
                  reviewed the report for accuracy and provided technical comments which
                  have been incorporated in this report where appropriate.

                  Funding available to pay claims under the RECA may be inadequate to
Conclusions       meet projected needs. Since the end of fiscal year 2000, the number of
                  unadjudicated claims has grown 300 percent from 653 to 2,654, and nearly
                  3,200 new claims are anticipated during fiscal year 2003. Both CBO and
                  DOJ estimate that money in the Trust Fund will be insufficient to pay all
                  the claims that are projected to be approved over the 2003-2011 period.
                  For fiscal years 2001 and 2002, RECP officials spent more for
                  administrative expenses than was appropriated. For fiscal year 2003,
                  Congress authorized DOJ’s Civil Division to absorb any additional funding
                  required for administrative expenses above the amount appropriated.
                  However, the availability of additional funds, if needed, for administrative
                  expenses is contingent on the Civil Division’s ability to absorb any
                  additional costs.


                  We recommend that the Attorney General consult with the congressional
Recommendation    committees of jurisdiction to develop a strategy to address the gap
                  between current funding levels and the amount of funding needed to pay
                  claims projected to be approved over the 2003-2011 period.


                  Copies of this report are being sent to the Attorney General; the Director,
                  Office Management and Budget; and any other interested parties. We will
                  also make copies available to others upon request. In addition, the report
                  will be available at no charge on GAO’s Web site at http://www.gao.gov.




                  18
                   H.R. Conf. Rep. No. 108-10, at 607 (2003).




                  Page 19                                       GAO-03-481 Radiation Exposure Compensation
If you or your staffs have any questions about this report, please contact
William Crocker or me at (202) 512-8777 or jonesp@gao.gov.
R. Rochelle Burns, Geoffrey R. Hamilton, and Leo M. Barbour made key
contributions to this report.




Paul L. Jones
Director, Justice Issues




Page 20                             GAO-03-481 Radiation Exposure Compensation
List of Committees

The Honorable Orrin G. Hatch
Chairman
The Honorable Patrick J. Leahy
Ranking Minority Member
Committee on the Judiciary
United States Senate

The Honorable Judd Gregg
Chairman
The Honorable Edward M. Kennedy
Ranking Minority Member
Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
United States Senate

The Honorable James Sensenbrenner, Jr.
Chairman
The Honorable John Conyers, Jr.
Ranking Minority Member
Committee on the Judiciary
House of Representatives

The Honorable Billy Tauzin
Chairman
The Honorable John D. Dingell
Ranking Minority Member
Committee on Energy and Commerce
House of Representatives




Page 21                          GAO-03-481 Radiation Exposure Compensation
             Appendix I: Scope and Methodology
Appendix I: Scope and Methodology


             To determine the outcomes of the claims adjudication process, including
             the number of approved and denied claims, the timeliness of the claims
             adjudication process, and the amount of money awarded, we interviewed
             Radiation Exposure Compensation Program (RECP) officials and obtained
             RECA-related case information from the Department of Justice’s (DOJ)
             Civil Division’s case histories database for fiscal years 1992 through
             2002. The Civil Division’s Office of Planning, Budget and Evaluation
             (OPB&E) provided financial information. We discussed the basis for any
             major fluctuations with RECP officials. We did not independently verify
             the accuracy of the RECA data extracted from the database.

             To determine the cost of administering RECP, we obtained data from
             OPB&E by object class for the end of fiscal years 1992 through 2002. The
             cost provided includes items such as personnel compensation and
             benefits, travel and transportation of persons, and printing and
             reproduction costs. To determine full-time equivalent (FTE) staffing levels,
             the office provided us with FTE staff levels for RECP at the end of fiscal
             years 1992 through 2002.

             To determine the nature of expenditures from the Trust Fund, we
             evaluated annual Trust Fund activity from fiscal years 1992 through
             2002 provided by OPB&E. During our initial review of the RECP in
             2001, we verified that payments made were consistent with data contained
             in DOJ’s Civil Divisions case histories database. We did not revalidate the
             information from the database during this review.

             To validate the estimates of future Trust Fund requirements, we met with
             Congressional Budget Office (CBO) officials and examined their source
             data, methodology, assumptions, calculations, and results. On the basis of
             our examination, we found that CBO’s estimates were sound and
             reasonable. RECA program officials said that they are confident in the
             data necessary to support improved estimates for the next 3 years (fiscal
             years 2003 through 2005); however, beyond that, their best educated guess
             is to extend the slope of the funding curve out another 5 or more years for
             RECP. We focused on DOJ’s administration of RECA from its inception in
             fiscal year 1992 through the end of fiscal year 2002.

             We conducted our review from August 2002 through February 2003, in
             accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.




             Page 22                             GAO-03-481 Radiation Exposure Compensation
                                            Appendix II: Summary of Key Radiation
Appendix II: Summary of Key Radiation       Exposure Compensation Program Provisions
                                            by Claimant Category


Exposure Compensation Program Provisions
by Claimant Category

Claimant                                                             Amount of         Examples of
        a
category              Time periods             Location              compensation      diseases covered        Other
Uranium mine          Any time from January    Colorado, New         $100,000          Lung cancer and         Victims must have
employees             1, 1942-December 31,     Mexico, Arizona,                        nonmalignant            been exposed to at
                      1971.                    Wyoming, South                          respiratory disease.    least 40 working level
                                               Dakota,                                                         months of radiation or
                                               Washington, Utah,                                               determine
                                               Idaho, North                                                    employment in a
                                               Dakota, Oregon,                                                 mine for 1 full year.b
                                               and Texas.                                                      Aboveground miners
                                                                                                               are included.
                                                                                                               Additional states may
                                                                                                               apply for inclusion as
                                                                                                               a covered state.
Downwinders           A period of at least 2   Certain Utah,         $50,000           Certain types of        For those exposed
                      years from January 21,   Nevada, and                             leukemia, lung          prior to age 21, and
                      1951-October 31, 1958,   Arizona counties                        cancer, multiple        subsequently
                      or for the period        downwind from the                       myeloma,                contract any
                      between June 30 and      Nevada test site.                       lymphomas, and          medically recognized
                      July 31, 1962.                                                   primary cancer of       form of acute or
                                                                                       the thyroid, male or chronic leukemia,
                                                                                       female breast,          other than chronic
                                                                                       esophagus,              lymphocytic
                                                                                       stomach, pharynx,       leukemia, a period of
                                                                                       small intestine,        only 1 year, from
                                                                                       pancreas, bile ducts, January 21, 1951 to
                                                                                       gall bladder, salivary October 31, 1958, is
                                                                                       gland, urinary          required c
                                                                                       bladder, brain,
                                                                                       colon, ovary, or liver.

Onsite participants   Designated               Onsite testing        $75,000           Certain types of         The payment to the
                      atmospheric nuclear      areas include the                       leukemia, lung           victim may be offset
                      tests from July 16,      Nevada, Pacific,                        cancer, and              by payments
                      1945-December 31,        Trinity, and the                        lymphomas, multiple      received by the victim
                      1962.                    South Atlantic test                     myeloma, and             from the Department
                                               sites.d                                 primary cancer of        of Veterans Affairs
                                                                                       the thyroid, male or     based on the same
                                                                                       female breast,           radiation-related
                                                                                       esophagus,               illness.
                                                                                       stomach, pharynx,
                                                                                       small intestine,
                                                                                       pancreas, bile ducts,
                                                                                       gall bladder, salivary
                                                                                       gland, urinary
                                                                                       bladder, brain,
                                                                                       colon, ovary, or liver
                                                                                       (certain types).




                                            Page 23                                 GAO-03-481 Radiation Exposure Compensation
                                                    Appendix II: Summary of Key Radiation
                                                    Exposure Compensation Program Provisions
                                                    by Claimant Category




 Claimant                                                                           Amount of            Examples of
         a
 category                       Time periods               Location                 compensation         diseases covered           Other
 Uranium mill                   Any time from January      Colorado, New            $100,000             Lung cancer,               Victims must have
 employees                      1, 1942-December 31,       Mexico, Arizona,                              nonmalignant               worked for at least 1
                                1971.                      Wyoming, South                                respiratory diseases,      year during the
                                                           Dakota,                                       renal cancer, and          relevant time period.
                                                           Washington, Utah,                             other chronic renal
                                                           Idaho, North                                  disease, including
                                                           Dakota, Oregon,                               nephritis and kidney
                                                           and Texas.                                    tubal tissue injury.

 Ore transporter                Any time from January      Colorado, New            $100,000             Lung cancer,               Victims must have
 employees                      1, 1942-December 31,       Mexico, Arizona,                              nonmalignant               worked for at least 1
                                1971.                      Wyoming, South                                respiratory diseases,      year during the
                                                           Dakota,                                       renal cancer, and          relevant time period.
                                                           Washington, Utah,                             other chronic renal
                                                           Idaho, North                                  disease, including
                                                           Dakota, Oregon,                               nephritis and kidney
                                                           and Texas.                                    tubal tissue injury.
Source: RECA and related regulations.
                                                    a
                                                        Also includes victim’s survivors.
                                                    b
                                                     Levels of exposure to radiation are referred to as working level months and are calculated by
                                                    multiplying the number of months an individual worked in a particular uranium mine and the radon
                                                    level in the mine during the period of employment.
                                                    c
                                                     Prior to the enactment of the RECA Amendments, a separate claimant category existed for these
                                                    victims. The category was called “Childhood Leukemia.”
                                                    d
                                                     DOJ lists the dates and locations of the atmospheric tests conducted by the federal government in
                                                    regulations codified at 28 C.F.R. Part 79. For claimant eligibility, Justice adds 6 months to the end of
                                                    the designated time span for each of the listed test periods.




                                                    Page 24                                          GAO-03-481 Radiation Exposure Compensation
Appendix II: Summary of Key Radiation
Exposure Compensation Program Provisions
by Claimant Category




Page 25                                GAO-03-481 Radiation Exposure Compensation
                                                Appendix III: RECP’s Claims Adjudication
Appendix III: RECP’s Claims Adjudication        Process



Process




Source: Prepared by GAO based on RECP's data.




                                                Page 26                                    GAO-03-481 Radiation Exposure Compensation
Appendix III: RECP’s Claims Adjudication
Process




a
 The RECP attorney may request additional supporting information before making a recommendation
(for approval or denial) to the Assistant Director.
b
As of July 10, 2000, based on the 2000 amendments, an applicant can file a claim for consideration
up to three times.




Page 27                                       GAO-03-481 Radiation Exposure Compensation
           Appendix III: RECP’s Claims Adjudication
           Process




           c
            Applicants whose claims have been denied are permitted to refile their claims if (1) they provide
           information to correct the deficiency that was the basis for the last denial under the original RECA
           legislation or (2) they believe that they are now eligible as a result of the 1999 regulatory changes
           and/or the 2000 amendments.
           d
            The Appeals Officer may (1) reverse the denial (award compensation to the claimant), (2) affirm the
           denial (deny compensation to the claimant), or (3) remand the case to RECP. The decision is
           equivalent to a negative determination for the other two options.




(440153)
           Page 28                                          GAO-03-481 Radiation Exposure Compensation
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