Former and current employees of Washington state’s Hanford nuclear waste site say the federal government is waiting for them to die in order to avoid paying out disability benefits.
Speaking with King 5 News, the group revealed how they have been repeatedly denied help despite being promised benefits under the U.S. Department of Labor’s Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program (EEOICP).
“I’ve fought and I’ve fought and I’ve fought them and it’s a losing battle,” said Ron Stevens, a 20-year employee now suffering from COPD, cancer and kidney failure.
“They’re running and hiding and denying and denying and denying, and they don’t care and all this money’s coming out of my pocket. And that’s what’s irritating me bad.”
Incredibly, even though members of the group display clear symptoms of exposure to radiation, toxins and heavy metals, the federal government claims that their work at Hanford has not been a “significant factor in causing, contributing to, or even aggravating” their conditions.
“I just think that we’re all getting a raw deal. I don’t know why but … they [hire] somebody that really don’t know me, don’t know any of us, but is going to stamp a reject on your form,” said Scott Passage, currently battling severe COPD.
Sick workers lucky enough to avoid constant delays and denials are often asked to wait up to seven years for financial help according to a 2010 government audit.