If you were exposed to radiation because of testing and use by the United States government, then you might have heard of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA). You might have heard that you can receive financial benefits through this act, which might be an idea you're interested in looking into as someone who might have suffered ill effects due to exposure to radiation. Although you might have heard of RECA, these are some of the things that you might not know about the actual RECA payments.
First of all, you should know that not everyone who qualifies for financial compensation through RECA receives the same amount of money. There are three different compensation levels that are based on the type and level of radiation exposure that a person suffered. Uranium millers and miners, as well as ore transporters, receive the most compensation. Onsite participants who were actually involved in radiation testing represent the next level of compensation. "Downwinders," which are people who lived downwind of the radiation test site in Nevada, qualify for the least amount of compensation but can still receive compensation through RECA.
They're Paid in a Lump Sum
You might have heard or assumed that you will receive regular compensation — such as on a monthly or annual basis — if you are found to qualify for RECA benefits. However, this is not the case. Rather than paying compensation in this way, the government instead grants one lump sum payment to each recipient. Once you have received your lump-sum payment, you will not qualify for any additional money through RECA. However, if you are disabled and unable to work because of the effects of radiation exposure, you could potentially qualify for disability through the Social Security Administration. The lawyer who helps you with claiming your RECA benefits should be able to refer you to a disability lawyer who can help you determine if this is the case and who can help you apply for disability.
They Can Be Paid at Any Time
If you have not yet received compensation from RECA because you didn't know you were eligible or were not sure of how to apply for compensation, then you might assume that your chance to receive this payment is over. However, this is not the case. In fact, if one of your close family members passed away before they were able to receive RECA compensation, then you might be able to receive the payment on their behalf. However, you shouldn't continue to wait to seek compensation; instead, hire a lawyer as soon as you can so that you can start the process of applying for RECA compensation.
Turn to an organization such as National Cancer Benefits Center for more info.