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NIOSH Program Area:

Radiation Dose Reconstruction

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Special Exposure Cohort (SEC)

The Special Exposure Cohort (SEC) is a uniquely defined category of employees established under The Act. The SEC is comprised of classes of employees who:

Claims compensated under the SEC do not have to go through the dose reconstruction process, as is required for other cancer claims covered by The Act.

The Act also allows for additional groups of employees (called classes of employees) to be added to the SEC. Classes of employees and work sites can be considered for addition to the SEC through a petition process run by NIOSH.

To answer questions about the SEC, NIOSH has developed a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below. Links to other program FAQs are located on the "Find It!" navigation box under "On this page . . . "

Select the topic you are interested in below by clicking its link. You will be taken to the section of this page that lists FAQs about the topic. Links throughout the FAQs will guide you to further information.

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SEC General Information


  • What is the Special Exposure Cohort (SEC)?

    The SEC is a uniquely defined category of employees established under The Act (42 CFR Part 83). The SEC is comprised of classes of employees who have any of 22 "specified cancers," who worked for a specified period of time at one of the SEC Work Sites or participated in certain nuclear weapons tests, and who meet other additional requirements under The Act. An individual member (or the eligible survivors of a member) of a class of employees included in the SEC is entitled to compensation without having to undergo a dose reconstruction performed for his or her case by NIOSH, or to have a decision by the Department of Labor (DOL) as to whether the cancer was "at least as likely as not" caused by occupational exposure to radiation, as is required for other cancer claims covered by The Act.

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  • What is a "class" of employees?

    A class of employees is defined in the regulation as a group of employees who work or worked at the same Department of Energy (DOE) facility or Atomics Weapon Employer (AWE) facility, and for whom the availability of information and recorded data on radiation exposures is comparable with respect to the informational needs of dose reconstructions under the dose reconstruction regulation.

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  • What are the 22 "specified cancers" for compensation for the SEC?

    In addition to being a member of one of the classes of employees included in the SEC, to qualify for compensation, a covered employee must also have at least one of the following types of cancer:

    • Bone cancer

    • Renal cancers

    • Leukemia (other than chronic lymphocytic leukemia) provided the onset of the disease was at least two years after first exposure

    • Lung cancer (other than in-situ lung cancer that is discovered during or after a post-mortem exam)

    The following diseases provided onset was at least five years after first exposure:
    • Multiple myeloma
    • Lymphomas (other than Hodgkin's disease)
    • Primary cancer of the:
      • Bile ducts
      • Brain
      • Breast (female or male)
      • Colon
      • Esophagus
      • Gall bladder
      • Liver (except if cirrhosis or hepatitis B is indicated)
      • Ovary
      • Pancreas
      • Pharynx
      • Salivary gland
      • Small intestine
      • Stomach
      • Thyroid
      • Urinary bladder

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  • Where did the list of 22 "specified cancers" for the SEC come from? Did NIOSH develop this list?

    Neither NIOSH nor the Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health developed the list of 22 "specified cancers," and neither can modify the list. The list is part of the EEOICPA statute, and only Congress can modify the list of "specified cancers." The origin for the list of "specified cancers" began in the Radiation-Exposed Veterans Compensation Act (REVCA) of 1988. The Radiation-Exposed Veterans Compensation Act's original list included 13 cancers that were based on published reports from National Research Council Committees that identified elevated risks of contracting these cancers after exposure to radiation. This list of 13 cancers was then incorporated into the original enactment of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act in 1990. In 2000, the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act was amended to incorporate a variety of changes, including the addition of 6 more specified cancers. The list of "specified cancers" for inclusion in the SEC is comprised of 22 cancers: 19 cancers specified in RECA; renal and bone cancers as specified in EEOICPA; and male and female breast cancers, which are considered separately under EEOICPA.

    The following table shows a comparison of the "specified cancers" under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, the Radiation-Exposed Veterans Compensation Act, and EEOICPA.

    Comparison of "Specified Cancer" Lists1
    Cancer site
    REVCA
    and
    RECA (1990)
    RECA (2000)2
    EEOICPA
    Bile duct
    X
    X
    X
    Bone
     
     
    X
    Brain
     
    X
    X
    Breast (female and male)
    X
    X
    X
    Colon
     
    X
    X
    Esophagus
    X
    X
    X
    Gall bladder
    X
    X
    X
    Kidney
     
     
    X
    Leukemia (exc. CLL)
    X
    X
    X
    Liver
    X
    X
    X
    Lung
     
    X
    X
    Lymphoma (NHL)
    X
    X
    X
    Multiple myeloma
    X
    X
    X
    Ovary
     
    X
    X
    Pancreas
    X
    X
    X
    Pharynx
    X
    X
    X
    Salivary gland
     
    X
    X
    Small intestine
    X
    X
    X
    Stomach
    X
    X
    X
    Thyroid
    X
    X
    X
    Urinary bladder
     
    X
    X

    1This table is provided for comparison purposes only and does not include other requirements that might apply, such as latency period and primary and tumor status (i.e., primary or secondary).

    2This list is specifically for those cancers covered by RECA under open- air nuclear testing.

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  • Which classes of employees are currently included in the SEC?

    A list of the classes of employees that are currently included in the SEC can be found on the Special Exposure Cohort page under Classes of Employees Currently Included in the SEC.

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  • Does everyone who falls under the class definition get paid?

    No, in order to be eligible for compensation, an individual must also have at least 250 aggregated days of employment in a class or classes in the SEC and one of the 22 SEC "specified cancers."

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  • What does "aggregated" days of employment mean?

    Aggregated days of employment are the total number of days that a worker was employed in a class at multiple covered SEC facilities. The total number of days of employment in a class at each facility can be combined together to meet the 250 day requirement.


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  • Where did this 250 day requirement originate?

    The 250 day requirement was written into the law by Congress when The Act was originally passed. There is no scientific basis for the 250 days. It is simply a work year.

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  • Who is responsible for determining whether an employee worked the required 250 days at a site to be included in the SEC?

    DOL is responsible for making that determination.

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  • Why does DOL determine eligibility for compensation?

    Under The Act, DOL was designated the responsibility of determining the eligibility of energy employees with covered occupational illnesses and their survivors and managing claims for compensation and benefits.

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  • Is the 250 day work requirement ever waived?

    The SEC rule does provide for an alternative to the 250 work days employment requirement whenever classes of employees may have been exposed to radiation during discrete incidents likely to have involved exceptionally high-level exposures, including any such incidents that may have occurred during projects of short duration. In this case, mere presence during the incident would substitute for the 250 work days employment requirement. It is important to note that in order to qualify an incident would have to be both high enough to be similar to a criticality and be one where NIOSH did not have the information needed to reconstruct dose with sufficient accuracy. Clean-up operations of highly radioactive materials would need to be evaluated based on the specific circumstances, such as the amount and type of exposures and the data that are available.

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  • Are petitioners and the public kept informed about the status of SEC petitions that have met the minimum qualifications for review and evaluation?

    Yes, the SEC petition process is intended to be complete, independent, and open to all interested individuals. NIOSH makes every effort to ensure that SEC petitioners and members of the public are kept informed about, and included in, the process.

    Detailed information is provided on our Web site for petitions that meet the minimum qualification for review and evaluation. Petition information is posted on the work site page to which the petition applies, the Advisory Board page, and the Special Exposure Cohort page, such as:

    • Petitions currently qualified for evaluation

    • Class(es) added to the SEC

    • Petitions not added to the SEC

    • Petition information (location, job titles and/or job duties, and period of employment)

    • Federal Register Notices Announcing:

      • petitions that have met the minimum qualifications for review and evaluation

      • the designation of classes of employees for addition to the SEC

      • the final effect of designation of a class of employees for addition to the SEC

    • Copies of the petitions received

    • SEC Petition Evaluation Reports

    • Dates that petitions will be/were discussed by the Advisory Board

    • Advisory Board recommendations on SEC petitions

    • HHS letters to Congress regarding the SEC petitions

    • HHS designations of additional members to the SEC and other determinations

    • Effective dates for SEC classes

    • Letters to DOL regarding the addition of new classes of employees to the SEC

    • Comments on documents related to the petitions

    • Advisory Board meeting information to discuss the petitions (e.g., dates, agendas, and transcripts)

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  • Does NIOSH provide any assistance to petitioners?

    Yes, NIOSH is aware that the SEC process can sometimes seem complex. In order to make the petition process as understandable as possible, NIOSH has named Joshua Kinman as the SEC Petition Counselor. Mr. Kinman works with petitioners in overcoming any frustrations or confusion that they may feel when submitting an SEC petition. In addition, Denise Brock was appointed as a Consultant/Ombudsman to NIOSH under The Act. She helps individuals with a variety of issues that involve the SEC petition process and the dose reconstruction process.

    SEC Petition Counselor, Joshua Kinman
    Mr. Kinman has been with NIOSH since May 2005 and worked in DCAS on the SEC Team since July 2006. He has been working as the SEC Petition Counselor since January 2011.

    How the SEC Petition Counselor Helps Claimants:

    • SEC Petitions
      Mr. Kinman provides advice to those who wish to submit an SEC petition. Some of the things he assists the petitioner(s) in understanding include:

      • What information does an individual need to submit in SEC petition

      • How to submit an SEC petition

      • What happens to the petition once it is received by NIOSH

      • If the petition qualifies for further evaluation, what that means

      • If the petition does not qualify for further evaluation, what the petitioner can do

      • What happens when the petition is presented to the Advisory Board

      • What happens to the petition after the Advisory Board has talked about the petition

      • What happens when there is a recommendation that is sent to Congress

      • What happens when a class of employees is added to the SEC

    • Outreach Meetings
      Mr. Kinman conducts outreach meetings and workshops for claimants, advocates, consultants, and the public in order to promote a better understanding of The Act and the SEC petition process.

    You may contact Mr. Kinman by calling toll-free at 1-877-222-7570 or by email at dcas@cdc.gov. Information on filing an SEC petition can also be found on our How to Submit an SEC Petition Web page.


    Consultant/Ombudsman to NIOSH under The Act, Denise Brock
    Denise Brock also was appointed as a Consultant/Ombudsman to NIOSH under The Act to help individuals with a variety of issues that involve the SEC petition process and the dose reconstruction process. In her work as the Ombudsman to NIOSH, Ms. Brock has built a strong working relationship with the Department of Labor's Ombudsman's Office, District Offices, and National Office in an effort to help the claimant community.

    Ms. Brock has been an outspoken and effective advocate for workers for many years. She is the daughter of former uranium workers from the Mallinckrodt Chemical Plant in St. Louis, Missouri. She was the Founder/Director of The United Nuclear Weapons Workers advocacy group. Ms. Brock has extensive experience and expertise in preparing and filing SEC petitions for classes of workers. In fact, the SEC petition Ms. Brock filed on behalf of workers at the Mallinckrodt Chemical Plant led to the first class of workers being added to the SEC. Ms. Brock was a strong force in organizing former workers and providing necessary information to the Advisory Board to push forward the SEC petition.

    Ms. Brock has acted as not only a worker advocate but as a consultant to several law firms which helped The Act claimants. She has been recognized for her experience and was asked to testify before the Judiciary Committee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims, U.S. House of Representatives, Hearing on Implementation of The Act in an effort to bring forward ideas to help change the program to better serve the needs of the Workers.

    How the Ombudsman to NIOSH under The Act Helps Claimants:

    • SEC Petitions
      Ms. Brock directly helps petitioners in gathering the materials, information, and documentation needed to file an SEC petition. She also helps petitioners in preparing and presenting comments to the Advisory Board. Ms. Brock also helps petitioners who may be having problems with their current petition.

    • Dose Reconstruction
      In some cases when a claimant has problems with the dose reconstruction process, NIOSH will ask Ms. Brock to help the claimant. Claimants also contact her for help in reviewing their case, even if previously denied. Ms. Brock will review the entire case file, including the Department of Labor initial case file, the NIOSH dose reconstruction report, and the medical records. Ms. Brock has built a strong working relationship with the Department of Labor's Ombudsman's Office, District Offices, and National Office in an effort to help the claimant community.

    • Outreach Meetings
      Ms. Brock conducts outreach meetings and workshops for claimants, advocates, consultants, and the public in order to promote a better understanding of The Act and the claims process.

    You may contact Ms. Brock by calling toll-free at 1-888-272-7430 or by email at CKO7@cdc.gov. Information on filing an SEC petition can also be found on our How to Submit an SEC Petition Web page.

    SEC general information, petition forms, requirements, detailed steps in the petition process, and other pertinent SEC information can also be found on the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Special Exposure Cohort (SEC) page and a general fact sheet on the SEC is located on the Print Materials page of our Web site.

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  • My case has already been denied compensation by DOL. However, I belong to a class of employees that was added to the SEC and meet all of the criteria. Do I have to resubmit my claim to DOL to get compensation?

    No, if the previously completed, non-compensable case now qualifies for compensation under a new SEC class, DOL will notify you and any other claimants listed on the claim.

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  • Where does NIOSH get the information it collects on the types and levels of radiation exposures that potential members of a class may have encountered?

    NIOSH gets this information from sources such as the:

    • Petition form submitted on behalf of the class

    • DOE and AWE facility records and information

    • Potential members of the class and their survivors

    • Labor organizations who represent or represented employees at the facility during the required employment time period

    • Managers, radiation safety officials, and other witnesses present during the required employment time period

    • NIOSH records from epidemiological research

    • Other sources

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  • What happens if NIOSH uncovers new relevant information while conducting research for an SEC petition?

    The evaluation of a qualified petition includes in-depth research on the available monitoring records and worker data to determine if NIOSH has the information needed to reconstruct radiation doses with sufficient accuracy and if it does not, whether the radiation doses may have endangered the health of the class of workers defined in the petition. In this process, we may uncover new information that confirms, refutes, or supplements the information in the petition and the existing information in NIOSH's database.

    This new information may impact the SEC petition, and/or a related Site Profile or Technical Basis Document. With NIOSH's commitment and the requirement in the dose reconstruction rule to apply the best available science in dose reconstructions, when relevant information becomes available, we will revise technical documents and evaluate whether that new information will impact the compensability of a completed dose reconstruction with a probability of causation less than 50%.

    A Program Evaluation Report (PER), details the effect, if any, of the new information on completed dose reconstructions. If it appears that the new information may result in an increase in dose for a completed dose reconstruction with a probability of causation of less than 50%, we are committed to working with DOL to reopen and rework the dose reconstruction, as appropriate.

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  • Is NIOSH's evaluation of an SEC petition dependent on the status of a Site Profile or Technical Basis Document?

    NIOSH's evaluation of an SEC petition is not dependent on the status of a Site Profile or Technical Basis Document. Site Profiles provide tools and guidance for continuity in dose reconstructions for a facility; however, NIOSH does not necessarily require a Site Profile or Technical Basis Document to perform a dose reconstruction. The evaluation of a petition by the Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health may be conducted at the same time as the Advisory Board's review of a Site Profile or Technical Basis Document. The information the Advisory Board decides to consider in its evaluation of an SEC petition is determined by the Advisory Board.

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SEC Final Rule for the Procedures for Designating Classes of Employees as Members of the SEC

  • What is the SEC Final Rule?

    The rule describes the process for individuals and/or organizations to file a petition to add a class of employees to the SEC.

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  • What is the purpose of the SEC Final Rule?

    HHS created the SEC procedures rule to ensure that:

    • Petitions are submitted by authorized parties

    • Petitions are justified

    • Petitions are given uniform, fair, and scientific consideration

    • Petitioners are given the opportunity to be involved with the petition process

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  • Where can I find a copy of the SEC Final Rule?

    The Final Rule for the Procedures for Designating Classes of Employees as Members of the SEC can be found in the Federal Register and can be found on The Act page on this Web site.

    You can also request a copy of the rule via email at dcas@cdc.gov or ocas@cdc.gov, by calling NIOSH directly at 513-533-6800, or by calling toll-free at 1-877-222-7570.

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  • What topics are discussed in the SEC Final Rule?

    The following topics are discussed in the SEC Final Rule:

    • How HHS will determine whether or not it is feasible to estimate the radiation dose that the class received and if there is a reasonable likelihood that the radiation dose may have endangered the health of members of the class

    • The procedures that are necessary to add a class of employees to the SEC

    • Individuals and organizations that are qualified to submit an SEC petition on behalf of a class

    • Minimum requirements that must be met for an SEC petition to qualify for consideration

    • Procedures to involve and notify petitioners in the petition process and to allow petitioners to seek administrative reviews of proposed decisions

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  • What is required before a class of employees can be added to the SEC?

    The following is required before a class of employees can be added to the SEC:

    1. The class must petition to be added to the SEC;

    2. HHS must obtain the advice of the Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health;

    3. HHS must determine that:

      • it is not feasible to estimate the radiation dose that the class received with sufficient accuracy (in accordance with 42 CFR 83); and

      • there is a reasonable likelihood that the radiation dose may have endangered the health of members of the class; and

    4. A recommended decision by HHS to add a class to the SEC must be submitted to Congress. Unless Congress takes action, the recommendation will take effect 30 days after it has been sent to Congress.

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SEC Roles

  • What role does NIOSH have in the SEC petition process?

    NIOSH's role is to:

    • Collect SEC petitions

    • Determine whether or not the petitions meet the minimum requirements for review and evaluation

    • Notify the petitioners, the Advisory Board, and the public as to whether or not the petitions meet the minimum requirements for review and evaluation

    • Provide the Advisory Board and the petitioners with information on the steps of the petition evaluation and other required procedures

    • Evaluate the petition

    • Provide a report on the SEC petition evaluation to the Advisory Board

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  • What role does the Advisory Board have in the SEC petition process?

    The Advisory Board's role is to:

    • Consider the petition and the NIOSH evaluation report

    • Obtain and consider additional information not addressed in the petition or the initial NIOSH evaluation report, if necessary

    • Develop and send the Secretary of HHS a report containing the Advisory Board's recommendation upon the completion of NIOSH evaluations and Advisory Board deliberations

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  • Is the Advisory Board responsible for deciding whether or not to add a class of employees to the SEC?

    No, the Advisory Board only provides a recommendation to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

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  • What role does the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have in the SEC petition process?

    The role of the Secretary of HHS is to:

    • Make the final recommended decision as to whether to add or deny adding a class to the SEC after considering recommendations provided by NIOSH, the Board, and from the HHS administrative review, if applicable

    • Develop and send a report of the final recommended decision to the petitioners, including a description of the relevant criteria and a summary of the information and findings that the decision is based upon

    • Provide Congress with a report giving the final recommended decision, the definition of the class of employees covered by the decision, and the criteria and findings upon which the decision was based for classes to be added to the SEC

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  • What role does Congress have in the SEC petition process?

    Congress reviews the Secretary of HHS' recommended decision. Congress can reverse or expedite the decision to add a class to the SEC. If Congress takes no action that effects the decision, it will take effect 30 calendar days after Congress receives the Secretary's recommended decision.

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  • What role does DOL have in the SEC petition process?

    DOL's role is to determine the eligibility of claims to be paid under the SEC. DOL will determine if the energy employee worked during the defined period established by the class, meets the 250 days of employment requirement, and has one of the 22 "specified cancers" or an eligible secondary cancer.

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SEC Petition Forms

  • Who can submit a petition?

    Up to three individuals can be named as petitioners on one petition. The petition itself can represent an unlimited number of employees (a class) from the same facility. Petitioners serve as the contact for the class and must be one or more of the following:

    • A DOE, DOE contractor or subcontractor, or AWE employee, who would be included in the proposed class of employees, or their survivors

    • A labor organization representing or formerly having represented DOE, DOE contractor or subcontractor, or AWE Employer employee, who would be included in the proposed class of employees

    • An individual or entity authorized in writing by one or more DOE, DOE contractor or subcontractor, or AWE employee, who would be included in the proposed class of employees, or their survivors.

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  • When can I submit an SEC petition?

    Individuals or organizations can submit a petition at any time. You can submit a petition when NIOSH has informed you, in writing, that a dose reconstruction for your case filed with DOL could not be conducted. Petitions may also be submitted representing a class of employees whose members have yet to file cases with DOL under The Act, or have yet to be diagnosed with cancer.

    Optional forms and filing instructions are available on our Web site on the How To Submit an SEC Petition page.

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  • Where can I get the petition form?

    Petition forms are available through our Web site on the How To Submit an SEC Petition page. You can also request a hard copy version of the SEC petition form via email at dcas@cdc.gov or ocas@cdc.gov, by calling NIOSH directly at 513-533-6800, or by calling toll-free at 1-877-222-7570.

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  • Do I have to fill out and submit the petition forms?

    No, the petition forms are optional. The forms will assist NIOSH in the processing of the petitions and the instructions offer guidance to petitioners on how to file a complete petition.

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  • Which petition form should I complete?

    Complete SEC Petition Form A if NIOSH has reported to you in writing that we cannot complete the dose reconstruction needed for your cancer case. All other petitioners should use Petition Form B to submit a petition.

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  • Where can I find instructions for filling out the petition form?

    Instructions can be found on this Web site on the How To Submit an SEC Petition page.

    You can also contact:

    Joshua Kinman, SEC Petition Counselor, via email at dcas@cdc.gov or ocas@cdc.gov or by calling 513-533-6800 or toll-free at 1-877-222-7570.

    Denise Brock, Consultant/Ombudsman to NIOSH, by calling toll-free at 1-888-272-7430.

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  • Where do I send the petition form?

    Please submit the SEC petition form to:

         SEC Petition
         National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health
         Division of Compensation Analysis and Support, MS-C47
         1090 Tusculum Avenue
         Cincinnati, Ohio 45226

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  • I want to submit an SEC petition but NIOSH has already received a petition from the same class of employees. Can I still submit the petition?

    There is no need to submit a petition if one has already been received for the same class. You can submit a separate petition only if the petition represents substantially new information that has not already been considered by NIOSH.

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  • Who do I contact if I need help filling out the SEC petition form?

    Information on filing an SEC petition can be found on the How to Submit an SEC Petition Web page. If you have additional questions, please contact our SEC Petition Counselor, Mr. Joshua Kinman via email at dcas@cdc.gov or ocas@cdc.gov or by calling 513-533-6800 or toll-free at 1-877-222-7570.

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SEC Petition Requirements

  • What information must be provided in the SEC petition?

    If NIOSH determined that the dose reconstruction cannot be completed, then the petition must provide:

    • Identifying and contact information; and

    • The justification that the dose reconstruction cannot be completed due to insufficient records and information, as indicated in the written notification from NIOSH.

    All other petitioners must provide:

    • Identifying and contact information; and

    • A proposed class definition; and

    • A description of why the proposed class should be added to the SEC (e.g., records and information available are inadequate to estimate the radiation doses acquired by members of the proposed class of employees with sufficient accuracy; identification of any exposure incident that was unmonitored, unrecorded, or inadequately monitored or recorded if the petition is based on an exposure incident, etc.).

      Please Note: Petitioners may be required to provide evidence that the incident occurred if NIOSH is unable to obtain records or confirmation of the incident form sources independent of the petitioners. This evidence is not required at the time the petition is submitted. The petitioners will be directly informed of the need for the supplemental information.

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  • What is needed in the proposed class definition?

    The proposed class definition should include:

    1. The DOE/AWE facility where the proposed class worked;

    2. The location(s) within the facility where the covered class worked;

    3. The job titles/duties of the class members; and

    4. The years the proposed class worked.

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  • What is needed to indicate the basis for the petitioner's belief that the dose reconstruction is not feasible?

    The basis must include one of the following:

    • Documentation or worker statements provided by affidavit that indicate the radiation exposures and doses of the members were not monitored, either through personal or area monitoring;

    • Documentation or worker statements provided by affidavit that indicate that radiation monitoring records for members have been lost, falsified, or destroyed.

    • A report from a Health Physicist or other individual with expertise in dose reconstruction that documents the limitations of existing DOE/AWE records on radiation exposure at the facility; or

    • A scientific or technical report published or issues by a government agency of the Executive Branch of Government, the Government Accounting Office, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, or published in a peer-reviewed journal that identifies dosimetry and related information that are unavailable due to either a lack of monitoring or the destruction or loss of records for estimating radiation doses of employees covered by the petition.

    • If relevant, inclusion of information indicating an exposure incident that was unmonitored, unrecorded, or inadequately monitored or recorded.

      Please Note: Petitioners may be required to provide evidence that the incident occurred if NIOSH is unable to obtain records or confirmation of the incident from sources independent of the petitioners. This evidence is not required at the time the petition is submitted. The petitioners will be directly informed of the need for the supplemental information.

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  • Does the petitioner have to provide evidence that an exposure incident that was unmonitored, unrecorded, or inadequately monitored or recorded occurred?

    Petitioners may be required to provide evidence that the incident occurred if NIOSH is unable to obtain records or confirmation of the incident from sources independent of the petitioner's source. This evidence is not required at the time the petition is submitted. The petitioners will be directly informed of the need for the supplemental information.

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  • What would qualify as evidence that an exposure incident that was unmonitored, unrecorded, or inadequately monitored or recorded occurred?

    The following may qualify as evidence:

    • Medical evidence that one or more members of the class may have been exposed to high dose of radiation from the incident

    If the above is not available, then

    • Notarized affidavits from one or more employees who witnessed the incident may qualify

      Please Note: The affidavits alone, however, may not be sufficient to confirm the occurrence of an incident. As with all evidence provided, NIOSH will consider the adequacy and credibility of the evidence provided in the affidavits.

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  • The employee who witnessed the incident is deceased, in poor health, cannot be located or identified . . . what can I do?

    Notarized affidavits from one or more individuals who did not witness the incident may be substituted if the individual was directly informed by one or more employees who witnessed the incident. The affidavits alone, however, may not be sufficient to confirm the occurrence of an incident. As with all evidence provided, NIOSH will consider the adequacy and credibility of the evidence provided in the affidavits.

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SEC Petition Process


General Questions

  • What are the steps in the SEC petition process?

    The steps in the petition process are listed below:

    1. A petition is submitted to NIOSH.

    2. The petition then goes through a qualification stage to ensure that the petition meets all of the minimum requirements for review and evaluation.

    3. Once the petition meets the minimum requirements for review and evaluation, NIOSH publishes a notice in the Federal Register to notify the public of its decision to evaluate the petition.

    4. NIOSH evaluates the petition and writes a report detailing the findings.

    5. NIOSH sends the report to the Advisory Board and to the petitioner(s).

    6. NIOSH presents the evaluation of the petition to the Advisory Board in a public meeting where petitioners and other interested parties can attend. During the meeting, petitioner(s) have the opportunity to speak to the Board.

    7. The Advisory Board provides a recommendation to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).

    8. The Secretary of HHS reviews all of the information and makes a final decision.

    9. The Secretary of HHS submits the final decision to Congress.

    10. Congress reviews the Secretary of HHS's final decision. The Secretary of HHS's decision takes effect in 30 calendar days after it is submitted to Congress unless Congress otherwise provides.

    11. The Secretary of HHS sends DOL a report providing the final decision on the petition after the Congressional review period.

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  • What is NIOSH doing to help claimants understand the Special Exposure Cohort (SEC) petition process?

    NIOSH provides guidance to SEC petitioners throughout the petition process. Both an Ombudsman to NIOSH and an SEC Petition Counselor are available to help petitioners understand the requirements and information needed to file an SEC petition. They will discuss the petition with the petitioner, clarify the information submitted, and discuss deficiencies in the petition, if any. Additional information on the Ombudsman to NIOSH and the SEC Petition Counselor can be found on the Special Exposure Cohort page of our Web site.

    SEC general information, petition forms, requirements, detailed steps in the petition process, and other pertinent SEC information can also be found on the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Special Exposure Cohort (SEC) page and a general fact sheet on the SEC is located on the Print Materials page of our Web site.

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  • Who do I contact if I have additional questions about the SEC petition process?

    If you have questions regarding the SEC petition process, our SEC Petition Counselor, Mr. Joshua Kinman, can be contacted via email at dcas@cdc.gov or ocas@cdc.gov or by calling 513-533-6800 or toll-free at 1-877-222-7570. Information on filing an SEC petition can also be found on our How to Submit an SEC Petition Web page.

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Petition is Denied (does not meet the minimum requirements for review and evaluation)

  • Why would HHS deny an SEC petition?

    If an SEC petition does not meet the minimum requirements set forth in the SEC petition procedures, NIOSH may determine that the petition does not meet the minimum requirements for review and evaluation and may deny the SEC petition.

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  • What happens if the Director of NIOSH determines that an SEC petition does not meet the minimum requirements for review and evaluation?

    If the SEC petition does not meet the minimum requirements for review and evaluation, NIOSH will notify petitioners of any requirements that the petition failed to meet and provide guidance to the petitioners in developing the relevant information.

    Petitioners have 30 calendar days from the date of notification to revise the petition. If, after 30 days, the petition remains unqualified, NIOSH will issue a decision that the petition does not qualify for evaluation. Petitioners then have 30 calendar days to request a review of that decision. If a review has been requested, NIOSH will make the final decision as to whether to accept or deny the petition based on results of the review. If at the end of the 30 calendar days the petition does not meet the minimum requirements or is not reviewed, NIOSH's proposed finding will become a final decision.

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  • What happens if the petitioner does not revise the petition in 30 days?

    After the 30 calendar days from the date of the initial notification, NIOSH will let the petitioners know that the petition still does not meet the minimum requirements for review and evaluation. The petitioners will have 30 calendar days to request a review of that decision.

    If after 61 days from the original notification, the petition still does not meet the minimum requirements for review and evaluation, and a review has not been requested, NIOSH will inform the petitioners of the decision to deny the petition and provide the basis for the finding.

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  • If the petition is denied because it does not meet the minimum requirements for review and evaluation, can the petitioner request a review of that decision?

    Yes, if the petition is denied because it does not meet the minimum requirements for review and evaluation, the petitioner can request a review of that decision. The petitioners have 30 calendar days after notification that the petition remains unqualified to request the review, in writing, and must specify why the finding should be reversed.

    The request may not include any new information or documentation that was not included in the original completed petition. If petitioners obtain new information within the allotted 30 day period, petitioners should provide the new information to NIOSH. NIOSH will consider this new information as a revision to the petition.

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  • Who completes the review if a petition is denied because it does not meet the minimum requirements for review and evaluation?

    Three HHS personnel, appointed by the Director of NIOSH, who were not involved in developing the proposed finding will complete the reviews within 30 work days of the request for review.

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  • Who makes the final decision as to whether the petition meets the minimum requirements for review and evaluation?

    The Director of NIOSH makes the final decision as to whether or not the petition meets the minimum requirements for review and evaluation after the review.

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  • If the petition is denied because it does not meet the minimum requirements for review and evaluation, but the petitioner has new information/documentation to add, can the petitioner request a review?

    If the petitioner obtains new information within the allotted 30 day period, the petitioner should provide it to NIOSH. NIOSH will consider this new information as a revision of the petition.

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  • When does the acceptance/denial of a petition for review and evaluation become a final decision?

    The decision to accept or deny a petition will become final in 31 calendar days if there is not a request by the petitioner to review the decision.

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  • Once NIOSH denies a petition because it does not meet the minimum requirements for review and evaluation, can NIOSH ever go back and reconsider the findings?

    NIOSH may, at its discretion, reconsider a decision to deny a petition that does not meet the minimum requirements for review and evaluation if new information on the petition becomes available.

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Petition is Accepted (meets the minimum requirements for review and evaluation)

  • What happens when the Director of NIOSH determines that the SEC petition meets the minimum requirements for review and evaluation?

    When the Director of NIOSH determines that the SEC petition meets the minimum requirements for review and evaluation, the petitioners, the Board, and the public will be notified. NIOSH will proceed with an evaluation of the petition and provide the petitioners and the Board with information on the steps of the evaluation and other required procedures.

    An evaluation report will be given to the petitioners and the Board for review. The Board will review and discuss the evaluation report and submit a recommendation to add or deny adding the class to the SEC to the Secretary of HHS. The petitioners will be notified of the the Board's recommended decision.

    The Secretary of HHS, after considering information and recommendations provided by NIOSH, the Board, and from the administrative review, if applicable, will submit the final recommended decision to add or deny adding the class to the SEC to Congress for review. If Congress takes no action that reverses or expedites the Secretary of HHS's final decision, it will take effect in 30 calendar days after the date the Secretary of HHS's report is submitted to Congress. The Secretary of HHS will provide a report to DOL and the petitioners containing the definition of the class and either the addition of the class to the SEC and/or the result of any action by Congress to reverse or expedite the decision. A notice will also be published in the Federal Register notifying the public of all decisions.

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  • If the SEC petition meets the minimum requirements for review and evaluation, does the class get added to the SEC?

    No, if the SEC petition meets the minimum requirements for review and evaluation, the class does not automatically get added to the SEC. Meeting the minimum requirements for review and evaluation just means that the petition will continue in the SEC petition process. The petition will receive a full evaluation by NIOSH, the Board, and HHS.

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  • What does NIOSH do with petitions selected for evaluation?

    NIOSH will present the petitions to the Board with a plan for each that includes:

    1. An initial proposed definition of the class being evaluated; and

    2. A list of activities for evaluating the radiation exposure and adequacy of existing information needed to conduct a dose reconstruction for all class members.

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  • Can NIOSH combine separate petitions and evaluate them as a single petition?

    Yes, NIOSH can combine separate petitions and evaluate them as a single petition if at any point in the evaluation process NIOSH finds that the petitions represent the same class of employees.

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  • Can NIOSH begin to evaluate the petition before presenting the initial evaluation plan to the Advisory Board?

    Yes, NIOSH may begin the evaluation immediately.

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  • Can petitioners attend the Advisory Board's meeting to discuss the petition evaluation?

    Yes, petitioners will be invited to present views and information on the petition and the NIOSH evaluation report at the Board meeting.

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  • How will petitioners know when the Advisory Board will be meeting to discuss the petition evaluation?

    The date and time of the meeting will be posted in the Federal Register and on the Advisory Board page of our Web site. Joshua Kinman, the SEC Petition Counselor, also notifies petitioners of Board meetings where the petition will be discussed.

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  • Will petitioners be given a copy of the NIOSH evaluation report?

    Yes, NIOSH will provide the Advisory Board and all petitioners with a copy of the evaluation report.

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  • Can the Advisory Board request/consider additional information not addressed in the petition or the original NIOSH evaluation report?

    Yes.

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  • Can the Advisory Board request that NIOSH further evaluate a petition before making their recommended decision?

    Yes, upon the Advisory Board's request, NIOSH may further evaluate a petition. If NIOSH conducts additional evaluation, the new findings will be reported to the Board and petitioner(s).

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  • What is included in the Advisory Board's report to the Secretary?

    The Advisory Board's report includes:

    • the identification and inclusion of the relevant petition(s)

    • the definition of the class of employees covered by the recommendation

    • a recommendation as to whether or not the Secretary should designate the class as an addition the the SEC

    • the relevant criteria under 42 CFR 83.13(c) and findings and information upon which the recommendation is based, including NIOSH evaluation reports, information provided by the petitioner(s), any other information considered by the Advisory Board, and the deliberations of the Advisory Board.

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Secretary of HHS Makes a Final Decision on the Class

  • What happens after the Secretary makes a recommended decision to add or not to add a class of employees to the SEC?

    After the Secretary makes a recommended decision, the report containing the recommended decision is sent to the petitioners. This report includes a description of the relevant criteria and summary of the information and findings that the recommended decision is based upon.



  • If I'm not a petitioner, where can I find the report containing the Secretary of HHS' final recommended decision?

    The reports are posted on our Web site on the Special Exposure Cohort (SEC) and specific work site pages. The reports are also published in the Federal Register.

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  • How long does Congress have to review the Secretary's decision?

    Congress has 30 calendar days after the date the Secretary of HHS' report is submitted to Congress to review the Secretary's decision.

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  • When will the Secretary of HHS' decision take effect?

    If Congress takes no action that reverses or expedites the Secretary's decision, the decision will take effect 30 calendar days after the date the Secretary's report is submitted to Congress.

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  • How will DOL be alerted of the final decision?

    The Secretary of HHS will provide DOL and the affected petitioners a report with the definition of the class and one of the following outcomes:

    1. The addition of or the decision not to add the class to the SEC; and, if appropriate

    2. The result of any action by Congress to reverse or expedite the decision to add a class to the SEC.

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Secretary Makes a Final Decision to Add the Class to the SEC

  • What happens after the Secretary makes a recommended decision to add a class of employees to the SEC?

    When a decision is made to add a class, the Secretary provides Congress with a report of the recommended decision, the definition of the class of employees covered by the decision, and the criteria and findings upon which the decision was based for classes to be added to the SEC. Congress reviews this information and makes the final decision as to whether to add or deny adding the class to the SEC. If Congress takes no action that reverses or expedites the Secretary's decision, the Secretary's decision to add the class of employees will take effect 30 calendar days after the date the Secretary of HHS' report is submitted to Congress.


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Secretary Makes a Final Determination Denying Addition of the Class to the SEC

  • What happens after the Secretary makes a decision not to add a class of employees to the SEC?

    When a determination is made not to add a class of workers to the SEC, the Secretary provides Congress with a report of the recommended decision, the definition of the class of employees covered by the decision, and the criteria and findings upon which the decision was based for classes to be added to the SEC. The Secretary's determination takes effect on the date of the determination. Congressional action does not apply for determinations.

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  • Can petitioners appeal a decision by the Secretary to deny SEC status?

    Yes, petitioners may challenge the Secretary's final decision to deny adding a class to the SEC or a health endangerment determination by requesting an Administrative Review of the decision. The notification letter sent from NIOSH informing petitioners of the Secretary’s final determination includes instructions for requesting an Administrative Review.

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  • When and how can petitioners submit a request for an Administrative Review of a decision by the Secretary to deny SEC status?

    Petitioners must contest a final decision to deny adding a class to the SEC or a health endangerment determination by submitting a written request to the Secretary of Health and Human Services within 30 calendar days of receiving the notification letter from NIOSH. All requests for Administrative Review, as well as all other inquiries regarding the Administrative Review, must be submitted to:

    C'Reda Weeden
    Executive Secretary to the Department of Health and Human Services
    Room 603-H
    200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
    Washington, DC 20201
    Phone: 202-690-5627

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  • What information must petitioners include in a request for an Administrative Review?

    Petitioners’ request for an Administrative Review must include evidence that the Secretary’s final decision relies on a record of either (1) substantial factual errors or (2) substantial errors in the implementation of the procedures set out in the EEOICPA SEC regulations at 42 CFR part 83.

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  • Can petitioners submit new information or documentation concerning the petition along with the request for an Administrative Review?

    No, the Administrative Review is limited to the existing administrative record for each petition. Petitioners may not introduce any new information or documentation concerning the petition or the NIOSH or Advisory Board evaluation(s) that was not submitted or presented by the petitioner(s) or others to NIOSH or to the Advisory Board prior to the Advisory Board’s issuing its recommendations under 42 CFR § 83.15.

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  • Who is responsible for reviewing the Secretary’s final decision in an Administrative Review?

    A panel of three HHS personnel is responsible for reviewing the merits of the petitioner’s challenge and the resolution of the issues contested by the challenge. The panel is appointed by the Secretary and must be independent of NIOSH.

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  • What information and documents must the review panel consider when assessing the petitioner’s challenge?

    The regulations specify certain information and documents that the review panel is required to consider when assessing the petitioner’s challenge. Review panels are required to consider the views and information submitted by the petitioner(s) in the challenge, the NIOSH evaluation report(s), the report containing the recommendations of the Advisory Board issued under 42 CFR § 83.15, and the recommendations of the Director of NIOSH to the Secretary.

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  • What additional information and documents may the review panel consider when assessing the petitioner’s challenge?

    The review panel may also consider information presented or submitted to the Advisory Board and the deliberations of the Advisory Board prior to the issuance of the recommendations of the Advisory Board under 42 CFR § 83.15.

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  • What must the review panel consider when assessing the accuracy of the Secretary’s final decision?

    The review panel considers whether HHS substantially complied with the procedures set out in the regulations at 42 CFR part 83, the factual accuracy of the information supporting the final decision, and the principal findings and recommendations of NIOSH and those of the Advisory Board issued under 42 CFR § 83.15.

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  • How long does the review panel have to complete its review?

    No timeline governs the review panel’s conduct of the review. Each request and review is considered and conducted on a case-by-case basis.

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  • What happens once the review panel completes its review?

    Once the review panel completes its review, a report of the panel’s findings and recommendations is sent to the Secretary. The Secretary will then decide whether or not to revise a final decision contested by the petitioners after considering information and recommendations provided to the Secretary by the Director of NIOSH, the Advisory Board, and from the HHS administrative review panel. HHS will transmit a report of the Secretary’s decision to the petitioner(s).

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  • What happens if the Secretary decides to change a decision to deny adding a class to the SEC?

    If the Secretary decides, based on information and recommendations provided by the administrative review panel, NIOSH, and the Advisory Board, to change a designation of a class under 42 CFR § 83.17(a) or a determination under 42 CFR §83.16(c), the Secretary will transmit to Congress a report providing such change to the designation or determination. HHS will also publish a notice summarizing the decision in the Federal Register.

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  • When does a new designation by the Secretary take effect?

    A new designation of the Secretary will take effect 30 calendar days after the date on which the report of the Secretary is submitted to Congress, unless Congress takes an action that reverses or expedites the designation. Such new designations and related congressional actions will be further reported by the Secretary pursuant to paragraphs (d) and (e) of § 42 CFR 83.17.

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SEC Petition Evaluation Report

  • What is an SEC Petition Evaluation Report?

    The SEC rule requires that NIOSH evaluate all petitions that meet the minimum requirements to add a class of employees to the SEC. The evaluation is intended to provide a fair, science-based determination of whether it is feasible to estimate with sufficient accuracy the radiation doses of the class of employees through NIOSH dose reconstructions. NIOSH documents its findings in an SEC Petition Evaluation Report.

    An SEC Petition Evaluation Report typically contains the following:

    • Petitioner Requested Class

    • Class Evaluated by NIOSH

    • NIOSH Proposed Class to be Added to the SEC

    • Feasibility of Dose Reconstruction

    • Health Endangerment Determination

    • Data Sources Reviewed by NIOSH to Evaluate the Class

    • Radiological Operations Relevant to the Class

    • Available Monitoring Data for the Class

    • Class Conclusion

    • References

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  • What happens once the SEC Petition Evaluation Report is completed?

    Once completed, the SEC Petition Evaluation Report is provided to the petitioner(s) and to the Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health. The evaluation will then be discussed by the Advisory Board, which provides advice to the Secretary of Health and Human Services on whether to add a class of employees to the SEC.

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  • Does Sanford, Cohen & Associates (SC&A), the Advisory Board's contractor, review each of the SEC Petition Evaluation Reports?

    No, the Advisory Board does not always task its technical contractor, SC&A, to review the report. The Advisory Board decides when to task its technical contractor to perform a review of an SEC Petition Evaluation Report, and on what areas the review will focus.

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  • Are SC&A's reviews of the SEC Petition Evaluation Report available to the petitioners and the public?

    Yes, SC&A's pre-decisional reports are provided to the petitioners, the public, and all pertinent Advisory Board Work Groups. The reports are also posted on our Web site on the Advisory Board page, under the "Reports from the Technical Support Contractor" section, and the work site page to which they apply. Copies of the report can also be obtained by contacting NIOSH directly at 513-533-6800 (toll-free at 1-877-222-7570) or by e-mail at dcas@cdc.gov or ocas@cdc.gov.

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  • Are the SEC Petition Evaluation Reports available to the public?

    Yes, once completed, the reports are posted on our Web site on the work site page to which they apply. Copies of the report can also be obtained by contacting NIOSH directly at 513-533-6800 (toll-free at 1-877-222-7570) or by e-mail at dcas@cdc.gov or ocas@cdc.gov.

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SEC Timeframes


Petitioner

  • How long does a petitioner have to revise a petition that NIOSH has determined does not meet the minimum requirements for review and evaluation?

    The petitioner has 30 calendars days from the date of the original NIOSH notification that the petition did not meet the minimum requirements for review and evaluation to revise the petition.

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  • What happens if the petition is not revised or the petition remains unqualified within the 30 days?

    If the petition is not revised within 30 days, NIOSH will issue a decision that the petition does not meet the minimum requirements for review and evaluation.

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  • How long does a petitioner have to request a review of NIOSH's decision that the petition did not meet the minimum requirements for review and evaluation?

    The petitioner has 30 days to request a review of NIOSH's decision. If a review has been requested, NOSH will make the final decision as to whether to accept or deny the petition based on results of the review.

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  • How long does a petitioner have to contest the Secretary's decision to deny adding a class to the SEC?

    Petitioners can contest the Secretary's final decision and request an administrative review, in writing, within 30 calendar days of the final decision.

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NIOSH

  • When does NIOSH's recommended decision to accept or deny a petition become a final decision?

    The decision to accept or deny a petition because it does not meet the minimum requirements for review and evaluation becomes a final decision in 31 days if there is not a request by the petitioner to review the decision.

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  • How long does NIOSH have to submit a recommendation on an SEC petition to the Advisory Board?

    NIOSH has 180 days to provide a recommendation to the Advisory Board regarding qualified SEC petitions.

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  • When does the 180 day time frame begin and end?

    The 180 day time frame begins when NIOSH receives a petition and ends when NIOSH sends the SEC Petition Evaluation Report of that petition to the Advisory Board. This time does not include days when the petitioner is working on a response to a deficiency in the petition that affects the qualification of the petition or on clarification of information for qualifying the petition.

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  • Are there circumstances where NIOSH is unable to meet the 180-day time frame?

    NIOSH makes every effort to meet the 180-day deadline to provide an SEC Petition Evaluation Report to the petitioner and to the Advisory Board. However, there are circumstances where NIOSH is unable to meet the 180-day time frame. This is most often due to data capture problems, either where a facility is having difficulty locating or assembling the records requested, or where DOE does not have the resources available to process the data.

    The evaluation of a qualified petition includes in-depth research on the available monitoring records and worker data to determine if NIOSH has the information needed to reconstruct radiation doses with sufficient accuracy, and if it does not, whether the radiation doses may have endangered the health of the class of workers defined in the petition. This in-depth research may take longer than 180 days.

    When a petition covers a very broad time frame, it also can take additional time to evaluate the petition.

    In addition, NIOSH's evaluation often goes well beyond the issues the petitioner identified in the petition. A petition might have identified a small number of issues to qualify, but NIOSH will review past Evaluation Reports, issues that are under review by the Advisory Board and its technical contractor, and any issues that might have arisen during NIOSH's site research and add those issues to the list to be researched during the evaluation process. This ensures that NIOSH has made a thorough investigation of potential reasons that it might not be able to complete dose reconstructions with sufficient accuracy and if the radiation doses may have endangered the health of the class of workers.

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Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

  • How long does the Secretary of HHS have to submit a recommendation on a petition to Congress?

    The Secretary of HHS has 30 days from the receipt of the Advisory Board's recommendation to submit a final recommended decision on a petition to Congress.

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  • What happens if the Secretary does not meet the 30 day limit?

    The Secretary of HHS has 30 days from receipt of the Advisory Board's recommendation to submit his decision to Congress. If this 30-day deadline is not met and the Advisory Board has recommended adding the class, the class will be added to the SEC automatically, even if the Secretary's decision would have been to deny adding the class.

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  • How long will it be before the Secretary of HHS' final recommended decision takes effect?

    If Congress takes no action that reverses or expedites the Secretary's final recommended decision, the decision will take effect 30 calendar days after the date the Secretary's report is submitted to Congress.

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Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health

  • How long does the Advisory Board have to submit a recommendation to the Secretary of HHS?

    No formal timeframes have been placed on the Advisory Board to submit a recommendation to the Secretary of HHS at this time. The Board, however, has informally agreed to submit its recommendation to the Secretary within 21 days after the determination by the Advisory Board of their recommendation.

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  • Does the Advisory Board make a recommendation on the SEC petition immediately after NIOSH presents the evaluation report at the Board meeting?

    Not always. After an SEC Petition Evaluation Report is presented to the Advisory Board, the Board may form a Work Group to review the report or task the technical contractor assisting the board (Sanford Cohen & Associates-SC&A) to perform a review of the report before making a recommendation. If the Advisory Board tasks SC&A to conduct an independent review of the report, the Board's Work Group will review SC&A's findings and discuss any technical issues that have been identified. The Advisory Board will make a recommendation on the SEC petition after all identified issues have been evaluated.

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Congress

  • How long does Congress have to take an action on the designation?

    Congress has 30 days after the date the Secretary's report is submitted to Congress.

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  • What happens if Congress does not meet the 30 day limit?

    If Congress takes no action that effects the Secretary's final decision, the decision will take effect 30 calendar days after the date the Secretary's report is submitted to Congress.

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SEC Petition Appeals


Petition is Denied (does not meet the minimum requirements for review and evaluation)

  • What happens if the Director of NIOSH determines that an SEC petition does not meet the minimum requirements for review and evaluation?

    If the SEC petition does not meet the minimum requirements for review and evaluation, NIOSH will notify petitioners of any requirements that the petition failed to meet and provide guidance to the petitioners in developing the relevant information.

    Petitioners have 30 calendar days from the date of notification to revise the petition. If, after 30 days, the petition remains unqualified, NIOSH will issue a decision that the petition does not qualify for evaluation. Petitioners then have 30 calendar days to request a review of that decision. If a review has been requested, NIOSH will make the final decision as to whether to accept or deny the petition based on results of the review. If at the end of the 30 calendar days the petition does not meet the minimum requirements or is not reviewed, NIOSH's proposed finding will become a final decision.

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Secretary Makes a Final Determination Denying Addition of the Class to the SEC

  • What happens after the Secretary makes a decision not to add a class of employees to the SEC?

    When a determination is made not to add a class of workers to the SEC, the Secretary provides Congress with a report of the recommended decision, the definition of the class of employees covered by the decision, and the criteria and findings upon which the decision was based for classes to be added to the SEC. The Secretary's determination takes effect on the date of the determination. Congressional action does not apply for determinations.

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  • Can petitioners appeal a decision by the Secretary to deny SEC status?

    Yes, petitioners may challenge the Secretary's final decision to deny adding a class to the SEC or a health endangerment determination by requesting an Administrative Review of the decision. The notification letter sent from NIOSH informing petitioners of the Secretary’s final determination includes instructions for requesting an Administrative Review.

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  • When and how can petitioners submit a request for an Administrative Review of a decision by the Secretary to deny SEC status?

    Petitioners must contest a final decision to deny adding a class to the SEC or a health endangerment determination by submitting a written request to the Secretary of Health and Human Services within 30 calendar days of receiving the notification letter from NIOSH. All requests for Administrative Review, as well as all other inquiries regarding the Administrative Review, must be submitted to:

    C'Reda Weeden
    Executive Secretary to the Department of Health and Human Services
    Room 603-H
    200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
    Washington, DC 20201
    Phone: 202-690-5627

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  • What information must petitioners include in a request for an Administrative Review?

    Petitioners’ request for an Administrative Review must include evidence that the Secretary’s final decision relies on a record of either (1) substantial factual errors or (2) substantial errors in the implementation of the procedures set out in the EEOICPA SEC regulations at 42 CFR part 83.

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  • Can petitioners submit new information or documentation concerning the petition along with the request for an Administrative Review?

    No, the Administrative Review is limited to the existing administrative record for each petition. Petitioners may not introduce any new information or documentation concerning the petition or the NIOSH or Advisory Board evaluation(s) that was not submitted or presented by the petitioner(s) or others to NIOSH or to the Advisory Board prior to the Advisory Board’s issuing its recommendations under 42 CFR § 83.15.

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  • Who is responsible for reviewing the Secretary’s final decision in an Administrative Review?

    A panel of three HHS personnel is responsible for reviewing the merits of the petitioner’s challenge and the resolution of the issues contested by the challenge. The panel is appointed by the Secretary and must be independent of NIOSH.

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  • What information and documents must the review panel consider when assessing the petitioner’s challenge?

    The regulations specify certain information and documents that the review panel is required to consider when assessing the petitioner’s challenge. Review panels are required to consider the views and information submitted by the petitioner(s) in the challenge, the NIOSH evaluation report(s), the report containing the recommendations of the Advisory Board issued under 42 CFR § 83.15, and the recommendations of the Director of NIOSH to the Secretary.

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  • What additional information and documents may the review panel consider when assessing the petitioner’s challenge?

    The review panel may also consider information presented or submitted to the Advisory Board and the deliberations of the Advisory Board prior to the issuance of the recommendations of the Advisory Board under 42 CFR § 83.15.

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  • What must the review panel consider when assessing the accuracy of the Secretary’s final decision?

    The review panel considers whether HHS substantially complied with the procedures set out in the regulations at 42 CFR part 83, the factual accuracy of the information supporting the final decision, and the principal findings and recommendations of NIOSH and those of the Advisory Board issued under 42 CFR § 83.15.

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  • How long does the review panel have to complete its review?

    No timeline governs the review panel’s conduct of the review. Each request and review is considered and conducted on a case-by-case basis.

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  • What happens once the review panel completes its review?

    Once the review panel completes its review, a report of the panel’s findings and recommendations is sent to the Secretary. The Secretary will then decide whether or not to revise a final decision contested by the petitioners after considering information and recommendations provided to the Secretary by the Director of NIOSH, the Advisory Board, and from the HHS administrative review panel. HHS will transmit a report of the Secretary’s decision to the petitioner(s).

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  • What happens if the Secretary decides to change a decision to deny adding a class to the SEC?

    If the Secretary decides, based on information and recommendations provided by the administrative review panel, NIOSH, and the Advisory Board, to change a designation of a class under 42 CFR § 83.17(a) or a determination under 42 CFR §83.16(c), the Secretary will transmit to Congress a report providing such change to the designation or determination. HHS will also publish a notice summarizing the decision in the Federal Register.

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  • When does a new designation by the Secretary take effect?

    A new designation of the Secretary will take effect 30 calendar days after the date on which the report of the Secretary is submitted to Congress, unless Congress takes an action that reverses or expedites the designation. Such new designations and related congressional actions will be further reported by the Secretary pursuant to paragraphs (d) and (e) of § 42 CFR 83.17.

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Page last updated: April 9, 2014
Page last reviewed: August 25, 2014
Content Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Division of Compensation Analysis and Support