Benefits Available to Vets Exposed to Radiation

Benefits Available to Radiation Exposed Vets

The November issue of AARP Bulletin (which should be in your mailbox soon, if you

photo courtesy of Google Images

 or a family member is a subscriber) shares important information on a search conducted by the National Association of Atomic Veterans; they’re looking for the approximately 195,000 vets who were exposed to radiation from atmospheric nuclear tests between 1945 and 1962.

These men and women could receive a one-time $75,000 benefit from the U.S. government under the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act of 1990 or a monthly disability payment of up to $2,673 from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Few veterans have applied for these benefits. Their widows and children are eligible too if their family member died before receiving a benefit.

For more information on how to obtain benefits and how to obtain your records, I located this site: Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute for further links. 

Per the above site, the program description of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act states that:

“On October 5, 1990, Congress passed the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (“RECA” or “the Act”), 42 U.S.C. § 2210 note, providing for compassionate payments to individuals who contracted certain cancers and other serious diseases as a result of their exposure to radiation released during above-ground nuclear weapons tests or as a result of their exposure to radiation during employment in underground uranium mines. The 1990 Act provided fixed payments in the following amounts: $50,000 to individuals residing or working “downwind” of The Nevada Test Site; $75,000 for workers participating in above-ground nuclear weapons tests; and $100,000 for uranium miners.”


Post By Shelley Webb (330 Posts)

Shelley Webb is a Registered Nurse and founder of The Intentional Caregiver. She was blessed to have cared for her father in her home for more than 4 years.

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  1. Shirley W. Hostnik says:

    My husband,Carl,was a Navy vet ,who viewed the bomb test at Bikini Atoll.Years later he was diagnosed with mylodysplasia and consequently died.His dog tag #is252-24-68.

  2. Shirley,

    I am so sorry to hear that. Did they recognize then that this was a result of the testing? Were you able to receive benefits for yourself?



  3. Charles S. says:

    My brother died in 2006 after being exposed to radiation working on Minuteman missiles in Missouri during the 60s.

  4. I’m very sorry. The public rarely hears about how its own citizens have suffered. I’m hearing many similar stories. :(

  5. from 1964……1973 a nuclear power plant operated at Mc Murdo Sound, Antarctica. It ran on enriched Uramiun 235, and had nearly 500 malfunctions, after years of battling the USN, VA, DTRA, The VBDR and DTRA finally admitted the exposure, we know of nearly 200 vets that have died from CANCERS related to Ionizing radiation, not to mention the possible hundreds more, we lost track of when they retired..
    How long will it take the VA to compensate, these claims

  6. I hope that will be soon. My former husband is finally being compensated for his cancer which was from Agent Orange in Vietnam, so it COULD happen.

  7. Pete Ayala says:

    I participated in the atmospheric testing at Johnston Island in 1962. I was just diagnosed with primary liver cancer. None of the cancer physicians have been able to tell me why I have it. I am about to file for increased disability rating with the VA. As I barely recall there was a claim that we were all wearing dosimeters while there but I frankly don’t remember and I would question the accuracy of the recording because while there all I saw was mass confusion as I was there for the end of the testing under Dominic I. As an example I was to have returned to Hawaii and the states aboard one of the old Navy ships that were used to keep us off the island during the test. I managed to convince an Air Force Colonel to get me a ride aboard an Air Force aircraft rather than go by ship. When my ride showed up I got on and nobody even knew I had left and never heard anymore about it. As we all know the government can manufacture anything to support its position, How can I counter their disclaimer, if it comes up, that “my dosimeter” reading was 0? Also, if I do get an increase in my disability rating, can I still file for the $75K under the DOJ program?

  8. John F. Morgan says:

    I was a Rad Safety Officer, Upshot Knothole, Mercury Nevada 1953. Toward the end of tests, one more trip to the area would have “burned me out” so I was saved for one massive dosage. That time came when my driver and I were ordered to cross the fall out area on Mercury Highway within much less than an hour after detonation , to measure the radiation levels at known distances such that radiation levels and dosages could be projected for those who had experiments within and beyond ,
    My driver and I carefully measured distances and radiation levels as well as calculated shielding in the vehicle until we went off scale in the vehicle (50 R per hour) and then got another distance and reading when the meter measured again. Allowable peace time dosage was higher then than now. 3.5 R as I recall. Roughly 2,5 minutes at the average for when off scale would have exceeded the annual limit and we traveled slowly to make sure we got accurate readings, going and coming. The DOD doesn’t come close to the dosage I know I received . Perhaps the dosimeter was not readable because of the intensity.
    In any case, my body is successfully fighting the evolution of bone cancer (multiple myeloma) The bone marrow biopsy confirms that it is there but I have put my body/immune system into a cancer fighting mode. This past week my oncologist told me that my abnormal protein levels in my blood are now identical to those of two years ago and to continue to do what I am doing.. We will drop back to checking every six months.
    I read/study and have taken responsibility for my health. Cancer can be defeated. I admit. I am a slacker as there is more that I can do but I hate the taste of turmeric/curcumin.

  9. John F. Morgan says:

    To the admin…. What has happened to the St. George, Ut area is so sad to me. I was an army officer, Radiological Safety but a peon in the greater happening. Several shots were delayed because of wind direction and projected fall out areas with St. George in mind. In fact teams were sent there to monitor when the wind changed. From what I read, cancer of numerous forms are far more prevalent in that area than other locations.

  10. I have an oncologist friend who was sent to St. George specifically for that reason.

    Blessings to you as you navigate this disease. Apparently you are doing it well.

  11. I was part of the Enewetak Atoll Radiological Clean-Up. We were all exposed and had no protective gear. We have been denied benefits and healthcare. It is disturbing to see how the DOD and VA actually help the Veteran’s. They have paid and supplied the Enewetak Government (Republic of Marshall Islands) for healthcare, damages and benefits. They have paid all DOD contractors as well as Civilian Workers, as well as ALL Foreign Nationals and Foreign Civilian Workers, but the American Vet’s have received ANYTHING. This is a blatant slap in the face to All American Veteran’s. We have even been removed from the Atomic Veteran status. Because of this amendment, we are only entitled to breathe American Air. They will surely be taking that one benefit way from us soon. I just know it.

  12. It makes me incredibly sad when I hear these stories. Our veterans deserve more… much more. I wish there was something I could do to help.


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