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Division of Coal Mine Workers' Compensation (DCMWC)

Byrd Amendments Implementation

The Division of Coal Mine Workers' Compensation has issued a Final Rule implementing amendments to the Black Lung Benefits Act passed by Congress in 2010. Commonly called the Byrd Amendments after their sponsor, the late Senator Robert Byrd, the amendments restored two provisions that had been eliminated by the 1981 Amendments to the Act: 30 U.S.C. 921(c)(4), which provides a presumption of total disability or death due to pneumoconiosis where the miner had at least 15 years of underground (or comparable surface) coal mine employment and a totally disabling respiratory impairment, and 30 U.S.C. 932(l), which provides automatic entitlement to benefits for eligible survivors of miners who were awarded benefits based on lifetime claims. The amendments are contained in Section 1556 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The Final Rule was published on September 25, 2013. The new regulations address

  • automatic entitlement of certain survivors, including those whose claims were previously denied under the law in effect prior to the Byrd Amendments; and
  • invocation and rebuttal standards for the reinstated 15-year presumption as it applies to both miners' and survivors' claims.

In addition, the regulations include several changes to obsolete or unnecessary rules, in accordance with Executive Order 13563.

The new regulations will be effective October 25, 2013.

Important Reference Materials - Information

RIN 1240-AA07: Access the Spring 2013 Unified Agenda item previously published by the Department of Labor.

78 FR 59101: Access the Notice of Final Rule on the Federal Register's website.

PDF version of the Final Rule from the DCMWC website.