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Division of Coal Mine Workers' Compensation (DCMWC)

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Fact Sheet ESA 91-14

Black Lung Benefits

The Black Lung Benefits Program provides:

  • monthly payments and medical treatment benefits to coal miners totally disabled from pneumoconiosis (black lung) arising from their employment in or around the nation's coal mines;
  • monthly payments to eligible surviving dependents.


Who may file claims?

Present and former coal miners (including certain transportation and construction workers who were exposed to coal mine dust), and their surviving dependents, including surviving spouses, orphaned children, and totally dependent parents, brothers and sisters, may file claims.


Changes in Eligibility Requirements

The Black Lung Amendments of 1981 eliminated certain presumptions of disease and disability in miners' claims filed on or after January 1,1982, and eliminated presumptions of death due to pneumoconiosis in survivors' claims.

A survivors claim filed on or after January 1, 1982, in which there was no previous miner's award, must generally demonstrate that the miner's death was due to pneumoconiosis.


Black Lung Disability Trust Fund

The Black Lung Disability Trust Fund finances the cost of black lung claims when:

  • the miner's last coal mine employment was before January 1, 1970;
  • no responsible coal mine operator has been identified in claims where the miner's last coal employment was after December 31,1969.

The Trust Fund is supported by a tax paid by coal mine operators on each ton sold.


To File a Black Lung Claim...

Contact the nearest Department of Labor Black Lung office or Social Security Administration office.

The staff will have the necessary Department of Labor forms and will help you file a claim.


Medical Examinations

Once a coal miner files a claim, the Department of Labor will authorize a medical examination to determine the presence of disabling black lung disease. The Department of Labor will pay for the medical examination, and the miner will be reimbursed for the reasonable cost of transportation to and from the authorized examination.