Division of Coal Mine Workers' Compensation (DCMWC)

The Black Lung Benefits Act requires each coal mine operator to secure the payment of its potential benefits liability by either qualifying as a self-insurer or by purchasing and maintaining a commercial insurance contract.

The Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) is responsible for authorizing coal mine operators to self-insure and for setting the appropriate security amounts. Securing benefits liability helps protect the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund, which pays benefits when operators fail to make payments due to bankruptcy or other reasons.

Benefit payments to miners and survivors are not, have not, and will not be in jeopardy – Black Lung Disability Trust Fund beneficiaries will always receive their benefits. If necessary, the U.S. Treasury provides funding for all benefit obligations.

Recently, OWCP has taken steps to reform the self-insurance process for coal mine operators to better support the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund. These steps include procedures and analytical tools to ensure that OWCP fulfills its fiduciary duty to protect the Trust Fund. In addition, OWCP has requested updated information and financial data from coal mine operators to evaluate their self-insurance status. Forms for collecting this information are available on DCMWC's website. OWCP has completed the majority of the evaluations and the operators have been notified of their new security requirements.

More information on the Black Lung Program and the Division of Coal Mine Workers' Compensation is available online.