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The Division of Coal Mine Workers' Compensation in the U.S. Department of Labor administers the Black Lung Benefits Act. All beneficiaries are now served by DCMWC, including those who received benefits under Part B of the Act and were formerly served by the Social Security Administration, and those who filed for benefits with the Department of Labor under Part C. Benefits are paid to miners and former miners who are totally disabled by pneumoconiosis (black lung disease) and to their eligible survivors, with supplementary allowances for dependents. Former miners are also entitled to receive medical treatment for their employment- related respiratory condition. The Division also reviews and makes eligibility determinations on benefit claims. Judicious and accurate claims decisions, timely benefit payments, a high level of program service, and compliance assistance are the program's most important goals.
Over 102,000 beneficiaries and 18,000 dependents received benefits in 2004. During Fiscal Year 2004, the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund provided over $292 million in monthly benefits to beneficiaries. DCMWC administered another $380 million in monthly benefits under Part B. The Trust Fund paid out over $54 million for the diagnosis and treatment of miners for pneumoconiosis. The Division of Coal Mine Workers’ Compensation also monitored direct monthly benefits paid to beneficiaries by coal mine operators or their insurance companies.
The Division began Fiscal Year 2004 with 5,049 claims for benefits pending, and received an additional 4,489 claims during the year. Decisions were issued in 6,495 claims, leaving 3,149 determinations to be made. The Division also initiated payments to 1,549 survivors who were automatically entitled to benefits following the death of the miner.
Black Lung benefits form a substantial percentage of income for many recipients. Benefit payments are issued monthly. The Program is proud of its track record when it comes to benefit delivery and customer service. Recipients can count on receiving their payments every month, and that when they write or call to report changes or ask questions, they will receive a prompt and courteous response. The Program also contacts every beneficiary by mail annually in order to make sure that benefit information is up-to-date.
The Program provides medical treatment for respiratory conditions related to treatment for black lung disease. Program beneficiaries are eligible for prescription drugs, in-patient and out-patient services, and doctors’ visits. In addition, home oxygen and other medical equipment, home nursing services, and pulmonary rehabilitation may be covered with a doctor’s prescription. In FY 2004, approximately 336,000 medical treatment bills were processed. Medical treatment bills are monitored and subject to audit to ensure that the requested treatments are necessary and that payments are correct.
In an effort to assist coal mine operators comply with the requirements of the Black Lung Benefits Act to obtain workers’ compensation insurance for occupational disease, the Program has posted guides to insurance requirements and the form necessary to report coverage elsewhere on this website. Please refer to the guides if you are an employer working in the extraction, transportation, or processing of coal and want to find out more about whether you need to obtain workers’ compensation insurance.
Click here if you represent an insurer and need instructions on reporting an insured company’s policy to DCMWC.
Claims are serviced at one of nine District Offices. To see where a claim may be located, or if you wish to contact any of our District Offices for any reason, click on this DCMWC Contacts link. If you wish to send an e-mail comment or question, send it to DCMWC-Public@dol.gov.