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Coal Mine Workers' Compensation

Program Descriptions

Program Number



Coal Mine Workers' Compensation


Federal Agency




Federal Mine Safety and Health Amendments Act of 1977, as amended, Public Laws 91-173, 92-303, 95-239, and 97-119.






To provide benefits to coal miners who have become totally disabled due to coal workers' pneumoconiosis (CWP), and to widows and other surviving dependents of miners who have died of this disease.


Types of Assistance

Direct Payments with Unrestricted Use.


Uses and Use Restrictions

Monthly cash benefits are paid to coal miners disabled from coal workers' pneumoconiosis and to widows and other survivors of miners who have died of this disease. There are no restrictions on the use of these benefits by a beneficiary. Medical payments for treatment related to coal workers' pneumoconiosis are available to miners only after January 1, 1974.


Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

The miner (including some workers involved in coal transportation in and around mines and coal mine construction workers) must have worked in the Nation's coal mines or a coal preparation facility and become "totally disabled" (as defined in the Act) from pneumoconiosis. The applicant may be able to work in areas other than coal mines and still be eligible for benefits. Benefits to miner shall be reduced on account of excess earnings as determined under sections 203(b) through (1) of the Social Security Act for claims filed on or after January 1, 1982. Widows and other surviving dependents of coal miners whose death resulted from coal workers' pneumoconiosis are also eligible for benefits with earnings offsets applicable to certain classes of dependents. Applicants can reside anywhere in the world at the time they apply.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Disabled coal miners, widows and other surviving dependents of the deceased.


Medical tests, at Department of Labor expense, which include an x-ray, pulmonary function study, physical examination, and blood gas tests. Proof of work in or around a coal mine or coal preparation facility. Also proof of death, relationship and dependency required for widows and other survivors applying. Identification of a responsible mine operator is made as specified in regulations published in the Code of Federal Regulations (20 CFR 725).


Application and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Applicants are required to state on the claim form whether a claim for disability benefits due to the same condition has been filed under any State or other Federal workers' compensation law. Benefits received as a result of such a claim could be offset against Federal benefits. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.

Application Procedure

Telephone, write-in, or visit the local Division of Coal Mine Workers' Compensation district or local office listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog.

Award Procedure

After review of the application is completed, the applicant will be notified by mail.


A miner must file a claim for benefits within 3 years after a medical determination of total disability due to pneumoconiosis or within 3 years after the date of enactment of Public Law 95-239, whichever comes later, (Black Lung Benefits Reform Act of 1977). There are no time limitations for dependent survivors to file claims.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

From 2 months to 8 months for initial findings depending on availability of supporting evidence.


Notify Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP), Employment Standards Administration. The appeal process includes formal hearings, Benefits Review Board consideration, and review by Federal courts, as appropriate.



Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Not applicable.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

The period of total disability with no monetary limit. Death: Spouse - until death or remarriage; children - until age 18 or to age 23 if qualified as a student as defined by the Act unless under a disability as defined in Section 223(d) of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 423(d). Employers or their insurance carriers are required to begin compensation within 30 days of the initial determination of eligibility. Payments are disbursed on a monthly basis.


Post Assistance Requirements


Any change in an eligibility requirement or in a factor affecting the amount of benefits, such as, State workers' compensation awards, or change in status of a dependent, must be reported to the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs when it occurs.






Financial Information

Account Identification



(Benefits) FY 07 $303,373; FY 08 est $276,221; and FY 09 est $250,130. These are benefit under Part B only Est. Part C Obligations: FY 07 $224,000, FY 08 203,000, FY 09 183,000.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

On January 1, 2006, new monthly rates went into effect for Black Lung benefits that included a 2.1 percent increase over the 2005 benefit amounts. The new rates are as follows: Part-B BLACK LUNG MONTHLY BENEFIT RATES (claims approved by the Social Security Administration - payments received around the 3rd of each month) Primary beneficiary.. $574.00 Primary beneficiary and one dependent.. $861.00 Primary beneficiary and two dependents ... $1005.00 Primary beneficiary and three or more dependents.. $1,149.00 Part-C BLACK LUNG MONTHLY BENEFIT RATES (claims approved by the Department of Labor - payments received around the 15th of each month) Primary beneficiary. $574.60 Primary beneficiary and one dependent.. $861.80 Primary beneficiary and two dependents.. $1,005.50 Primary beneficiary and three or more dependents.. $1,149.10.


Program Accomplishments

Over 102,000 beneficiaries and 18,000 dependents received benefits in 2005. During Fiscal Year 2005, 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.


Regulations, Guidelines and Literature

Code of Federal Regulations, Title 20, Parts 410.401 et seq., 718, 722, 725, 726, and 727. Also, Black Lung Amendments of 1981, 30 U.S.C. 901 et seq. "Black Lung Benefits," Fact Sheet No. ESA 91-14.


Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

Local Division of Coal Mine Workers' Compensation district offices are listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog.

Headquarters Office

Division of Coal Mine Workers' Compensation, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, Employment Standards Administration, Department of Labor, Washington, DC 20210. Telephone: (202) 693-0046. Contact: James L. DeMarce, Director.

Web Site Address


Related Programs



Examples of Funded Projects

Not applicable.


Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Not applicable.


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