Academic journal article Social Security Bulletin

Black Lung Benefits

Academic journal article Social Security Bulletin

Black Lung Benefits

Article excerpt

The Black Lung benefit program established by the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969 provides monthly benefit payments to coal miners totally disabled as a result of pneumoconiosis, to the widows of coal miners who died as a result of pneumoconiosis, and to their dependents. The Social Security Administration (SSA) was responsible for the payment and administration of these Part B benefits (miner, survivor, and dependent) with respect to claims filed through June 30, 1973 (and certain survivor cases, before December 31, 1973).

On October 1, 1997, responsibility for maintenance and payment of Part B was transferred from SSA to the Department of Labor (DOL); SSA, however, maintains responsibility for conducting formal hearings necessary to resolve contested issues with respect to Part B claims. Only data on these Part B claims are reported on in this Supplement. Part C claims are reported in the OWCP Annual Report to Congress, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs.

Under the Black Lung Benefits Act of 1972, DOL was assigned jurisdiction over Part C benefits, generally claims filed July 1, 1973 and later. Different financing provisions are applicable to these claims.

Under the law, the basic Black Lung benefit rate is 37-1/2 percent of the monthly pay rate for federal employees in the first step of grade GS-2. The basic rate to a miner or widow may be increased according to the number of qualified dependents-50 percent of the basic benefit rate if one dependent qualifies, 75 percent for two dependents, and 100 percent for three or more dependents.

Since Black Lung payments are tied directly to federal employee salary scales, increases are automatically payable when federal salaries are increased.

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