Special Benefits for Disabled Coal Miners

To pay benefits to coal miners who have become disabled due to pneumoconiosis (black lung disease) or other chronic lung disease arising from coal mine employment and their dependents or survivors.

Last Known Status
Deleted 03/12/2004 (This program is no longer funded)
Program Number
Federal Agency
Types of Assistance
Direct Payments with Unrestricted Use.
Uses and Use Restrictions
Monthly cash benefits are paid to entitled coal miners and, under prescribed circumstances, their widows, children, surviving divorced wife, parents, brothers and sisters. There are no restrictions on the use of benefits, although the right to future benefits is not transferable or assignable.
Federal Mine Safety and Health Amendments Act of 1977, Title IV, as amended; 30 U.S.C. 901-945.
Eligibility Requirements
Applicant Eligibility
In order to become entitled, the miner must have become "disabled" (as defined in the Act) from black lung or another chronic lung disease arising from coal mine employment and have applied for benefits. Widow(er)s of coal miners whose deaths or disability at the time of death resulted from black lung or other chronic lung disease arising from coal mine employment are also eligible for benefits as are other categories of beneficiaries.
Beneficiary Eligibility
Disabled coal miners and their eligible dependents or survivors.
Proof of employment in coal mine and of disability due to black lung or other chronic lung disease arising from coal mine employment. Also, proof of death, relationship, and dependency for those who are eligible.
Application and Award Process
Preapplication Coordination
None. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.
Application Procedure
Since 1973 no new applications have been accepted by the Social Security Administration (SSA) for this program except for applications from survivors of miners or widows who were receiving black lung benefits under this program when the miner or widow died. Beginning October 1, 1997, the Department of Labor (DOL) now has the responsibility for adjudication of all new Miner's claims. Legislation enacted in 2002 (P.L. 107-275) formally transferred responsibility for this program to DOL.
Award Procedure
After the application is reviewed, a notice is mailed to the applicant (or representative payee).
The claim must be filed within 6 months after the death of the miner or widow.
Range of Approval/Disapproval Time
Not applicable.
SSA is responsible for decisions made for cases appealed at the hearing level or above.
Not applicable.
Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
This program has no statutory formula or matching requirements.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Not applicable.
Post Assistance Requirements
Any change in an eligibility requirement or in a factor affecting the amount of benefits, such as a change in workers' compensation, must be reported when it occurs. Pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding between SSA and DOL, beginning October 1, 1997, DOL is responsible for administering and maintaining the black lung benefit rolls while SSA continues to be responsible for administrative hearings and policy.
Program Accomplishments
At the mid-point of fiscal year 2001, 86,000 miners, widows and dependents received monthly cash benefits under this program. At the mid-point of fiscal year 2002 this number is expected to decrease to 78,000. For fiscal year 2003, the number of beneficiaries is estimated to be 70,400.
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Benefit Payments) These figures represent benefits actually paid, or expected to be paid. FY 02 $480,883,048; FY 03 est $445,813,000; and FY 04 est $410,377,000.
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
Benefits payable to miners or widows are increased when there are dependents in the family. The basic black lung benefit was $534.60 in January 2003. Maximum benefit payable beginning in January 2003 was $1,069.20.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
Code of Federal Regulations, Title 20, Parts 401, 410, 422.
Information Contacts
Regional or Local Office
Consult Appendix IV of the Catalog.
Headquarters Office
Office of Public Inquiries, Room 4100, Annex, Social Security Administration, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21235. Telephone: (410) 965-2736; Department of Labor, Employment Standards Administration, Division of Coal Mine Workers' Compensation, 200 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, D.C. 20210, Telephone: (202) 693-0047.
Website Address
Examples of Funded Projects
Not applicable.
Criteria for Selecting Proposals
Not applicable.
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