96.005: Special Benefits for Disabled Coal Miners

Popular Name: Black Lung

Objectives: 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.



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.

Credentials/Documentation: 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.


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. Miner's claims filed after June 30, 1973, are forwarded by SSA to the Department of Labor for processing and payment.

Award Procedure: After the application is reviewed, a notice is mailed to the applicant (or representative payee).

Deadlines: The claim must be filed within 6 months after the death of the miner or widow.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time: Not applicable.

Appeals: An applicant whose claim is denied by SSA should contact the local SSA office.

Renewals: Not applicable.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals: Not applicable.

Examples of Funded Projects: Not applicable.

Range & 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 $427.40 in January 1996. Maximum benefit payable beginning in January 1996 was $854.80.


96.005 PROGRAM ACCOMPLISHMENTS: At the mid-point of fiscal year 1995, 150,000 miners, widows and dependents received monthly cash benefits. At the mid-point of fiscal year 1996, it is estimated that 139,000 miners, widows and dependents received monthly cash benefits under this program. At the mid-point of fiscal year 1997, the number will decrease to 127,000.



Type of Assistance: Direct Payments with Unrestricted Use.

Obligations: (Benefit Payments) FY 95 $711,246,000; FY 96 est $666,000,000; and FY 97 est $631,000,000.

Budget Account Number: 75-0409-0-1-601.

Authorization: Federal Mine Safety and Health Amendments Act of 1977, Title IV, as amended, Public Laws 91-173, 92-303, 95-164, 95-227, 95-239, 95-251, 96-222, 97-119, 98-426, and 101-509; 30 U.S.C. 901-945.

Regulations, Guidelines, & Literature: Code of Federal Regulations, Title 20, Parts 401, 410, 422.


Regional or Local Office: Consult Appendix IV of the Catalog.

Headquarters Office: Office of Public Inquiries, Room 4100, Annex, Social Security Administration, 6401 Security Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21235. Phone: (410) 965-2736. Use the same number for FTS.


Formula & Matching Requirements: This program has no statutory formula or matching requirements.

Length & Time Phasing of Assistance: Not applicable.

Uses & Use Restrictions: Monthly cash benefits are paid to entitled coal miners and, under prescribed circumstances, their widows, children, parents, brothers, and sisters. There are no restrictions on the use of benefits, although the right to future benefits is not transferrable or assignable.


Reports: 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.

Audits: None.

Records: None.

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