Fighting for Justice in the Coalfields

Dept. of Labor accepting comments on proposed amendments to the Black Lung Benefits Act

The Department of Labor is accepting comments on proposed regulations to implement the amendments to the Black Lung Benefits Act.  Below is a summary of the proposed regulations and  a link to the complete document and comment submission process.  Comments will be accepted until May 29, 2012.


Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs

Regulations Implementing the Byrd Amendments to the Black Lung Benefits Act: Determining Coal Miners’ and Survivors’ Entitlement to Benefits

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking; request for comments.

This document contains proposed regulations implementing amendments to the Black Lung Benefits Act (BLBA or Act) made by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA amended the BLBA in two ways. First, it revived a rebuttable presumption of total disability or death due to pneumoconiosis for certain claims. Second, it reinstituted derivative entitlement to benefits for certain eligible survivors of coal miners whose lifetime benefit claims were awarded because they were totally disabled due to pneumoconiosis. These survivors need not also prove that the miner died due to coal workers’ pneumoconiosis.  The proposed rules would clarify how the statutory presumption may be invoked and rebutted and the application and scope of the derivative-survivor-entitlement provision. The proposed rules also eliminate several unnecessary or obsolete provisions.

DATES: The Department invites written comments on the proposed regulations from interested parties. Written comments must be received by May 29, 2012.

To read the entire proposal and to submit comments, please visit!documentDetail;D=WCPO-2012-0001-0001

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