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What to know about the Black Lung Benefits Act

| May 29, 2021 | Black Lung

Coal miners suffering from black lung disease have options when it comes to federal workers’ compensation benefits. To date, the disease lacks a cure. However, medical treatments exist to prolong the lives of those suffering from these severe illnesses. Advancements continue. Yet, for many of those suffering from the disease, time is not always on their side.

The Black Lung Benefits Act (BLBA) is an option to make the lives of stricken coal miners and their loved ones to receive much-needed financial support following diagnoses of what is formally known as pneumoconiosis.

Options for much-needed compensation

The program is under the purview of the Division of Coal Mine Workers’ Compensation (DCMWC), a part of the U.S. Department of Labor Employment Standards Administration’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Program. Together, they have the authority to provide those who worked or used to work in and around coal mines, including their dependent survivors, with monthly payments and medical benefits.

Medical treatments and related and reasonable travel expenses are covered, provided they are within the maximum allowable fee. In addition, those treated for black lung do not have to worry about co-payments.

Additional medical services include the following:

  • Prescription drugs
  • Hospitalization
  • Medical equipment
  • Outpatient therapy

The first step is to fill out and submit an application. Once filed, patients must undergo a medical exam to verify the total disability caused by black lung disease, ranging from a physical exam to a pulmonary functions test.

Applying for black lung benefits is complex and presents significant challenges. Dealing with a prominent bureaucracy is daunting at best. The help of an attorney can help you navigate through every step of the process.