What is the Black Lung Benefits Act?
The federal government established the Black Lung Benefits Act to assist coal miners who have developed pneumoconiosis, known as Black Lung Disease. The act provides monthly payments and medical benefits to coal miners who are totally disabled by the disease. Their dependent survivors may also receive monthly payments if the coal miner dies of the illness.
What Does the Act Cover?
Medical treatment for Black Lung Disease as well as travel for treatment is covered under the act. There is no co-payment required but there is a maximum allowable amount. In addition, any travel payments must be reasonable. In order to qualify, you must complete an application and undergo a pulmonary evaluation to determine if the disease has caused you to be permanently disabled. The examination is free of charge and consists of a physician examination, a chest x-ray, a pulmonary function test and an arterial blood gas test.
Once your application is approved, you may be eligible for medical treatment payments for:
- Doctor and hospital visits, including consultations
- Inpatient and outpatient hospital charges
- Emergency room visits for acute conditions
- Laboratory testing
- Chest x-rays
- Prescription drugs approved by the Federal Black Lung Program
- Ambulance services
- Travel to doctors, clinics or other medical facility for up to 200 miles or less, round trip
The act does not cover treatment for other diseases such as diabetes or heart conditions. Medical treatment for spouses and other family members are not included nor is dental or eye care. X-rays for other parts of the body are also not included. Home health services or home nursing care are not covered nor are personal hospital services such as television or telephone. Over-the counter drugs and prescriptions for other conditions are also not covered. The act does not cover an Intermittent Positive Pressure Breathing machine at home, costs of residence in nursing homes or some home medical equipment.
Claims for the Black Lung Act are covered by the Division of Coal Mine Workers’ Compensation through the United States Department of Labor Employment Standards Administration’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs. All applications are reviewed and approved by the agency.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with Black Lung Disease, contact Lundy Law today to learn what rights you may have. In addition to compensation from your employer for your illness, you may be eligible to apply for the Black Lung Benefits Act. You can arrange for an initial, no obligation consultation by calling 1-800-Lundy Law or completing the easy form on our website.