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Who is eligible under the Federal Black Lung Benefits Program?

Coal miners subject themselves to dangerous toxins every day on the job. Black lung is just one of many types of diseases and health problems that can develop as a result of such exposure. Although this disease is debilitating and often fatal, the Federal Black Lung Program offers special benefits to mine workers who have contracted this awful disease. More specifically, the Black Lung Benefits Act gives financial compensation, medical coverage and other assistance to miners suffering from pneumoconiosis and their widows.

The Black Lung Benefits Act also provides free customer service and other information to those in the process of making a claim for benefits. Individuals who benefit from this customer service are coal miners and their widows. Coal mine operators, insurance carriers and attorneys can also make use of the customer service program. Physicians, hospitals and their attorneys can also call the customer service line for information. Similarly, the Social Security Administration, congressional representatives and other government agencies might call for useful information.

Coal miners who have been diagnosed with black lung and their family members may qualify for financial compensation to help with their living expenses. They may also be eligible to receive compensation that covers their medical care, medical equipment, home oxygen services and nursing home services. Benefits to cover prescription medication and rehabilitation services are also offered.

It is never easy to deal with illness, but suffering the financial consequences of being disabled and unable to work makes the situation even more difficult to bear. Fortunately, for coal miners who have black lung disease, there are options available to help pay for the medical assistance they require through the Federal Black Lung Program. Maryland workers who are curious if they may qualify for such assistance can reach out to an attorney who is familiar with workers' compensation and injured worker benefits programs to find out what their next steps should be.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, "Division of Coal Mine Workers' Compensation (DCMWC)" Aug. 25, 2014

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