Black Lung Benefits

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Coal miners are especially vulnerable to developing black lung disease, which is caused by breathing in coal dust particles over a prolonged time period. 

What is Black Lung?

Coal workers' pneumoconiosis, otherwise known as black lung, is an environmental disease caused by prolonged exposure to coal dust particulates. The accumulation of coal dust in the lungs may lead to scarring in the lungs, which in turn can make breathing difficult.

It works like this: as you breathe in coal dust, small particles settle in your airways and lungs. This triggers your body's immune system to try to eliminate these particles, causing inflammation. Over time, this inflammation can cause scarring, also known as fibrosis. Its most extreme form is called progressive massive fibrosis.

According to the National Institutes of Health, there has been a resurgence of progressive massive fibrosis, particularly among miners in the Appalachian coalfields.

Federal Black Lung Benefits

The Black Lung Benefits Act, codified in 30 U.S.C. §§ 921–925 and 931-945, provides monthly payments and medical benefits to coal miners deemed totally disabled due to coal workers' pneumoconiosis arising from employment in or around coal mines. The law also provides for benefits for surviving spouses of deceased coal miners if the disease caused or accelerated the miner's death.

The Black Lung Claim Process

To apply for federal black lung benefits, you must file an application with the Department of Labor.

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This website is an advertisement for legal services. Merely contacting this office does not establish an attorney-client relationship. The information provided herein is for informational purposes only, and is not meant to constitute legal advice. You should seek legal advice that is specific to your circumstances. Offices located in Kentucky. Our firm serves clients in all 50 states. Services may be performed by others.  

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