Stephens and Stephens Black Lung attorneys help coal miners disabled by black lung disease and their survivors file claims for compensation under the Federal Black Lung Program and the Division of Coal Mine Workers’ Compensation. Under the Act, the claimants receive monthly compensation and medical coverage for coal workers’ pneumoconiosis. For prompt payment, these funds are sourced from the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund and responsible coal mine operators.
What is the black lung disease claim?
Coal mine workers diagnosed with coal workers’ pneumoconiosis can file a personal injury claim for compensation from their employer or former employer if it can be proven the disease was due to exposure to coal dust at work. After diagnosis with the disease, the injured persons should file a claim within three years. The employee or survivor receives monthly compensation and medical benefits if the claim is accepted.
We help you file a black lung claim
Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with black lung disease? Even though you cannot reverse coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, filing for compensation can help you with medical coverage to manage the illness and monthly benefits for your needs and those of your dependents.
Why you need an attorney for your black lung claim
Filing for black lung benefits is not easy. A claimant needs an attorney’s representation for quick and effective filing of black lung claims and representation before the Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ).
Stephens and Stephens LLP only charge claimants to whom black lung benefits have been awarded. If your claim is accepted, your former employer or the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund pays your lawyer’s fees.
It is best to contact our black lung claims attorney, Hugh Stephens, as soon as you are diagnosed with black lung disease. This allows timely filing of your claim and prompt payment of benefits. We represent black lung claimants across the country. Our attorney fees are as provided by the law.
An experienced attorney helps you gather the required evidence for your case before the OALJ. These include treatment and hospitalization records, medical opinions, and tests, such as chest x-rays, blood gas study, and pulmonary function study reports.
An experienced Black lung attorney will also help you with your testimony, whether you are a miner or survivor. The claim determination depends on the testimony and evidence presented before the ALJ at the hearing. Testimony may include the employee’s work history, physical condition, medical treatment, and prescribed medication. In some cases, a testimony by a co-worker or family member might be necessary.
An experienced black lung attorney will also help you appeal if the ALJ denies your claim. ALJ’s decisions are not final, and the claimant has a right to appeal if they are unsatisfied with the decision. Appeals are filed with the Benefits Review Board (“BRB”). This happens often with complex cases. The review board may affirm, modify, or reverse the ALJ’s decision. It may also remand the claim to the ALJ for further consideration. The BRB decision is the final decision of the Secretary of Labor. If they deny the claim, a further appeal can only be made to the appropriate United States Circuit Court of Appeals and then to the United States Supreme Court.
We do not guarantee a successful case but always pursue every legal avenue to help our clients get the compensation they deserve.
What are the eligibility criteria for black lung claims?
The miner must have pneumoconiosis diagnosed within three years of filing the claim. Also, the miner must be or have been disabled by the disease, and the pneumoconiosis must have resulted from coal mine employment.
Eligibility for benefits can be established through various tests, including medical diagnostic procedures such as chest X-rays, pulmonary function studies, blood-gas tests, general physical examinations, and autopsy in the event of death.
If black lung disease caused or contributed to the miner’s death, surviving spouses, surviving divorced spouses and surviving children may also file claims.
How much does it cost to treat black lung?
Annual treatment expenses for black lung disease are about $10,000. The Federal Black Lung may cover treatment expenses not covered by state programs.
The compensation rate for a Black Lung beneficiary is 37.5% of a Federal employee-level GS-2 base salary. The 2024 black lung monthly compensation rates are as follows:
- The primary beneficiary gets $772
- The primary beneficiary and one dependent receive $1,158
- A primary beneficiary with two dependents receives $1,352
- A primary with more than two beneficiaries receives $1,545
Can you recover from black lung?
Coal workers’ pneumoconiosis cannot be reversed, but some treatments help slow down the progress of the disease, relieve symptoms, and improve quality of life. The disease is preventable by limiting the coal dust exposure levels as set out by the law.
You can live with black lung disease with proper treatment. However, it can lead to certain complications such as tuberculosis, COPD, and lung cancer, reducing life expectancy and leading to premature death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), black lung decreases life expectancy by 12.6 years.
About 16% of coal workers suffer from black lung disease. Those working near coal mines are at an increased risk of developing the condition. Regular medical checkups help with early diagnosis and more effective management of the condition.
Why Choose Stephens and Stephens LLP?
Hugh Stephens is one of the leading black lung attorneys across the United States. Hugh Stephens is an experienced environmental attorney who has assisted thousands of claimants in getting compensation for black lung disease, EEOICPA, and workers’ compensation benefits. We guide our clients accordingly to help them get compensated and avoid future workers’ compensation-related complications.
Based on our experience, we advise claimants about compensation and its general impact on finances. Black lung compensation is unique because it is not taxable and cannot be considered a resource for purposes of needs-based federal and state programs such as Medicaid, food stamps, section VIII housing assistance, and certain Native American benefits. We advise claimants to set up a separate bank account to receive black lung funds by wire transfer. As a result, our claimants can prove the source of these funds in the future. Our clients don’t need to worry about compensation-related problems with the federal government Medicaid, such as those living in a nursing home.
We understand the statute of limitations concerning these claims and can guide you appropriately, increasing the chances of compensation. Our Black Lung attorneys are experienced in legal and medical issues surrounding Black Lung Program Claims. They are special and unique and require representation from attorneys who are familiar with the specific procedures.
Stephens and Stephens LLP offer sophisticated, responsive, and seamless services at minimal cost!