TN 103 (04-09)
SI 00830.215 Black Lung Benefits
CITATIONS: Social Security Act, as amended, section 1612(a)(2)(B); 20 CFR 416.1121(a), 416.1123(b)(1), and 416.1123(b)(2)
Beginning in 1997, SSA and the Department of Labor (DOL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) under which the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs in DOL provided select programmatic, administrative management and general support functions assisting SSA with the administration of the Black Lung Part B program.
On November 2, 2002, the President signed H.R. 5572, the “Black Lung Consolidation of Administrative Responsibilities Act” (P.L. 107-275) that transferred responsibility for administration of the Part B Black Lung program from us to DOL. Currently, most aspects of the Part B program are being administered by DOL. The previous memorandum of understanding (MOU) was replaced in 2004 by an “Agreement Covering Reimbursable Services” between us and DOL. We continue to perform certain designated post-entitlement actions pursuant to the Reimbursable Agreement.
B. Types of Black Lung benefits
Black Lung (BL) benefits are paid to miners and their survivors under the provisions of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act (FMSHA).
Benefits under Part B and Part C of the FMSHA are paid by DOL.
C. Payment dates
Part B benefits are generally paid on the third of the month.
Part C benefits are generally paid on the fifteenth of the month.
D. Reduction of BL benefits
Part B BL benefits are not workers’ compensation (WC) for offset purposes. Part B benefits may be offset as a public disability benefit.
Part C BL benefits are subject to offsets (e.g., WC) and can be reduced due to the recovery of an overpayment.
Part C benefits may be reduced because of liens imposed by other Federal agencies (such as the Internal Revenue Service).
E. Policy for BL income
1. Unearned income
BL benefit payments are unearned income.
The amount deducted from a Part C BL benefit because of garnishment (e.g., liens imposed by other Federal agencies) is unearned income. For more information about garnishments, see (SI 00830.115). If an overpayment is involved, also see (SI 00830.110).
3. Chargeable BL income
The amount of the BL benefit to charge as income is the amount paid after application of an offset (i.e., WC offset or work deductions) but before the collection of any obligations of the recipient, unless the double counting exception applies, see (SI 00830.110B.2.).
F. Procedure for verifying BL benefits
1. Part B and Part C
Verify the receipt of Part B and Part C BL benefits with the claimant's own records (such as an award notice or check), if available.
Call the appropriate DOL office if information from the claimant or recipient is unavailable or incomplete. DOL can also resolve questions about overpayments or liens.
Calculate the amount of chargeable BL income from the actual payment amount.
Clearly document the file. Explain how you determined the chargeable BL income, follow procedures in (GN 00301.285) through (GN 00301.286).
DI 52115.015, Federal Mine Safety and Health Act (FMSHA)
SI 00830.110, Overpayment Withholding and the “Double Counting” Exception
SI 00830.115, Garnishment or Other Withholding
SM 01005.192, Specific Rules for Types B and D Unearned Income
SM 01305.295, Specific Rules for the Correction of Types B, D, L and M