(a) Benefits; applicability of Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act; promulgation of regulations
Subject to section 28(h)(1) of the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act Amendments of 1984, during any period after December 31, 1973, in which a State workmen's compensation law is not included on the list published by the Secretary under section 931(b) of this title, the provisions of Public Law 803, 69th Congress (44 Stat. 1424, approved March 4, 1927) as amended [ 33 U.S.C.A. § 901 et seq. ], as it may be amended from time to time (other than the provisions contained in sections 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ,, 1 8 , 9 , 10 , 12 , 13 , 29 , 30 , 31 , 32 , 33 , 37 , 38 , 41 , 43 , 44 , 45 , 46 , 47 , 48 , 49 , 50 , and 51 thereof) [ 33 U.S.C.A. §§ 901 , 902 , 903 , 904 , 908 , 909 , 910 , 912 , 913 , 929 , 930 , 931 , 932 , 933 , 937 , 938 , 941 , 943 , 944 , 945 , 946 , 947 , 948 , 948a , 949 , 950 ], shall (except as otherwise provided in this subsection or by regulations of the Secretary and except that references in such Act to the employer shall be considered to refer to the trustees of the fund, as the Secretary considers appropriate and as is consistent with the provisions of section 9501(d) of Title 26 ), be applicable to each operator of a coal mine in such State with respect to death or total disability due to pneumoconiosis arising out of employment in such mine, or with respect to entitlements established in paragraph (5) of section 921(c) of this title. In administering this part, the Secretary is authorized to prescribe in the Federal Register such additional provisions, not inconsistent with those specifically excluded by this subsection, as he deems necessary to provide for the payment of benefits by such operator to persons entitled thereto as provided in this part and thereafter those provisions shall be applicable to such operator.
(b) Liability of operators
During any such period each such operator shall be liable for and shall secure the payment of benefits, as provided in this section and section 933 of this title. An employer, other than an operator of a coal mine, shall not be required to secure the payment of such benefits with respect to any employee of such employer to the extent such employee is engaged in the transportation of coal or in coal mine construction. Upon determination by the Secretary of the eligibility of the employee, the Secretary may require such employer to secure a bond or otherwise guarantee the payment of such benefits to the employee.
(c) Persons entitled to benefits
Benefits shall be paid during such period by each such operator under this section to the categories of persons entitled to benefits under section 922(a) of this title in accordance with the regulations of the Secretary applicable under this section: Provided, That, except as provided in subsection (i) of this section, no benefit shall be payable by any operator on account of death or total disability due to pneumoconiosis (1) which did not arise, at least in part, out of employment in a mine during a period after December 31, 1969, when it was operated by such operator; or (2) which was the subject of a claim denied before March 1, 1978, and which is or has been approved in accordance with the provisions of section 945 of this title.
(d) Monthly payments; amounts; accrual of interest
Benefits payable under this section shall be paid on a monthly basis and, except as otherwise provided in this section, such payments shall be equal to the amounts specified in section 922(a) of this title. If payment is not made within the time required, interest shall accrue to such amounts at the rates set forth in section 934(b)(5) of this title for interest owed to the fund. With respect to payments withheld pending final adjudication of liability, in the case of claims filed on or after the effective date of the Black Lung Benefits Amendments of 1981, such interest shall commence to accumulate 30 days after the date of the determination that such an award should be made.
(e) Conditions upon payment
No payment of benefits shall be required under this section:
(1) except pursuant to a claim filed therefor in such manner, in such form, and containing such information, as the Secretary shall by regulation prescribe; or
(2) for any period prior to January 1, 1974.
(f) Limitation on filing of claims
Any claim for benefits by a miner under this section shall be filed within three years after whichever of the following occurs later--
(1) a medical determination of total disability due to pneumoconiosis; or
(2) March 1, 1978.
(g) Reduction of monthly benefits
The amount of benefits payable under this section shall be reduced, on a monthly or other appropriate basis, by the amount of any compensation received under or pursuant to any Federal or State workmen's compensation law because of death or disability due to pneumoconiosis. In addition, the amount of benefits payable under this section with respect to any claim filed on or after the effective date of the Black Lung Benefits Amendments of 1981 shall be reduced, on a monthly or other appropriate basis, by the amount by which such benefits would be reduced on account of excess earnings of such miner under section 403(b) through (l) of Title 42 if the amount paid were a benefit payable under section 402 of Title 42 .
(h) Promulgation of regulations
The Secretary of Labor shall by regulation establish standards, which may include appropriate presumptions, for determining whether pneumoconiosis arose out of employment in a particular coal mine or mines. The Secretary may also, by regulation, establish standards for apportioning liability for benefits under this subsection among more than one operator, where such apportionment is appropriate.
(i) Subsequent operators' liability for benefit payments
(1) During any period in which this section is applicable to the operator of a coal mine who on or after January 1, 1970, acquired such mine or substantially all the assets thereof, from a person (hereinafter in this subsection referred to as a “prior operator”) who was an operator of such mine, or owner of such assets on or after January 1, 1970, such operator shall be liable for and shall, in accordance with section 933 of this title, secure the payment of all benefits which would have been payable by the prior operator under this section with respect to miners previously employed by such prior operator as if the acquisition had not occurred and the prior operator had continued to be an operator of a coal mine.
(2) Nothing in this subsection shall relieve any prior operator of any liability under this section.
(3)(A) For purposes of paragraph (1) of this subsection, the provisions of this paragraph shall apply to corporate reorganizations, liquidations, and such other transactions as are specified in this paragraph.
(B) If an operator ceases to exist by reason of a reorganization or other transaction or series of transactions which involves a change in identity, form, or place of business or organization, however effected, the successor operator or other corporate or business entity resulting from such reorganization or other change shall be treated as the operator to whom this section applies.
(C) If an operator ceases to exist by reason of a liquidation into a parent or successor corporation, the parent or successor corporation shall be treated as the operator to whom this section applies.
(D) If an operator ceases to exist by reason of a sale of substantially all his or her assets, or as the result of a merger, consolidation, or division, the successor operator, corporation, or other business entity shall be treated as the operator to whom this section applies.
(4) In any case in which there is a determination under section 9501(d) of Title 26 that no operator is liable for the payment of benefits to a claimant, nothing in this subsection may be construed to require the payment of benefits to a claimant by or on behalf of any operator.
(j) Failure of operators to secure benefits
Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, section 9501 of Title 26 shall govern the payment of benefits in cases--
(1) described in section 9501(d)(1) of Title 26 ;
(2) in which the miner's last coal mine employment was before January 1, 1970; or
(3) in which there was a claim denied before March 1, 1978, and such claim is or has been approved in accordance with the provisions of section 945 of this title.
(k) Secretary as party in claim proceedings
The Secretary shall be a party in any proceeding relative to a claim for benefits under this part.
(l) Filing of new claims or refiling or revalidation of claims of miners already determined eligible at time of death
In no case shall the eligible survivors of a miner who was determined to be eligible to receive benefits under this subchapter at the time of his or her death be required to file a new claim for benefits, or refile or otherwise revalidate the claim of such miner,. 2
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