(a) The 1981 amendments to the Act amended section 422 of the Act and transferred liability for payment of certain special claims from operators and carriers to the fund. These provisions apply to claims which were denied before March 1, 1978, and which have been or will be approved in accordance with section 435 of the Act.
(b)Section 402(i) of the Act defines three classes of denied claims subject to the transfer provisions:
(1) Claims filed with and denied by the Social Security Administration before March 1, 1978;
(2) Claims filed with the Department of Labor in which the claimant was notified by the Department of an administrative or informal denial before March 1, 1977, and in which the claimant did not within one year of such notification either:
(i) Request a hearing; or
(ii) Present additional evidence; or
(iii) Indicate an intention to present additional evidence; or
(iv) Request a modification or reconsideration of the denial on the ground of a change in conditions or because of a mistake in a determination of fact;
(3) Claims filed with the Department of Labor and denied under the law in effect prior to the enactment of the Black Lung Benefits Reform Act of 1977, that is, before March 1, 1978, following a formal hearing before an administrative law judge or administrative review before the Benefits Review Board or review before a United States Court of Appeals.
(c) Where more than one claim was filed with the Social Security Administration and/or the Department of Labor prior to March 1, 1978, by or on behalf of a miner or a surviving dependent of a miner, unless such claims were required to be merged by the agency's regulations, the procedural history of each such claim must be considered separately to determine whether the claim is subject to the transfer of liability provisions.
(d) For a claim filed with and denied by the Social Security Administration prior to March 1, 1978, to come within the transfer provisions, such claim must have been or must be approved under the provisions of section 435 of the Act. No claim filed with and denied by the Social Security Administration is subject to the transfer of liability provisions unless a request was made by or on behalf of the claimant for review of such denied claim under section 435. Such review must have been requested by the filing of a valid election card or other equivalent document with the Social Security Administration in accordance with section 435(a) and its implementing regulations at 20 CFR 410.700 through 410.707.
(e) Where a claim filed with the Department of Labor prior to March 1, 1977, was subjected to repeated administrative or informal denials, the last such denial issued during the pendency of the claim determines whether the claim is subject to the transfer of liability provisions.
(f) Where a miner's claim comes within the transfer of liability provisions of the 1981 amendments the fund is also liable for the payment of any benefits to which the miner's dependent survivors are entitled after the miner's death. However, if the survivor's entitlement was established on a separate claim not subject to the transfer of liability provisions prior to approval of the miner's claim under section 435, the party responsible for the payment of such survivors' benefits shall not be relieved of that responsibility because the miner's claim was ultimately approved and found subject to the transfer of liability provisions.
Title 20 published on 2014-04-01
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