On February 15, 1978, Congress enacted the Black Lung Benefits Reform Act of 1977. The passage of this legislation followed months of congressional indecision over just how the existing black lung benefits system could be reformed. During this period, the financing of the program appeared to be the most divisive issue. That issue was finally resolved by the enactment in late January of the Black Lung Benefits Revenue Act of 1977. After this hurdle was cleared, the conference committee report on the reform act easily passed both houses.' The Act, which amended the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969, was signed by the President and became effective March 1, 1978. Since the provisions of these acts significantly alter the current standards of administration and review of black lung claims as well as the financing of benefits, this comment will analyze the changes effected by these provisions. In order to place these changes into perspective, the legislative history of federal black lung legislation will first be reviewed, followed with an examination of the 1977 reform and revenue acts.
The Black Lung Benefits Reform and Revenue Acts of 1977,
W. Va. L. Rev.
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