United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Employment — black lung benefits — 15-year presumption
The 15-year presumption applies to subsequent claim inquiries.
“There is nothing in any of these sections that precludes the use of the 15-year presumption to show a change in condition. Indeed, these sections specifically mention that the elements of pneumoconiosis and disability causation, respectively, can be established by the 15-year presumption. This point is incorporated in 20 C.F.R. § 718.305. See 20 C.F.R. § 718.202(a)(3) (‘If the presumption described in § . . . 718.305. . . [is] applicable, it shall be presumed that the miner is or was suffering from pneumoconiosis.’); 20 C.F.R. § 718.204(c)(2) (‘Except as provided in § 718.305 . . . proof that the miner suffers . . . from a totally disabling respiratory pulmonary impairment . . . shall not, by itself, be sufficient to establish that the miner’s impairment is or was due to pneumoconiosis.’). As the 15-year presumption is now built into the definitions of elements, the 15-year presumption can be used to show a change in condition.”
Petition for Review of a Decision of the Benefits Review Board, United States Department of Labor, Cudahy, J.