Social Security has decided to remove its Black Lung regulations. This requires a little explanation. I'll do my best but this goes back before my time. I hope some real old timers can correct any mistakes I make. Black lung, or coal miners pneumonoconiosis, is a disease caused by exposure to coal dust. It used to be endemic in coal miners. I think that increased regulation has dramatically reduced the incidence of black lung. In the 1970s Congress decided to create a program, which I believe was funded by the coal industry, to compensate those affected by black lung. Social Security was initially given responsibility for administering the Black Lung program. Eventually, responsibility for the Black Lung program was given to the Department of Labor which still administers the Black Lung program. Social Security continued to have responsibility for adjudicating claims for benefits for those who initially filed their claims with Social Security. A handful of cases hung around for many years as they bounced between Social Security and the federal courts. Those cases have long since ended, allowing Social Security to end the regulations.
Can you imagine Social Security undertaking administration of a big new program? It happened in the 1970s with Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Black Lung.