American Miners Act Included in Budget Bill

The bill transfers certain funds to provide pension and health benefits for retired coal miners.

The budget bill that President Trump passed Friday included not only the SECURE Act but also the American Miners Act of 2019.

It directs the Department of the Treasury to transfer additional funds to the 1974 United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) Pension to pay pension benefits required under that plan. Those funds are to be transferred if the annual limit on transfers under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 exceeds the amount required to be transferred for existing obligations of the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund.

The bill also increased the annual limit on transfers from $490 million to $750 million and adds miners affected by 2018 coal company bankruptcies to the group whose retiree health benefits are taken into account in determining the amount that Treasury must transfer under current law to the Multiemployer Health Benefit Plan.

Additionally, the bill allows in-service distributions under a pension plan or governmental section 457(b) plan at age 59-1/2 and extends and increases the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund excise tax.