Miller Act
Frequently Asked Questions

It’s easy to file your Miller Act Claim with zlien , the web’s leading mechanics lien compliance manager and filing platform. Plus, zlien’s platform will empower your company to automatically prepare and file requests for miller act bonds and miller act claim cancellation. To learn more about the federal Miller Act, read the frequently asked

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Federal Frequently Asked Questions


The Miller Act is pretty broad as to what type of parties are entitled to file a Miller Act claim, proclaiming broadly that anyone who “furnishes labor or material” is entitled to some protections.  The act, however, gets more strict with respect to how far down the contracting chain the rights extend. Subcontractors:  First tier subcontractors (those who contract with the prime contractor) and second tier subcontractors (those who contract with a first tier subcontractor) have rights under the US Miller Act.  Anyone lower than a second tier subcontractor does not have rights. Suppliers: Only those who supply materials to the general contractor or to a first tier subcontractor has Miller Act rights. None others, including suppliers to suppliers, have a claim under the Miller Act. Note that General Contractors do not have any rights under the Miller Act. If unpaid, the general contractor’s only right is to file a lawsuit against the public entity that hired it.

Check out this easy to read chart breaking down who does and does not have rights under the federal Miller Act.

File A Miller Act Claim Now

Anyone with Miller Act rights must file a lawsuit to enforce their rights within 1 year from their last furnishing of labor or materials to the construction project. However, many parties have an earlier deadline when a formal notice of claim – or “Miller Act Claim” – is required.  For these parties – 2nd tier subcontractors and suppliers to the first tier – the claim is due within 90 days of last furnishing labor or materials to the project.  Nevertheless, it’s a good practice for anyone with a claim to file the Miller Act Claim as soon as practical as this initiates the bond claim process and may result in payment without the need for further litigation.

Yes.  Actually, the “filing” of the Miller Act Claim is notice in itself.  The Miller Act requires that your claim be sent to the general contractor by certified mail, return receipt requested.  It is a good practice to send a copy to the public entity in charge of the work and also the surety.

No.  Your Miller Act Claim should contain a statement of account that is restricted to the principal amount of your claim only.  Attorney fees may be recoverable against the prime contractor and the surety only if you had a provision within your contract with the party who hired you providing you with the right to recover attorney fees.  United States ex rel. Maddox Supply Co. v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 86 F.3d 332 (4th Cir. 1996).

A lawsuit to enforce your Miller Act Claim must be filed within 1 year from when you last furnished labor or materials to the project. Filing a Miller Act is a bit complex in that the United States of America must be named as a plaintiff, along with yourself. Further, the claim must be enforced in the federal district court where the project is located.


Usually, the parties to any settlement – including the surety – will sign a settlement agreement which compromises and settles the Miller Act Claim.  This is usually the only cancellation required, although a formal recession of your Miller Act Claim can be prepared and sent to the parties.