Field test and laboratory analog model test on the stress-relief effects of protective layer extraction are time-consuming and laborious. In this paper, on the basis of full consideration of rock heterogeinity and in combination with gas geology at Pingdingshan Mine 5, a numerical model was estalished with the gas-solid coupling rock failure process analysis system RFPA-Gas to simulate the stress variation law, roof and floor deformation, fracture evolution law, displacement in the protected seam, change in gas permeability and gas migration law during protective layer extraction. The simulation results repoduced stress variations in coal and rock strata, roof and floor deformation and fracture evolution process during protective layer extraction. The movement of rock strata were characterized by upper three zones and lower two zones: caving zone, fracture zone and bending subsidence zone in the vertical direction in the overlying strata; floor deformation and failure zone and elasto-plastic deformation zone in the vertical direction in the underlying strata. It showed that stress relief occurred in the protected seam, which led to vertical and horizontal displacements, significant increase in gas permeability, gas desorption and migration. Hence, the outburst threat in the protected seam was eliminated. Meanwhile, with comprehensive analysis of variaition of stress state, deformation characteristics and fracture distribution in coal seam and with consideration of changes in gas leakage rate, gas pressure and permeability, according to gas leakage rate, the floor strata of the protecive layer were divided into four leakage zones. They corresponded to four zones with different stress states and fracture development: original leakage zone - slow reducing leakage zone - dramatic increasing leakage zone- steady increasing leakage zone. This classification provides a clear direction for gas control in the protective layer. The simulation results are in good agreement with the stress-relief effects in field.