Benefits for Coal Miners with Black Lung Falling Behind
Monthly Benefit Rate Hasn’t Kept Up With Cost of Living or Inflation, Leaving Sick Miners and Their Families without an Adequate Safety Net
Tens of thousands of coal miners across the country are disabled by or have died from black lung disease. These miners and their families rely upon black lung benefits to pay for their healthcare and provide monthly compensation as the miner can no longer work. In 1969, when the federal black lung benefits program was created, a miner received $144.50 each month to help support their cost of living. In today’s currency, adjusting for inflation, that would equate to $1,172.61 . While benefits have increased over time, the monthly benefit rate has not kept up with rising inflation. Today, miners receive over 30% less than the value of the original amount, just $773 a month.
February 2024 Update
This report was developed by Appalachian Voices and Appalachian Citizens Law Center, published on on March 15, 2023, and updated on February 8, 2024.