In 2023, Appalachian advocates made several advancements in the fight for greater protections for rural communities and families affected by black lung but as we enter 2024, an ongoing battle in Congress over spending is threatening to undo much of this progress while also cutting programs that benefit these communities.
Miners with black lung disease face a difficult process to obtain modest benefits, as do their widows. Two bills in Congress aim to help miners with the disease and their bereaved families, including by tying benefit levels to inflation.
Kathryn South’s husband, Mike South, was diagnosed with black lung disease at age 35. As they grappled with his disease, the couple also navigated the arduous legal process to obtain federal black lung benefits, a fight that Kathryn continued even after Mike’s passing.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 13, 2022 Contact: Chelsea Barnes, 614-205-6424, email@example.com Rebecca Shelton, 859-893-0543, firstname.lastname@example.org Today, five U.S. senators introduced the Black Lung Benefits Improvement Act aimed at improving the benefits process for disabled coal miners and their families. The…
The bill, which was reported from the committee on a party-line vote, proposes changes to the Black Lung Benefits Program that will make it easier for coal miners and their dependents to access the benefits of the program, which include a living stipend and healthcare benefits.
Coal company bankruptcies are putting the federal Black Lung Disability Trust Fund in further jeopardy.