WASHINGTON, D.C. (WTAJ) — A group of U.S. senators, including Bob Casey (D-PA), introduced a bill that will help give access to workers’ compensation for getting black lung.

In addition to compensation miners are entitled to receive under the Black Lung Benefits Program, the Black Lung Benefits Improvement Act legislation would also help miners find legal representation and get benefits that aren’t affected by inflation, according to a press release from Casey’s office.

“For decades, our country has relied on coal miners to power our factories and heat our homes,” Casey said. “Many coal workers risked their lives and their long-term health to do the job of powering years of prosperity, and Congress has an obligation to support them, just as they’ve supported us. This legislation would ensure that every coal miner who suffers from black lung disease receives the benefits they are entitled to. Coal miners have pushed our country forward, and I’ll keep fighting to make sure they aren’t left behind.”

Decades ago, it’s reported Congress established the Black Lung Benefits Act in conjunction with the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969 to provide monthly compensation and medical coverage for coal miners who develop black lung disease and are totally disabled.

The press release also cited a GAO report that found that minors often lack the necessary medical and legal resources to develop evidence to prove their claims. The Black Lung Benefits Improvement Act makes needed updates to the Black Lung Benefits Act to ensure Congress is fulfilling its commitment to the Nation’s coal minors.

Senators Casey, Joe Manchin (D-WV), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Mark Warner (D-VA) also introduced the Black Lung Benefits Disability Trust Fund Act in 2021 to extend the current black lung excise tax for another ten year period.

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Read more about the Black Lung Benefits Improvement Act here.