Congressman Hal Rogers introduces black lung benefits legislation

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Published: Mar. 15, 2022 at 2:38 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON, DC (WYMT) - Representative Hal Rogers recently introduced bipartisan legislation with Representative Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D-GA) concerning Black Lung disability benefits.

The legislation aims to expedite benefits from the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund, which benefits coal miners who have black lung disease.

“They’re entitled to these benefits that they earned under federal law.” said Rogers. “So I’ be pushing this as hard as I know how.”

The act is the John “J.L.” White Ensuring Timely Black Lung Benefits Act (H.R. 6791), named after a former coal miner from Williamsburg who died before he was able to get the benefits for which he was approved.

His daughter, Johnna, spoke at the event.

“For this to be named after him, and knowing how much that would mean to him that he kind of gets to be, like, the name on the knife that gets to cut the red tape. That would really mean a lot to my dad.” she said.

A release from Rogers’ office said the bill would make it possible for eligible applicants to get payments 60 days after they are approved for the funds.

“Mr. White didn’t live to see a single penny of the money that he was approved for, and unfortunately, he is not alone. I was able to help his family eventually receive his benefits to pay his medical expenses, and we hope to help other mining families facing the same situation. Our coal miners are some of the hardest-working folks in the country, and those who develop Black Lung Disease need financial assistance immediately to help pay for costly medical bills,” said Congressman Rogers. “I’m thankful to have Congressman Bishop’s support on this bipartisan bill. Together, we’re working to help coal miners across the country, including our shared Appalachian region.”

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