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Black lung clinics help coal miners get benefits

(WYMT)
Published: Nov. 15, 2018 at 5:47 PM EST
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The Carson Black Lung Research and Education Center held a black lung application event to help coal miners receive benefits.

Several staff came to help the large number of applicants that came in, who have experience with court cases involving black lung.

Staff say there are several factors that go into whether someone will be able to get compensation.

"So you have got the definition of a coal miner, you got disease, and you have got the disability standards, to meet those. And, all three of those must work together in order for the miner to receive federal black lung benefits," says Ron Carson, Executive Director of Carson Black Lung Clinics.

Employees say unfortunately, it is quite common that insurance and coal companies will fight back on miners' compensations for black lung.

"The coal company will say well, the impairment came from cigarette smoking. It came from histoplasmosis, the miner raised birds or chickens. Sarcoidsis, tuberculosis, any 'osis' except for pneumoconiosis," says Carson.

Miners say while they have applied before, they often have to apply several times before receiving any benefits.

"Used to, when you had blank lung you got paid for it. Anymore it is not that way. You have to fight the companies because the companies do not want to pay for it," says Peace.

He says while it has been confirmed to him that he has black lung for many years, he says he has been denied because it was not enough for benefit standards.

"That is what it boils down to, everybody just wants what is due them. If I am not due it, I do not want it. But anybody that knows if have twenty-six years or even ten years. I know people that have had ten years that really died from it," says Peace.

Ron Carson with the Carson Black Lung Clinic says when his clinic fights for patients, it is always free for the miners.

The application event continues from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Cafeteria at SouthEastern Kentucky Medical Center in Pineville.

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