Many former coal miners, sick with black lung disease, depend on a tax benefit from a fund paid into by the coal companies. A group of them traveled to Washington in hope of persuading lawmakers to pass an extension to the program, which is set to expire.
Vonda Robinson is with the Black Lung Association of Southwestern Virginia. She says, her husband worked in the mines for 28 years and was diagnosed at 47 with Black Lung.
“It drastically changed our lives from a coal miner working, 6 to 7 days a week, 12 to 14 hours a day, to someone that I see struggle daily with walking down the driveway and back to taking a shower, to sleeping at night."
Lawmakers have agreed to extend the program for another year, but that offers little comfort to people suffering with the incurable disease. In an email, Virginia Congressman, Morgan Griffith wrote, he’s convinced the benefit will not be cut and that “ No one should worry that their black lung checks will stop.”