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Funding for Miners with Black Lung Disease Permanently Extended by the Inflation Reduction Act

Mounds of coal are piled high awaiting shipment at a coal company terminal in West Virginia. The Appalachian Mountains are in the background.
A coal company terminal in West Virginia.

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, signed into law by President Biden on Aug. 16, helps to secure federal Black Lung benefits for miners with black lung disease and their families. Generations of coal miners who sacrificed so much to power our country can rest assured that their benefits are not in jeopardy.

The Inflation Reduction Act permanently extends the excise tax on underground and surface-mined coal, which is the primary source of revenue for the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund. Earlier this year, the Department of Labor responded to news reports about the reduced excise tax, which fell by more than 50% on Jan. 1, 2022. We recognized that the status of the excise tax and the Trust Fund may be causing miners stricken with black lung disease, and their families, to feel uncertain about their benefits.

With the permanent extension of the coal excise tax, President Biden has ended the up and down of short-term, year-to-year extensions, and made a significant investment in the security of the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund for years to come.

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Editor's note: If a miner or other beneficiary has questions about benefits through the federal Black Lung program, beneficiaries can call the Department of Labor at 800-347-2502 or email DCMWC-public@dol.gov.

Christopher J. Godfrey is the director of the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs.

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