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Black Lung Trust Fund Gets One-Year Boost from Higher Excise Tax


WHITESBURG, Ky. – Congress has voted to increase the excise tax levied on coal companies that provides cash flow for the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund. But advocates for miners who need the money say the one-year increase isn’t enough to keep the fund from drying up.

The higher excise tax expires December 31, 2020. Rebecca Shelton, coordinator of policy and organizing at the Appalachian Citizens Law Center, explains the fund pays coal miners with black-lung disease and their families when the miner’s employer is bankrupt or hasn’t been found responsible for their illness.

“The excise tax itself funds the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund,” says Shelton, “which is a trust fund managed by the federal government to pay out healthcare and monthly benefits for miners who are disabled by black lung disease and also, their families.”

According to federal data, more than 25,000 people currently receive benefits from the trust fund.

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