Coal miners across the nation with black lung disease could soon lose their benefits.

The trust fund pays miners with black lung disease and their families–anywhere from 700 to 14-hundred dollars per month in disability benefits.

The fund is paid for through a tax on coal that is mined–but the tax was cut in half as the year ended–because it was not re-authorized.

West Virginia U.S. Senator Joe Manchin is sponsoring a bill to extend the benefits another ten years, but Senate leadership has not scheduled a vote.

‘When you have something that is as needed as this, and throwing it in a mamouth piece of legislation is always a challenge. So we will find a way to extend that. We have support on noth sides of the aisle, Democrats and Republicans’

Sen. Joe Manchin / (D) West Virginia

“We got a lot of families in West Virginia that are being unescessarily scared to death and worried and feel like they’re being abandoned and absolutely not being appreciated in any way.”

Gov. Jim Justice, (R) West Virginia

Now eligible families are still receiving benefits for now, but the fund is already 5-billion dollars in debt.

If something is not done, benefits could suddenly end.

Last year in West Virginia, more than 4-thousand families received black lung disability payments.