The Roanoke Times looks at the common complaints of Virginia miners who go through the federal black lung program. "Passed more than three decades ago to lower levels of dust in coal mines and to compensate miners suffering from black lung, the program has fallen far short of its goal. Since 1982, between 92 percent and 96 percent of all Virginia miners who applied for black lung benefits were denied. Most were turned down because they failed to produce enough evidence that they had the disease. But few miners are able to prove they have black lung because they often lack the financial resources to hire medical experts." In addition, the U.S. Department of Labor does grant temporary benefits to miners after the examinations are doctor approved. However, when coal companies appeal, the doctors are not present to back up their decision. Instead miners end up losing their benefits due to the lack of experts on their side, and ultimately end up paying the government back.
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