ABOUT 600 people suffering from a crippling lung disease are expected to benefit from new ex-gratia payments proposed in the 1993/94 Budget. The beneficiaries will be those diagnosed as having work-related silicosis or asbestosis before the Pneumoconiosis Compensation Fund was set up in 1981. The proposed quarterly payment will start at $54,000 this year and be adjusted with annual inflation. They will be paid on top of other disability allowances from the Social Welfare Department. The Commissioner for Labour, Mrs Katherine Fok Lo Shui-ching, said yesterday the payments would be made as soon as the proposal was approved by the Finance Committee. She said another proposed $10 million grant would provide interest-free loans to about 400 families of workers injured or killed in industrial accidents while they wait for compensation settlements.