Find the Answers to Your Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation and Disability Benefits Questions
Most people navigating the workers’ compensation and disability benefits application processes come to us with questions and confusion. Here, we share some of the questions that we answer most about the disability and workers’ compensation application and appeals processes. If you have a question for us, check out this page to see if we have answered this question for others!
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May I change the workers' compensation Judge assigned to my case?
Under most circumstances, this is not possible unless the Judge has some reason not to decide your case. If, for example, the other side has introduced evidence that is irrelevant and unfairly prejudicial, your attorney could move to request that the Judge reassign the case. If you move from the County where your case is being tried, you may be able to switch judges.
Are any diseases linked to the Flight Attendant profession?
Yes. Many deadly cancers are linked to the profession, including melanoma, breast cancer, and non‑melanoma skin cancer among women, according to a Harvard Study. Furthermore, inhalation of poor cabin air has been linked to dangerous neurological disorders.
May my employer recover an overpayment they made to me without my permission?
Recoupment of Overpayments from Workers' Compensation Benefits
Under the Pennsylvania workers‘ compensation act, employers are permitted to reduce Workers' Compensation benefits for one half of Social Security retirement benefits that are collected under an award granted after the work injury occurred, pension benefits, severance pay, unemployment compensation benefits and wages from employment or self-employment. Injured workers may receive reporting forms that require them to disclose the receipt of such benefits. If the insurance company is entitled to reduce the injured worker’s benefits because they are collecting these types of benefits, the injured worker may receive a Notice of Workers' Compensation Benefit Offset. This notice may also state that the insurance company intends to recoup overpayments made to the employee during a period when the employee employee was receiving these types of benefits while the insurance company was paying full Workers' Compensation benefits. Where recoupment causes a financial hardship, the terms of the recoupment may be modified by a judge, but in general an overpayment of less than six months will not be enough for a claimant to ask a judge to inquire into the hardship.
Recoupment of Overpayments from Wages
Deductions from wages permissible under Pennsylvania law are governed by the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Act, 43 P.S. § 260.1 et. seq. The Act provides that wages are to be paid on a regular pay day in full except for deductions provided by law or as authorized by regulation of the Department of Labor and Industry for the convenience of the employee. Regulations passed by the Department of Labor do not specifically permit the deduction of anything from wages to collect a prior overpayment. Any such deduction would have to be authorized by the employee in writing and/or authorized by the Department of Labor and Industry pursuant to 34 PA. Code. § 9.1(13).
This is different from garnishment, which is the process by which creditors obtain a court order permitting the deduction of all or a portion of an employee's wages to satisfy a debt that has been reduced by court order to a judgment. Without a court order, no garnishment is permissible.
If you are overpaid Workers' Compensation Benefits, your employer is supposed to comply with this act if your employer is trying to collect the overpayment from wages. In Most circumstances, the employer will not attempt to collect an overpayment after you return to work but the insurance company may seek to recoup overpayments if your benefits are reinstated.
How long do you have to be out of work to get workman's compensation?
Under Pennsylvania law, your disability must last more than 7 days for you to be entitled to receive wage loss benefits. You need not be completely out of work. If you are working light duty as a result of your work injury and you are earning less than your pre-injury wages, you are entitled to receive benefits.
I'm a member of Teamsters Local 500 in Philadelphia and I've suffered a work injury. Who are the best attorneys to represent me?
The Boles Firm provides representation to Teamsters 500 members at a discounted rate. We have have been representing unionized employees for decades, and Mr. Boles has read and interpreted hundreds of collective bargaining agreements over the years to determine the impact that work injuries have on union rights. If you are a member of Teamsters 500, and you suffer a work injury, call The Boles Firm now.
I am a Philadelphia based employee of American Airlines and suffered an Injury On Duty (IOD). Who has experience representing AA employees?
The Boles Firm has been representing flight attendants and flight personnel for two decades in connection with Injured On Duty (IOD) claims. We have a special page for American Airlines flight attendants who have suffered injuries which can be accessed here. We also represent pilots and ground personnel. Because we know the doctors AA uses, the insurance company, and your pension and union rights, we have a decisive edge over all firms practicing Pennsylvania workers' compensation.
I work for Bayada. What lawyers should I get to help me if I suffer a work injury?
At The Boles Firm, we have represented nurses, certified nursing assistants, physical therapists, pulmonary therapists and other medical personnel for over 30 years. Mr. Boles is the author of A Safety Guide for Pennsylvania Nurses and other books on safety, the rights of the disabled, and Pennsylvania workers' compensation. Medical personnel work in one of the most dangerous of careers, and having an attorney knowledgeable about those dangers may mean the difference between winning and losing your case.
How do I find out the name, address and telephone number of the workers' comp insurance company for my employer?
If your employer will not give you this information, your claim may be delayed. If despite repeated requests you can't get this information, go to this page, where you can get the name, address and telephone number for your employer's workers' compensation insurance company.
What is a mediation?
A mediation is a proceeding in which a judge who is not going to decide your case attempts to resolve the case via negotiation. Everything that occurs in a mediation is kept strictly confidential by the judge presiding. Information provided to the judge by one side will not be shared with the other side unless the judge has permission to do so. If the case does not settle, the presiding judge does not let the judge who will decide the case know what occurred in the mediation, other than to let the judge know that the parties were unable to reach a resolution.
In general, mediations are attempts to resolve some or all of the parts of a workers' compensation case in exchange for the payment of a set amount of money that is determined during negotiations between the parties. The negotiations to resolve a case may begin long before a mediation. The process ordinarily occurs with the claimant's attorney issuing a demand to resolve the case, with the defendant responding, if at all, with a significantly lower number. The parties will often go back and forth until an amount acceptable to all sides is accepted or the parties are unable to reach agreement.
There may be other issues that are important to consider in the settlement of a workers' compensation case. I discussed some of these issues in my book, The Wounded Worker: Inside the Pennsylvania Workers' Comp Maze. I also discuss these issues in another article, which you can read by clicking here.