Unemployment Benefits after Settlement of Case
Can I collect Unemployment Benefits after Settlement of my Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Case?
When a Claimant is considering settling their workers compensation (WC) case, a common question that is raised is whether they will be able to collect unemployment benefits after settlement. There can be two obstacles to collecting unemployment benefits however. First, when a potential Claimant applies for UC benefits the first step the state will take is to determine whether the Claimant is financially eligible for benefits. The most common problem for any WC recipient who has been off for a year or more is there may be no wages or very few wages that will be considered in the financial eligibility determination since the Claimant has not been employed for a significant period of time. The Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act (WCA) has addressed this issue in Section 204(b) which provides that an employee who does not meet the monetary and credit week requirements under section 401(a) of the Unemployment Compensation Law due to a work related injury compensable under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act may elect to have his base year consist of the four complete quarters immediately preceding the date of the work related injury. This request should be raised within the appeal period identified on the Notice of Financial Determination. The second trap usually involves the circumstances surrounding the employment status of the employee at the time the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation case is settled. It is common that the employer will want the employee to sign a resignation at the time the Compromise and Release Agreement are signed. When an employee resigns from employment, under UC, the employee has the burden to establish that they left the job for a necessitous and compelling reason. This can be a difficult burden to overcome, however, with the right language in the settlement agreement it can be a burden the Claimant may be able to meet. If you are thinking about settling your Pennsylvania Workers Compensation case, it would be advisable to speak to a lawyer experienced in both Workers Compensation and Unemployment Compensation law. Please contact our office for a free consultation at 717-238-1657.