Voluntary removal from workforce supports suspension of benefits
Case name: Ruff v. City of Pittsburgh, 23 PAWCLR 235 (Pa. W.C.A.B. 2008).
The Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Appeal Board reversed the workers' compensation judge's denial of a suspension of benefits.
What it means: A suspension of benefits is available without a showing of actual job availability where a claimant has voluntarily removed herself from the workforce.
A police officer sustained a work-related injury in the nature of a knife wound to her left arm, which severed her radial nerve, and received benefits under the Heart and Lung Act until she was no longer eligible for such benefits. She then received workers' compensation benefits and a disability pension. The employer filed a suspension petition alleging that by retiring, the claimant voluntarily removed herself from the workforce. The WCJ denied the petition, finding that the employer failed to produce evidence of earning capacity or to show that work was actually available to the claimant. The board determined that a suspension of benefits was available without a showing of actual job availability where a claimant voluntarily removes herself from the workforce. The employer did not have the burden of showing that suitable work was available.
March 2, 2009
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