5-month visit to India doesn't warrant suspension of benefits
Case name: Chellappan v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 26 PAWCLR 79 (Pa. W.C.A.B. 2011).
Ruling: The Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Appeals Board reversed the workers' compensation judge's grant of the employer's suspension petition.
What it means: In Pennsylvania, a worker who relocates to another country may be found to have withdrawn from the workforce if he resides in another country for an extended period or if he does not present any evidence indicating that his absence is temporary or that he intends to move back to the United States if he learns of suitable employment in his usual employment area.
Summary: The board ruled that the WCJ erred in suspending the worker's benefits because his visit to India was for only five months. The employer filed a suspension petition alleging that the worker voluntarily removed himself from the workforce when he went to India. The WCJ granted the petition. The board determined that the WCJ should not have suspended the worker's benefits. The employer did not establish that the worker voluntarily withdrew himself from the workforce. The worker did not relocate or move. He was merely visiting his family's home in India on a temporary basis, and he informed the employer that he expected to return in five months.
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June 30, 2011
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