By Vincent J. Quatrini, Jr., Esquire
The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act is designed to provide financial protection to all individuals who suffer a work-related injury in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In certain unique situations, other benefits may be available in addition to basic workers’ compensation benefits.
For instance, if you are in a high-risk occupation, extra financial protection is provided by the Pennsylvania Heart and Lung Act. The Heart and Lung Act pays the injured worker full salary, with no tax deductions, during the period of temporary disability from performing the duties of the job. Persons employed in designated high-risk occupations in Pennsylvania include:
- State Police
- Liquor Control Board officers and investigatorsOfficers and Investigators
- Probation, parole and enforcement officersParole and Enforcement Officers
- Capitol Police
- Department of Corrections employees
- Office of Attorney General drug enforcement agents and special agents
- Delaware River Port Authority Police
- Policemen, Firemen and Park Guards of any county, city, borough, town or townshipCounty, City, Borough, Town or Township
- Sheriff, deputy sheriff or special fire police
Other provisions in Pennsylvania law provide extra financial protection to any employee who is injured during the course of employment with certain state or county facilities. This act provides payment of full salary, with no tax deductions, until the disability arising from the injury no longer prevents the worker from returning to work. These situations include employees injured by “an act of any inmate or person confined” in the following facilities:
- State correctional institute
- State mental hospital
- Youth Development Center of the Department of Public Welfare
This additional protection is also extended to employees of County Boards of Assistance injured by the act of an applicant or recipient of public assistance, or any employee of the Department of Public Welfare who has been assigned to or who has volunteered to join the fire fighting force of any institution of the Department of Public Welfare.
An injured worker who is receiving the above-described specialized benefits or Pennsylvania Heart and Lung Act benefits may also receive full Social Security Disability benefits at the same time. This is not the case for an injured worker receiving Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation benefits and Social Security Disability, where the combination of the two benefits cannot exceed 80 percent of the average current earnings as determined by Social Security.
These are very unique situations. If you have any questions, please call Vince at 724-837-0080. There is no fee for the initial consultation.