George H. Frich, Weiss & Frich, Monessen, Robert Engel, Pittsburgh, for appellant.
Richard H. Wagner, Associate Counsel, Harrisburg, William L. Hammond, Special Deputy Attorney General, T. McKeen Chidsey, Attorney General, for appellee.
Before Rhodes, P. J., and Reno, Dithrich, Ross and Fine, JJ
[ 165 Pa. Super. Page 606]
Claimant was employed for some eight years as the manager of a Pittsburgh beauty shop. Having suffered for some time from a sinus condition, she resigned her position and, on the advice of her physician, moved to California. There she registered for work and filed a claim for unemployment benefits against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Inter-State Benefit Section of the Bureau denied her claim by a decision of February 16, 1949. The Notice of Decision (UC 44) was that day mailed to claimant. On its face was stated: 'Last day to file appeal February 26, 1949.'
On the reverse side there was an explanation of the method for filing an appeal which contained, inter alia, the following: 'If you write a letter and intend that it be accepted as an appeal, be sure to specifically state that 'I hereby request a review of decision' or 'I hereby file an appeal'. Letters which contain only general statement[s] of dissatisfaction or complaint cannot be accepted as an appeal within the ten day appeal period.'
[ 165 Pa. Super. Page 607]
No blank form for appeal was enclosed with that letter. On February 21 (five days after the letter was sent from Harrisburg) claimant wrote and air mailed from California a letter which was received by the Bureau on February 23. This letter said, in part: '* * * If you will please carefully examine * * * my particular case I am sure you will agree with me, that I am entitled to the full benefits. * * * In the meantime, I have been very assiduous in fulfilling all my obligations pertaining to these benefits * * * I have no alternative but resort to this demand * * *.'
Not choosing to accept this letter as an appeal, the Bureau sent claimant a blank form of Petition for Appeal (UC 46) and instructions (UC 46 FI). These were mailed to California on February 23 -- just three days before the last day for filing an appeal. The form was completed by claimant and filed March 1.
On the ground that a timely appeal had not been instituted, the referee dismissed her petition, and, on further appeal, the Board affirmed the referee's decision.
On claimant's appeal from the decision of the Board, we must determine: first, whether claimant's letter of February 21 should have been accepted as an appeal; and second, if not, whether the Bureau unintentionally misled claimant by mailing the blank form on February 23.
Section 501, Unemployment Compensation Law, Act of December 5, 1936, 2d Ex. Sess., P.L.(1937) 2897, as amended, 43 P.S. § 821, provides, in part: '(e) Unless the claimant * * * files an appeal with the board, from the determination contained in any notice required to be furnished by the department * * * within ten (10) calendar days after such notice * * * was mailed to his last known post office address, and applies for a hearing, such ...