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AUGUSTUS DANIELS v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (10/03/73)

decided: October 3, 1973.

AUGUSTUS DANIELS, APPELLANT,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In Re: Claim of Augustus Daniels, No. B-114925.

COUNSEL

Eugene F. Zenobi, with him Alan N. Linder, J. Richard Gray and James Breslauer, for appellant.

Sydney Reuben, Assistant Attorney General, with him Israel Packel, Attorney General, for appellee.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Mencer.

Author: Mencer

[ 10 Pa. Commw. Page 242]

We are here confronted with the question of whether a recoupment of certain unemployment compensation benefits, allegedly erroneously paid to Augustus Daniels (claimant) by reason of his fault, can be achieved by deducting a sum equal to the amount of overpayment from future compensation payable and due the claimant, without his being afforded an evidentiary hearing on the question of fault, comporting with due process requirements, before the deduction from benefits. We conclude that such a hearing is constitutionally required and accordingly this case must be remanded.

The claimant had been employed by J. A. Jones Construction Company, Mt. Holly Springs, Pennsylvania,

[ 10 Pa. Commw. Page 243]

    and his last day of work with this company was February 15, 1972. An application for unemployment compensation benefits had previously been filed by the claimant qualifying him for weekly benefits in the amount of $93.00. The claimant reopened his claim on February 16, 1972 and, commencing on February 29, 1972, he received $93.00 each week for four weeks. The claimant worked March 27, 1972 for Thomas A. Armbruster and earned $105.70. His separation from Armbruster was not due to conditions that were of a disqualifying nature. The payment of March 28, 1972 was $22.00 because claimant had reported his earnings of $105.70.

On April 17, 1972, the Bureau of Employment Security (Bureau) issued a determination which held the claimant ineligible for unemployment compensation benefits under the provisions of Sections 401(f) and 402(e) of the Unemployment Compensation Law, Act of December 5, 1936, Second Ex. Sess., P.L. (1937) 2897, as amended, 43 P.S. §§ 801(f), 802(e), in that the claimant did not earn six times his weekly benefit rate after having been separated due to willful misconduct in connection with his work with the J. A. Jones Construction Company.

Significantly, claimant did not appeal from the determination of April 17, 1972, and it became final on April 27, 1972. A consequence of this determination was that an overpayment of $208.00 had been made to claimant. On June 28, 1972, claimant was notified that he had received $208.00 in benefits to which he was not entitled and, as a result, a fault overpayment had been established. Claimant appealed from this determination on July 6, 1972. However, prior thereto the Bureau withheld three checks totaling $208.00 from claimant. These checks were due claimant for the weeks ending June 20, 1972, June 27, 1972, and July 4, 1972.

[ 10 Pa. Commw. Page 244]

Section 804 of the Unemployment Compensation Law, 43 P.S. § 874, relating to recovery and recoupment of compensation benefit ...


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