Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in case of In Re: Claim of John P. Koba, No. B-124930-B.
James B. Lieber, for appellant.
Susan Shinkman, Assistant Attorney General, with her Sydney Reuben, Assistant Attorney General, and Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for appellee.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Mencer and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.
[ 29 Pa. Commw. Page 265]
John Koba (claimant) appeals to this Court from an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) which affirmed the referee's denial of unemployment compensation benefits. The refusal was based on Section 401(d) of the Unemployment Compensation Law*fn1 (Law).
The claimant had been employed by Budd Company as a rigger for approximately four years when he injured his back during a three-week vacation. Reporting to work after the vacation, he had been placed on
[ 29 Pa. Commw. Page 266]
lay-off status because of his inability to do the heavy lifting required by his job and because lighter work was unavailable. The Bureau of Employment Security (Bureau) denied his petition for benefits, and the referee affirmed the determination that the claimant was not able and available for work. The Board also denied benefits initially, and, after a further hearing and oral argument, it again denied the claimant's petition. This appeal followed.
A claimant for unemployment compensation benefits has the burden of proving that he is able to work and available for suitable work. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review v. Patsy, 21 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 341, 345 A.2d 785 (1975). Where, as here, the decision of the Board is against the party with the burden of proof, our review is limited to a determination of whether or not the findings of fact are consistent with each other and with the Board's conclusions of law and whether or not they can be sustained without a capricious disregard of competent evidence. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review v. Gochenauer, 21 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 23, 342 A.2d 504 (1975).
At issue here is the Board's finding that "the claimant was not able to accept suitable work because of his physical condition." The record contains three doctors' reports concerning the claimant's ability to work: (1) a Bureau certification form completed by his personal physician, dated July 12, 1974, which indicated that the claimant was unable to accept gainful employment as of May 12, 1974 and that the physician was then uncertain as to the date on which the claimant would be able to accept employment; (2) an identical Bureau form completed by a different doctor, dated July 23, 1974, which indicated that the claimant was able to accept gainful employment as of May 13, 1974; and (3) a note written by the claimant's personal
[ 29 Pa. Commw. Page 267]
physician on April 2, 1975 which stated that the claimant "was able to resume work 5-13-74, ...