Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in the case of In Re: Claim of Ida D. Sanders, No. B-209288.
Elaine B. Battle, for petitioner.
Richard F. Faux, Associate Counsel, with him, Richard L. Cole, Jr., Chief Counsel, for respondent.
Judges Doyle, Colins and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle.
Ida D. Sanders (Claimant) has appealed a decision and order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) which denied her benefits under Section 404(d)(iii) (the pension offset provision) of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Law).*fn1 We affirm.
On April 4, 1982 Claimant filed an application for unemployment benefits and was found to be entitled to a weekly benefit of $60.00. Because of an increase in the monthly Social Security check in June 1982 however, the Board determined that Claimant's Social Security payment exceeded her weekly unemployment compensation benefits and, accordingly, reduced her benefit to zero.
Section 404(d)(iii) of the Law provides in pertinent part:
[E]ach eligible employee . . . shall be paid . . . compensation in an amount equal to his weekly benefit rate less . . . (iii) an amount equal to the amount of a governmental or other pension, retirement or retired pay, annuity, or any other similar periodic payment which is based on the previous work of such individual. . . (Emphasis added.)
Claimant contends that her Social Security benefits are not a pension within the meaning of Section 404(d)(iii) because they are not based upon her previous employment. While this precise question is one of first impression, we have in the past decided cases where Social Security payments were, in fact, offset. See Mahland v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 83 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 301, 476 A.2d 1023 (1984); Hawrylak v. Unemployment Compensation Page 3} Board of Review, 74 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 223, 459 A.2d 883 (1983). In these cases a direct challenge to social security payments qualifying as offset debits was not made and the decisions were based on other issues.
We must determine first whether the payments in question constitute a pension. In construing Section 404(d)(iii) previously this Court reviewed the legislative history and amendments pertinent to this section of the Law and stated:
[W]e are of the opinion that the general language used [in Section 404(d)(iii)] is an indication of the legislature's intent that the clause be all inclusive. Our conclusion in that respect is based upon our research of the various amendments to Section 404(d) beginning in 1968 with the Act of January 17, 1968, P.L. 21. It is apparent to us from that research that the legislature has followed a steady course beginning with a very limited ...