Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of William Glinka v. Sears, Roebuck & Company, No. A-76131.
Paul Auerbach, for petitioner.
Susan McLaughlin, Harvey, Pennington, Hertig & Renneisen, Ltd., for respondent, Sears, Roebuck and Company.
Judges Craig and Colins, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Colins.
[ 104 Pa. Commw. Page 176]
On September 30, 1972, while employed by Sears, Roebuck and Company (employer) as a debt collector, William M. Glinka (claimant) suffered lower back injuries
[ 104 Pa. Commw. Page 177]
in an automobile accident. Claimant attempted to return to work on November 27, 1972, but he developed a chronic lower back condition, which required disc surgery in February of 1973, and thereafter manifested a chronic post-laminectomy syndrome which made claimant unable to return to work. He has been receiving total disability benefits since this time.
On May 8, 1981, the claimant filed a Petition for Commutation of Compensation pursuant to Section 412 of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act (Act), Act of June 2, 1915, P.L. 736, as amended, 77 P.S. § 791. The employer contested this petition, and filed a Petition for Termination, Suspension or Modification of claimant's benefits. A workmen's compensation referee consolidated the cases for hearing, and on October 11, 1983, issued a decision dismissing the commutation petition and granting the suspension petition. The claimant appealed to the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board), which affirmed the referee's decision. This appeal followed.
Commutation of compensation is provided for by Section 316 of the Act, 77 P.S. § 604:
The compensation contemplated by this article may at any time be commuted by the board, at its then value when discounted at five per centum interest, with annual rests, upon application of either party, with due notice to the other, if it appear that such commutation will be for the best interest of the employe or the dependents of the deceased employe, and that it will avoid undue expense or undue hardship to either party. . . .
The referee does not have exclusive jurisdiction over commutation requests. Section 316 of the Act, 77 P.S. § 604, and Section 412 of the Act, 77 P.S. § 791, have been ...