Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, in the case of Joseph M. Cyga, Jr., Deceased, Bonnie L. Cyga, widow v. Shade Mining Company, No. A-87067.
Patricia A. Rodgers, Rodgers, Rodgers, Morava and Cullis, P.C., for petitioner.
George Thompson, with him, Paul E. Sutter, Tillman & Thompson, for respondents.
Judges Craig and Doyle, and Senior Judge Narick, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle.
[ 105 Pa. Commw. Page 545]
Bonnie L. Cyga (Claimant) has filed a petition for review of an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) denying her death benefits following the death of her former husband, Joseph M. Cyga (Decedent). We affirm.
The facts are not in dispute. Claimant and Decedent were married on August 21, 1971. This bond was severed by a Decree of Divorce entered by the Court of Common Pleas of Somerset County on March 1, 1983,
[ 105 Pa. Commw. Page 546]
which became final on March 31, 1983. Embodied in the decree was an agreement entered into by both parties which included a property settlement, alimony for Claimant, and child support for their two minor children. Decedent was employed by the Shade Mining Company (Employer). On April 25, 1983 the Decedent died in a work-related accident. Claimant filed a Fatal Claim Petition on July 11, 1983 for death benefits for herself and Decedent's two children. Employer has recognized its obligation to pay compensation on behalf of Decedent's children pursuant to an Agreement of Compensation Payable.
Following a hearing the referee found that Claimant was not the Decedent's wife at the time of his death because she was divorced from him, and that she was not, therefore, eligible as a widow for death benefits under Section 307 of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act (Act), Act of June 2, 1915, P.L. 736, as amended, 77 P.S. § 561. On appeal the Board affirmed the referee's decision. This appeal followed.
Pursuant to Section 307 of the Act, 77 P.S. § 561, "widows" are persons eligible for compensation upon the death of an employee. Section 307 of the Act, 77 P.S. § 562*fn1 reads in relevant part:
[n]o compensation shall be payable under this section to a widow, unless she was living with her deceased husband at the time of his death, or was then actually dependent upon him and ...