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MARY LIGHTCAP v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (06/24/87)

decided: June 24, 1987.

MARY LIGHTCAP, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, (EBENSBURG CENTER), RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Office of Hearings and Appeals of the Department of Public Welfare, in case of Appeal of: Mary Lightcap, Re: Act 534, dated April 1, 1983.

COUNSEL

Richard J. Russell, for petitioner.

Howard Ulan, Chief Counsel, with him, Helga L. Kumar and James S. Marshall, Assistant Counsels, for respondent.

Judges Craig and Palladino, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Palladino.

Author: Palladino

[ 107 Pa. Commw. Page 99]

This is an appeal by Mary Lightcap (Lightcap) from a final order entered by the Department of Public Welfare

[ 107 Pa. Commw. Page 100]

(DPW) adopting a recommendation of an attorney examiner who calculated the benefits of Lightcap pursuant to Act 534.*fn1

The facts are not in dispute. On November 16, 1979, Lightcap was injured in the course of her duties while employed at the Ebensburg Center operated by DPW. Lightcap's claim for injuries was initially treated as a workmen's compensation claim. Lightcap, however, had requested to receive benefits under Act 534. By decision dated November 3, 1982, DPW denied this request and Lightcap appealed to the Office of Hearings and Appeals. After a hearing, a hearing officer found that Lightcap had been injured by an "act of a patient" which rendered her claim compensable under Act 534. On April 1, 1983, the Office of Hearings and Appeals issued a final decision determining that Lightcap's injury was compensable under Act 534. Subsequently, DPW calculated benefits due Lightcap under Act 534 and credits for workmen's compensation and other benefits received by Lightcap.

It is not disputed that Lightcap was absent from employment with DPW for a total of 582 days. During the period of disability, Lightcap received $15,960.70 in workmen's compensation benefits. In addition, Lightcap received $3,985.10 in work-related disability leave benefits (WRDL) pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement*fn2 and was paid for 139.4 days of accumulated

[ 107 Pa. Commw. Page 101]

    leave-time following the expiration of WRDL payments. Act 534 benefits were calculated on the basis of a constant $40.875 per day for the 582 days of absence. This figure was derived from the hourly rate of pay which Lightcap received at the time of injury. However, as of July 1, 1980, had Lightcap not been injured, her hourly wage would have increased to $5.75 per hour and would have further increased to $6.21 per hour on July 1, 1981 and $6.71 per hour on July 1, 1982. The WRDL benefits received by Lightcap incorporated these contractual pay raises.

DPW calculated an overpayment of $1,168.98 as a result of the payment of workmen's compensation and WRDL payments credited against Act 534 liability. DPW also took a full credit for the ...


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