Appeal from the order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, in the case of In Re: Claim of Daniel T. Rosler, No. B-255901.
Frank Ledahawsky, Northern Pennsylvania Legal Services, Inc., for petitioner.
Jonathan Zorach, Assistant Counsel, with him, Gary L. Kelley, Assistant Counsel, Clifford F. Blaze, Deputy Chief Counsel, for respondent.
Judges Barry and Smith, and Senior Judge Narick, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Smith.
[ 116 Pa. Commw. Page 605]
Petitioner Daniel Rosler (Claimant) appeals an order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (Board) which affirmed the referee who determined Claimant to be ineligible for benefits for failure to meet the financial eligibility requirements of Section 404 of the Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Law (Law).*fn1 The Board's decision is affirmed.
[ 116 Pa. Commw. Page 606]
The issue presented by this appeal is whether Claimant is financially ineligible to receive unemployment compensation benefits because of his discharge from the United States Navy under other than honorable conditions. Title 5 of the United States Code, as amended by Pub.L. 94-566, 90 Stat. 2667 (5 U.S.C. §§ 8521-8525) provides for a program of unemployment compensation for unemployed persons who become separated from the Armed Forces.*fn2 Initially, we note
[ 116 Pa. Commw. Page 607]
that under federal law, the unemployment compensation authorities of the various states are empowered to act as agents of the federal government in extending benefits to covered federal employees.*fn3
Claimant argues that the Board's application of the law in requiring honorable discharge as a prerequisite to eligibility is unconstitutional and violative of the due process and equal protection clauses of the United States Constitution. This Court will accordingly consider Claimant's appeal consistent with its limited scope of review to determine whether constitutional rights have been violated; whether an error of law was committed; or whether necessary findings of fact are supported by substantial evidence. Estate of McGovern v. State Employees' Retirement Board, 512 Pa. 377, 517 A.2d 523 (1986).
The facts in this case are not in dispute. Claimant served an enlistment period in the United States Navy from August 17, 1983 until October 10, 1986, the date of his discharge under other than honorable conditions. He applied for benefits effective November 9, 1986 which were denied by the Office of Employment Security (OES) under Section 404 of the Law. Claimant appealed the OES decision. At the hearing before the referee, Claimant testified that during his enlistment in the Navy, he was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol which was reduced by the court to reckless driving with alcohol. As a result, Claimant was offered the option of obtaining good evaluations from his superiors and remaining in ...