v. Heintz Div. Kelsey Hayes, 468 Pa. 200, 360 A.2d 620 (Pa. 1976), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court compared the three classes of injuries discussed in sections 306(a) 306(b), and 306(c) of the Workers' Compensation Act. The court explained that section 306(c) provides the exclusive method for compensating a worker who has suffered the loss or impairment of a body part. Consequently, the court made clear that an employee who receives an award under 306(c) for the loss or impairment of a body part is not entitled to an additional award under 306(a) or (b) for the same body part. This holds true even though the loss or impairment may have rendered him totally or partially disabled within the meaning of 306(a) or (b).
If the Pennsylvania Supreme Court had believed that a 306(c) injury was not a disability, it would have held that a claimant could recover under 306(a) or (b) as well as under 306(c), for the same injury. But, Killian makes clear, however, that the statutorily prescribed amounts awarded under 306(c) are "intended to include all disability emanating from or connected with the loss of a member or a permanent injury to that member." Id. at 623 (emphasis added). Therefore, we read Killian to confirm that 306(c) injuries are disabilities and that simply because the amount of the award under 306(c) is fixed does not negate its status as a "periodic benefit on account of a disability."
Our interpretation is also supported by the language of the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act. The title of section 306(c) explains that the section addresses "compensation for disability from permanent injuries of certain classes." (emphasis added). Additionally, section 306(c) (22), under which plaintiff was awarded compensation for his facial disfigurement, states that an individual shall be compensated "for all disability " resulting from permanent injuries for serious and permanent disfigurement of the head, neck, or face. 77 Pa.Cons.Stat. § 513 (emphasis added). The Pennsylvania legislature plainly contemplated that an award under 306(c) (22) for a facial disfigurement was to compensate the claimant for a "disability."
With respect to the Social Security Act, no legal or logical basis exists to view the term "disability" as used by the Pennsylvania legislature differently than the way it is used by Congress under the offset provision. Moreover, we certainly see no basis for concluding that Congress meant to exempt a 306(c) award from the offset provision.
Nor does plaintiff's position enjoy support in the decisional law of this district. On the contrary, plaintiff's argument, that a workers' compensation award under 306(c) is not a "disability" award and thus, is exempt from the social security offset provision, was expressly rejected in Carnevali v. Heckler, 616 F. Supp. 1500 (W.D. Pa. 1985). We have considered plaintiff's argument that Carnevali should be distinguished because Carnevali involved a loss of a forearm, compensable under 306(c) (2), whereas plaintiff suffered a facial disfigurement, compensable under 306(c) (22). This distinction, however, has no legal significance. The Pennsylvania legislature has not distinguished between losses of body parts and disfigurements in section 306(c). The court finds no reason to do so either. We find plaintiff's argument wholly unpersuasive.
Additionally, the Court of Appeals for the First
Circuits have rejected arguments analogous to those plaintiff presents here. Although the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has not addressed the issue, there is no reason to believe that it would reach a different result on similar facts.
In summary, the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act compensates for disabilities, whether they result in a demonstrated loss of earning power under sections 306(a) and (b) or in a conclusively presumed loss of earning power from permanent injuries, such as the loss of a body part or permanent disfigurement, under section 306(c). All are periodic benefits awarded on account of a disability and are, therefore, subject to the Social Security Act's offset provision.
Finally, plaintiff also challenges the Secretary's decision not to waive the Secretary's recovery of an overpayment of social security disability benefits due to a technical miscalculation. The ALJ decided not to waive plaintiff's repayment because it would not "defeat the purpose of Title II" nor be "against equity and good conscience." A detailed discussion of this issue is unnecessary. After careful consideration, the court finds that this part of the ALJ's decision is supported by substantial evidence and thus is affirmed.
For the foregoing reasons, plaintiff's motion for summary judgment is denied, and the Secretary's motion for summary judgment is granted. The appropriate order follows.
AND NOW, this 15th day of May, 1995, upon consideration of the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment [Docs. #6 & #8], IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff's motion for summary judgment is DENIED, and the Secretary's motion for summary judgment is GRANTED.
BY THE COURT:
Gary L. Lancaster, J.