November 13, 2012
DOUGLAS J. MILLER, PETITIONER
UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW, RESPONDENT
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Rochelle S. Friedman, Senior Judge
Submitted: September 14, 2012
BEFORE: HONORABLE DAN PELLEGRINI, President Judge HONORABLE MARY HANNAH LEAVITT, Judge HONORABLE ROCHELLE S. FRIEDMAN, Senior Judge
OPINION BY SENIOR JUDGE FRIEDMAN
Douglas J. Miller (Claimant) petitions, pro se, for review of the February 17, 2012, order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (UCBR) affirming and adopting the referee's determination that Claimant was financially ineligible for benefits pursuant to section 404 of the Unemployment Compensation Law (Law).*fn1 We affirm.
Claimant was employed by the Pennsylvania State University (PSU), at the Altoona Campus, from August 23, 2010, through May 5, 2011, as a part-time lecturer, working eighteen hours per week in the fall of 2010 and ten hours per week in the spring of 2011. (UCBR's Findings of Fact, No. 1.)
During that same time, Claimant was enrolled as a full-time student under NucE601, which is a graduate course designed to allow students time to work on their dissertations. During the entire summer 2010 break, from June 18, 2010, through August 27, 2010, Claimant was employed by PSU as a laboratory assistant, earning $25 per hour, for a total of $3,000. (UCBR's Findings of Fact, Nos. 2-5.)
On July 31, 2011, Claimant filed an application for unemployment compensation benefits based on his earnings from April 1, 2010, through March 31, 2011. During the base year, Claimant had earnings from PSU, while not also enrolled in classes, in the amount of $300 in the second quarter of 2010, and $2,700 in the third quarter of 2010. (UCBR's Findings of Fact, Nos. 6-7.)
On September 26, 2011, the local service center issued a revised notice of determination, finding that Claimant was financially ineligible for benefits.*fn2
Claimant appealed to the referee. Following a hearing, the referee affirmed, denying benefits pursuant to section 404 of the Law. Claimant appealed to the UCBR, which, on February 17, 2012, affirmed the referee's decision. Claimant now petitions this court for review.*fn3
Initially, Claimant argues that the UCBR erred in finding that section 4(l)(4)(10)(B) of the Law, 43 P.S. §753(l)(4)(10)(B), disqualified him from receiving unemployment compensation benefits. Claimant contends that he was finished with his classes and was no longer bound by residency requirements as of August 2010.*fn4
Claimant further contends that he was registered as a noncredit student, having no additional classes to take, and was seeking full-time employment prior to completing his dissertation and doctoral defense. Claimant states that the position of part-time lecturer was not a student employee position.
Section 4(l)(4)(10)(B) of the Law provides that employment shall not include:
Service performed in the employ of a school, college or university if such service is performed (i) by a student who is enrolled and is regularly attending classes at such school, college or university . . . . 43 P.S. §753(l)(4)(10)(B).
In Knee v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 415 A.2d 1008 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1980), Knee was registered as a full-time dissertation student, having completed her formal classroom studies, and was preparing for her comprehensive examinations. The UCBR excluded the wages she earned while she was preparing for her comprehensive examinations and working as a teaching fellow because she was enrolled as a full-time dissertation student at that time. Id. at 1009. This court affirmed, finding that Knee was a full-time dissertation student and was not finished with her studies. Id.
Here, the UCBR found that Claimant was employed as a part-time lecturer while he was enrolled as a full-time student working on his dissertation, from August 23, 2010, through May 5, 2011. (UCBR's Findings of Fact, Nos. 1-3.) Claimant was registered as a full-time student while completing the dissertation portion of the doctoral program at PSU. Therefore, according to Knee, Claimant was not eligible for unemployment benefits. The UCBR did not err in excluding Claimant's earnings from August 23, 2010, through May 5, 2011, in calculating Claimant's unemployment benefits.
Once those earnings are excluded, Claimant was not eligible for benefits pursuant to section 404 of the Law, 43 P.S. §804, because he did not meet the minimum qualifying base year wages. Section 404(e)(1) of the Law, 43 P.S. §804(e)(1), provides that a claimant with high quarterly wages of $2,700 would be financially eligible for benefits at a rate of $110 per week provided he had base year wages of at least $4,320. Claimant's total base year earnings, after the excluded earnings were deducted, were only $3,000. Therefore, Claimant did not meet the test of financial eligibility under section 404 of the Law.
Accordingly, we affirm.
IN THE COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA
No. 751 C.D. 2012
Douglas J. Miller, Petitioner v. Unemployment Compensation : Board of Review, : Respondent
AND NOW, this 13th day of November, 2012, the order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, dated February 17, 2012, in the above-captioned matter, is affirmed.
ROCHELLE S. FRIEDMAN, Senior Judge