What You Should Know About Act 534/632 Benefits
April 4, 2016
What Benefits does Act 534/632 Provide for Injured Workers?
Act 534/632 provides that covered employees be compensated at full salary while they are disabled from work. All medical expenses shall be paid by the Commonwealth for treatment of the work injury. In addition to getting paid full salary, injured employees are maintained in regular employment status, receiving full benefits and pension contributions.
Who is Covered by Act 534/632?
Act 534 covers employees of State Hospitals, State Centers and Youth Development Centers under the Department of Human Services who are injured at the hand of a patient or resident. Act 632 covers employees of any State penal or correctional institutions who are injured by the act of an inmate. Act 534 also covers any employee of a County Board of Assistance injured by the act of an applicant for or recipient of public assistance, as well as any employee of the Department of Human Services who has been assigned to or has volunteered to join the fire fighting force of any institution of DHS who is injured while carrying out fire fighting duties.
What is the Difference Between Act 534/632 and Workers’ Compensation?
Injured employees who are covered by Act 534/632 have a dual entitlement to benefits under both Act 534/632 and the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. Employees do not receive pay under both laws. Employees receive their full pay under Act 534/632 (100% of salary). In addition, Act 534/632 protects all employee benefits, such as pension credits, health insurance and annual leave. In contrast, workers’ compensation only pays wage loss benefits at the rate of 2/3 of average earnings for the year before the injury. Workers’ compensation does not provide coverage of health insurance, pension credit or annual leave.
How Long May an Injured Worker Receive Act 534/632 Benefits?
An injured worker may receive Act 534/632 benefits indefinitely. However, the Commonwealth has the ability to challenge an employee’s receipt of benefits under both Act 534/632 and workers’ compensation. Challenges are handled by the Department of Human Services for Act 534 and Department of Corrections for Act 632. Workers’ Compensation petitions are assigned to Workers’ Compensation Judges. All types of challenges can result in the employee’s wage loss benefits being stopped. The Commonwealth can file to terminate a claim under all of the applicable statutes. The Commonwealth can also file to stop wage loss compensation under all applicable statutes.
Do I Need a Lawyer if I am Receiving Act 534/632 Benefits?
Lawyers from the Workers’ Compensation Department at Willig, Williams & Davidson have represented many workers who are filing for Act 534/632 benefits as well as workers who are resisting attempts by the Commonwealth to terminate their benefits. If you desire representation contact us at 1-866-413-COMP (2667).
If you are receiving Act 534/632 benefits, you can be represented at no cost to you. Legal representation for employees receiving Act 534/632 benefits is paid by the Commonwealth. Under the law, the employee must receive their full salary. If attorney fees are awarded while the employee is still receiving Act 534/632 benefits, the fees are not charged to the employee, but instead are paid in full by the Commonwealth.
It is important that your legal representation be familiar with and capable of handling challenges filed under both Act 534/632 and the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act. Protect your entitlement to benefits by obtaining an attorney who can guard your rights under Act 534/632 and workers’ compensation. Call 1-866-413-COMP (2667) to discuss your case with a certified Workers’ Compensation attorney who is also experienced in handling Act 534/632 matters.