Friday, March 05, 2010

UC - financial eligibility

Fasy v. UCBR - Cmwlth. Court - March 5, 2010 - unreported memorandum opinion


http://www.pacourts.us/OpPosting/Cwealth/out/1442CD09_3-5-10.pdf

Claimant had high quarter wages of $13,846.00 in the 4th quarter of 2008, and total base year wages of $21,515.00.

Section 401(a) of the Law provides that compensation shall be payable to any employee who is or becomes unemployed and who has, within the base year, been paid wages for employment as required by Section 404(c) of the Law.

Section 404(c) of the Law sets forth that a claimant’s financial eligibility will be determined in accordance with the table set forth in Section 404(e) of the Law. Section 404(e) of the Law provides that a claimant whose highest quarter base year wages amount to $13,846.00 can qualify for benefits at a weekly rate of $556.00 provided his total base year wages amount to at least $22,160.00.

In the present controversy, Claimant’s total base year wages amounted to $21,515.00, an amount which falls short of the qualifying $22,160.00. Therefore, Claimant must be ruled financially ineligible for benefits under Section 404(e) of the Law.

However, Section 404(a)(3) of the Law provides the following:

If the base year wages of an employe whose weekly benefit rate has been determined under clause (1) of paragraph (1) of this subsection, or redetermined under paragraph (2) of this subsection, as the case may be, are insufficient to qualify him under subsection (c) of this section but are sufficient to qualify him for any one of the next three lower weekly benefit rates, his weekly benefit rate shall be redetermined at the highest of such next lower rates.

The third lowest weekly benefit rate requires total base year wages of $22,040.00. As stated previously, Claimant’s total base year wages amounted to $21,515.00, which is less than the third lowest weekly benefit rate required. Therefore, Claimant is financially ineligible for benefits under Section 404(a)(3) of the Law and the Board and referee did not err in so determining.

In Martin v. UCBR, 502 Pa. 282, 466 A.2d 107 (1983), the Supreme Court determined that the statutory scheme used to determine the level of monetary earnings qualifying a worker for unemployment compensation benefits under Section 404(a) of the Law, did not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Thus, the Board, in the present controversy, did not violate Claimant’s constitutional rights.

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