Thursday, May 31, 2012

UC - late appeal - two contrary determinations in the same envelope

Martilla v. UCBR - Cmwlth. Court - May 31, 2012 - unpublished memorandum decision

Claimant's late appeal could not be considered nunc pro tunc, since there was no breakdown in the administrative system under the fact of the case.

Claimant filed an application for benefits. The UC Service Center issued two Notices of Determination, both of which were in the same envelope: the first indicated that Claimant was eligible for benefits under Section 402(e) because he was not discharged for willful misconduct, but the second indicated that he was ineligible under Section 402(h) due to engaging in self-employment.

Claimant, however, only saw the determination finding him eligible under 402(e) and did not take out the other documents in the envelope until several weeks later, when he noticed that he was not getting UC benefits, at which time he filed an appeal.

The court said

Claimant does not demonstrate how receiving two notices in the same envelope – one which found him eligible for benefits and one which found him ineligible – amounts to an administrative breakdown. Because he admits that he received the determination finding him ineligible for benefits under Section 402(h) of the Law, Claimant was not misled by the Service Center, but only by his own failure to read all documents sent to him. Additionally, as the Referee pointed out, while Claimant received confirmation notices after he submitted his bi-weekly claims, these notices were nothing more than a confirmation that the claim had been received, not a notification that Claimant would be paid. Claimant’s subjective belief, coupled with his failure to monitor whether he was actually receiving the money, does not amount to an administrative breakdown.

Claimant also argues that he should be allowed to file his claim late because he did not act negligently in failing to timely file his appeal. However, the Board properly determined that Claimant was negligent in failing to read all documents in the envelope from the Service Center and in failing to monitor his bank account for several months. Claimant’s appeal was, therefore, properly dismissed as untimely.


The opinion, though not reported, may be cited "for its persuasive value, but not as binding precedent." 210 Pa. Code § 67.55. Citing Judicial Opinions.