Wednesday, April 25, 2018

UC - determination - reopening/revision - no time limit

Narducci v. UCBR – Cmwlth. Court – 4-14-18 – reported, for publication - 3-judge panel

Held:  Department had jurisdiction to re-open a case ten (10) months after it had awarded claimant UC benefits, to reverse its initial determination, and to impose a fault overpayment. Employer got notice of initial application for benefits, but did not challenge the claim in any way at that time.   Instead, more than 15 days after receiving the notice, the employer requested relief from charges, based on allegations that on their face would constitute willful misconduct.  Claimant had told the UCSC that he was out of work because of lack of work and was granted benefits because his application was facially valid.   After the Department heard from the employer, it issued a revised determination, holding that claimant was ineligible because of willful misconduct and imposing a fault overpayment.   Claimant challenged the revised determination as being beyond the applicable time limits and thus outside of the jurisdiction of the Department.  The Court rejected that argument, holding gthat “because the Department does not have a specific time limit during which it must issues notices of determination,  it....had jurisdiction to issue” a revised determination in this case.”

The Court discussed the applicable law in considerable detail and summarized it as follows:

[U]nder Section 501 [43 P.S. sec. 821] of the Law, when a claim is filed, the following is to occur:

            · Employer is to receive notice that a claim is filed, and if it opposes the grant of benefits, employer should provide information within 15 days as to why benefits should not be granted.

            · If an employer does not provide information within 15 days giving reasons why the claim should not be granted, the following is to occur:
                        ·  If the claim is facially valid, then benefits can be granted without a notice of determination being issued;
                        · If the claim is not facially valid and denied, then a notice of determination is issued from which a claimant can take an appeal.

            · No notice of any determination is required to be given to an employer who has not provided information that the claimant is ineligible.

            · If an employer files information after 15 days that claimant should be declared ineligible for benefits, then the employer is entitled to a notice of determination regarding its challenge to claimant’s unemployment eligibility.

            · The Department has no time limit to make a revision to an eligibility determination based on employer’s information that a claimant is not eligible for UC benefits.