Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Where Valuable Pension Rights Are Forfeited Rather Than Delayed, Modified Duty Job Not Available

City of Philadelphia v. WCAB (Shanks) is another case where the City of Philadelphia sought to bring an injured firefighter and EMT back to a dispatcher position. The Claimant was 43, so he was not eligible for his firefighters pension at age 45. The dispatcher position offered the municipal pension plan. Under these circumstances, the Claimant would forfeit his firefighters pension eligibility if he returned to work in the dispatcher position.

In City of Philadelphia v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Bd. (Szparagowski), 574 Pa. 372, 831 A.2d 577 (2003) the Supreme Court said employees who had already retired under the firefighters plan had to return to work. Their return to work only delayed receipt of their vested benefits. The Commonwealth Court distinguished Szparagowski and said since the Claimant in this case would lose eligibility for the more financially favorable firefighters plan, the dispatcher job was not available.

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