Workers' Comp In-Cites
Welcome to the latest edition of Schaff & Young's Workers' Comp In-Cites. Designed to provide our clients with practical insight, Workers' Comp In-Cites outlines recent developments in Pennsylvania workers' compensation law and explains how those decisions impact our clients and their cases. Barbara Young, Michael Schaff and the other attorneys at Schaff & Young, P.C. are always available to discuss these cases – or any other questions or concerns you might have. Just give us a call at (215) 988-0090 or send an email to We look forward to hearing from you.

Pension Offsets – Employers Must Calculate the Offset Based on the Net Benefits Received

In Philadelphia Gas Works v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Amodei), the Commonwealth Court ruled that pension offsets against workers’ compensation benefits under §204(a) of the Act must be calculated based upon the net pension benefits received rather than the gross pension benefits received. This decision effectively overrules Steinmetz v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Cooper Power Systems), and affirms the principal that offsets should not reduce the total amount received by injured workers.

March 2009 Edition
Volume III
Number 3

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A Discogram Is Not an Objective Diagnostic Test

In one of the first cases to address discograms, the Commonwealth Court has affirmed the termination of benefits even though the claimant’s medical expert testified that a discogram was an “objective” test. The Court disagreed and held that the termination was proper because the employer’s medical expert unequivocally testified that there were no objective findings to substantiate claims of pain or connect them to the work injury. In the case, Michel v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (United States Steel Corp.), the Court noted that medical expert’s testimony that a discogram – which has both objective and subjective components – is not, as a matter of law, an objective test whose findings are sufficient to preclude a termination of benefits.

"No Work” Jobs – Claimant Must Still Be Able to Stay Awake

That’s the ruling in Channellock Inc. v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Reynolds), in which the Commonwealth Court ruled that, when a claimant’s work related injury requires medications that make him drowsy and prevent him from staying alert/awake, and the employer’s “no work” job requires the claimant to stay awake, a Workers’ Compensation Judge does not err by concluding that the claimant is not physically able to do the offered job.