What are Pennsylvania Heart and Lung Benefits for Injured Workers?

The Pennsylvania Heart and Lung Act applies to certain government employees.  Generally, it applies to certain law enforcement officers who have been injured on the job and such injury has caused temporary disability from performing job duties.  The difference in regular workers compensation benefits under the Pennsylvania Workers Compensation Act is that under the Pennsylvania Heart and Lung Act, injured law enforcement officers are paid their full salary until the temporary disability ends.  The purpose of the Pennsylvania Heart and Lung Act is to compensate law enforcement employees until they recover and can return to work.  If the injury appears to be permanent, then the injured employee should pursue additional benefits under the  Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Act.   Let’s further define PA Heart and Lung benefits.

Pennsylvania Heart & Lung Act Eligibility

Again, most Pennsylvania law enforcement employees are covered under the Pennsylvania Heart and Lung Act.  There are specific eligibility elements that must be met to be eligible for benefits.  They are:

  • Injury must have occurred during the ‘performance’ of duties;
  • The injury is of a temporary nature;
  • The injury prevents the employee from performing any essential functions of his/her job; and
  • The employer takes steps to temporarily restructure the employee’s job duties to accommodate his/her limitations.

Generally, these are the four elements needed to be eligible for benefits under the Pennsylvania Heart and Lung Act.  The Act does not apply to injuries causing permanent disability.

So who is covered by the Pennsylvania Heart & Lung Act?

The Pennsylvania Heart and Lung Act covers many law enforcement or firefighting personnel. Here are the types of job classifications that are included in Pennsylvania Heart and Lung benefits:

  • State, County, Township & City Police and Firefighters
  • Drug Enforcement Agents
  • Sheriff & Deputies
  • LCB Enforcement Officers & Investigators
  • Correctional Employees with that typically involve the Care, Custody and Control of Inmates
  • DPW Psychiatric Security Aides
  • Corrections Psychiatric Security Aides
  • Delaware River Port Authority Police
  • Special Agents of the Office of Attorney General
  • Capital Police

The reporting process

Similar to regular Workers Compensation, covered employees who suffer a work-related injury must report the injury to the employer.  The employee can do so by filing an official report of the injury you sustained.  The injured employee may also be asked to record personal statement about the injury.  The employer will then investigate the matter.  If approved, compensation starts the first day of disability from work.  If denied, the injured employee must file an appeal. The employee will then be provided a hearing as proscribed by the agency’s regulations or governed by a collective bargaining agreement.

We can help you at Mooney Law

We can help.  We can help protect against your employer returning you to light duty sooner than your medical condition should permit.  We can help fend off a termination of your Heart and Lung benefits from a premature “permanency” establishment of your injury.  We can help stop your employer from pressuring you to accept a disability pension before settling your overall claim under your valuable Workers Compensation Act rights.  We can help aggressively pursue medical support for your ongoing claim while you are still receiving Heart and Lung benefits.   Your workers compensation rights should be fully pursued to leverage a lump sum settlement for you.   It is extremely important that your retirement benefits are coordinated with a workers compensation settlement.

It is imperative that you contact Mooney Law when you are on Heart and Lung benefits BEFORE accepting any disability retirement.  We can help you win a lump sum settlement for your permanent work injury.  BUT, it must occur BEFORE accepting disability retirement.  Coordinating your Heart and Lung rights and your Workers Compensation rights can lead to a nice lump sum settlement that YOU DESERVE. Consult Mooney Law right away to maximize your benefits.   Call Mooney Law today for a FREE consultation at 717-200-HELP or 833-MOONEYLAW.  Don’t risk it going it alone.  You can visit the firm website at http://www.mooney4law.com.

Mark Buterbaugh

Attorney representing injured workers and Social Security Disability clients in Pennsylvania and Maryland.