Pa. Hikes Maximum Weekly Workers’ Comp Benefit

December 29, 2004

Pennsylvania Secretary of Labor & Industry Stephen M. Schmerin announced increases in the maximum weekly benefits for new unemployment compensation beneficiaries and new workers compensation claimants, effective the first full week of January 2005.

“Pennsylvania’s workers have been hit hard by recent economic stresses, and these increases will provide needed assistance to those who deserve it,” Schmerin said.

Unemployment compensation payments, for workers who lose jobs through no fault of their own, are generally one half of a worker’s former salary up to a weekly maximum. The weekly unemployment compnesation maximum will increase from $461 a week to $478 a week for claimants qualifying after Jan. 1, 2005.

Workers compensation benefits, for workers injured on the job, are generally two-thirds of a worker’s pre-injury wages, up to a weekly maximum, which will increase $26, to $716 per week from $690 per week for workers injured on or after Jan. 1, 2005.

Schmerin also reminded the public that a series of legislatively mandated unemployment compensation solvency taxes will go into effect Jan. 1, which is projected to add $601 million to the UC Trust Fund, which supports unemployment compensation benefit payments.

“These tax changes will allow the UC Trust Fund to stay solvent and continue to pay benefits to laid-off workers,” Schmerin said. “Because of the 2001 recession and the resulting slow job recovery, the trust fund balance declined to $608 million at the end of 2004 from $3 billion in May 2001, necessitating a series of legislatively mandated tax changes to strengthen the fund’s financial stability.”

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