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Workers' Compensation

Adjudication

Hearing Procedure Updates:

As of Monday, February 28, 2022, the mask mandate for all Commonwealth employees and contracted vendors was lifted. Although encouraged, masks are now not required to be worn by employees, contractors or visitors while doing business at Commonwealth offices.

In response to the lifting of the mask mandate, the Workers’ Compensation Office of Adjudication (WCOA) will take the following initiatives:

    • Workers' Compensation Judges (WJC) may now exercise their discretion to schedule mediations virtually or in-person;

    • WCJ’s are encouraged to continue to schedule non-testimonial hearings (pre-trials, status listings, supersedeas hearings, uncontested matters, etc.) virtually through Microsoft Teams. Recognizing that there may be circumstances requiring an in-person hearing for non-testimonial matters, counsel are instructed to follow current protocols to request a change: file an appropriate WCAIS request with the adjudicating WCJ listing the reasons for the request as well as the position of opposing counsel/party. The type of request to be filed is listed in the updated Judge Questionnaires, the link to which is available on your WCAIS dashboard.

    • For hearings at which testimony is expected, the individual WCJ will exercise adjudicatory discretion to schedule the hearing in-person or virtually. Should counsel or a party disagree and wish to change the listing from virtual to in-person, or vice versa, they may file an appropriate request listing the reasons for the request as well as the position of opposing counsel. The type of request to be filed is listed in the updated Judge Questionnaires, the link to which is available on your WCAIS dashboard.

These matters should now be discussed by counsel/parties prior to and at the first listing of the dispute before the adjudicating WCJ. We appreciate your patience as we gradually transition into more regularly scheduled in-person events.


Statute Notice:

On December 22, 2021, Governor Wolf signed into law Act 95 of 2021 permanently amending the language of Section 449(c) of the Workers’ Compensation Act. Pertaining to the obligation that Claimant’s signature on a Compromise and Release (C & R) agreement be attested to by two witnesses or notarized, the statute now includes the following language:

However, the attestation by two witnesses or acknowledgment before a notary public shall not be required if the employee, widow or widower or dependent appears before the workers' compensation judge for the purposes of a hearing required under subsection (b) and provides a sworn oral statement that he or she understands the full legal significance of the agreement. 

The statute goes into effect on February 20, 2022. Currently, attestation or notarization is not required under a temporary extension of the Governor’s Disaster Declaration suspension of that section of the Act which was due to expire on March 31, 2022. Act 95 of 2021 makes the change permanent.



Announcements

  • WORKERS’ COMPENSATION OFFICE OF ADJUDICATION TRANSITION TO MICROSOFT TEAMS

    WCOA will be transitioning from the Microsoft Skype for Business meeting platform to its successor Microsoft Teams. These two platforms are very similar in their teleconference/videoconference functions.  Stakeholders will still click on “Join Meeting” in the e-mail that is sent by the Judge’s office.  Remember to do this before the hearing or mediation to ensure that you have the application you need on the device you are using.  This will avoid delays.  WCOA will continue to utilize Skype to schedule events until February 28, 2021.  Thereafter, events will be scheduled using Microsoft Teams. 

    Judges currently using the WebEx teleconference/videoconference platform will continue to do so.


  • The WCOA RESOURCE CENTER is a one-stop shop for all of your WCOA related needs. Contact the WCOA Resource Center if you …
    • Need assistance navigating the WCAIS system
    • Need assistance navigating the Workers' Comp Adjudication process in general
    • Want to report WCAIS system defects
    • Have an idea to enhance the WCAIS system

    Submit a question or chat live with the WCOA Resource Center by selecting the "Contact Us" option from the Customer Service Center dropdown in WCAIS (www.wcais.pa.gov). You may also contact us via e-mail at WCOAResourceCenter@pa.gov or telephone at 1-844-237-6316. Hours of operation are 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday – Friday.

    Central District Hearing and Mediation Cancellation/Delay Policy
    Southeastern District Hearing and Mediation Cancelation/Delay Policy
    Western District Hearing and Mediation Cancellation/Delay Policy
    Eastern District Hearing and Mediation Cancellation/Delay Policy

  • Attorneys Filing UEGF Notices of Claims/Claim Petitions

    A Notice of Claim Against Uninsured Employer, Form LIBC-551, may be completed, signed by the claimant, and uploaded into WCAIS and will constitute notice to the Fund, pursuant to section 16-3(b) of the PA Worker’s Compensation Act, 77 P.S. §2703(b). If you cannot upload this form into the WCAIS system, you may notify the Fund of this claim by mailing the completed form to the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, attention UEGF, 1171 S. Cameron St., Room 103, Harrisburg, PA 17104-2501.

    A Claim Petition for Benefits from the Uninsured Employer and the Uninsured Employers Guaranty Fund, Form LIBC-550, may be filed 21 days after filing the UEGF Notice. If you do not wish to upload the UEGF Claim Petition form via the WCAIS system, you may mail the completed petition to Office of Adjudication, attention Petitions Unit at 1010 North 7th Street, 2nd Floor Room 202, Harrisburg, PA 17102-1400.

  • WC FORMS NOTICE: The workers' compensation forms listed on the Department of Labor & Industry website are provided for your immediate use. However, the Bureau of Workers' Compensation and the Workers' Compensation Office of Adjudication require their use on the effective dates noted on the website. Previous versions of these forms submitted after their effective dates will not be accepted and will be returned to the filing party.

  • CIMS Claims Converted to WCAIS (effective September 2013).

  • Notice Regarding WCOA Email Resource Accounts: Email resource accounts have been created for all WCOA field offices. These email accounts may be used to send emails and certain documents to any WCOA field office. Additional information about the email resource accounts is available here.

  • Obtaining UC Information for Hearings

    Due to changes in Federal regulations, Pennsylvania made changes to the Unemployment Compensation (UC) Chapter 61 regulations, effective February 12, 2011. The regulations now contain provisions which limit the use of unemployment compensation information in courts. Information on how to obtain Unemployment Benefits Offset Information for use in Workers' Compensation claims in light of these changes is available here.

  • To request additional security for a hearing or mediation, please call the assigned judge's office and ask for the clerical supervisor. Please call as far as possible in advance of the hearing or mediation date, and be prepared to supply necessary information including the date and time of the hearing or mediation and the nature of the security concern.

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