Heart and Lung Act Attorneys in York, PA
Protecting injured law enforcement workers in South Central Pennsylvania
If you work within one of the law enforcement fields covered under the Pennsylvania Heart and Lung Act, this legislation is highly relevant if you are injured on the job. Even if this law does not apply directly to you, it may affect a family member or loved one. It is essential to understand the basics of this law, including the details, its scope and benefits, and most importantly, who it affects.
Understanding the Heart and Lung Act is essential information for anyone who works and lives in Pennsylvania. The York injury attorneys at KBG Injury Law offer a detailed overview, and are here to help if you are a civic employee or member of law enforcement injured in the line of duty. We understand this process can often be complicated and frustrating. Let our legal team handle the details and sort out any problems. Contact us today.
How can we help?
- What is the Heart and Lung Act?
- What is the difference between the Heart and Lung Act and workers’ compensation?
- Who is eligible under the Heart and Lung Act?
- To what benefits am I entitled under the Pennsylvania Heart and Lung Act?
- How do I get benefits under the Heart and Lung Act?
- Can I get workers’ compensation and Heart and Lung benefits at the same time?
- How long do Heart and Lung benefits last?
What is the Heart and Lung Act?
The Heart and Lung Act is legislation passed in 1935 allowing certain injured workers to receive their full salary, free of taxation. The state defines this salary as the worker’s regular base pay minus any overtime.
Specifically, the Heart and Lung Act applies to certain law enforcement workers injured in the line of duty. If you (or your loved one) are injured while in the performance of your duties and temporarily unable to work, you can apply to receive benefits under the Act. Note, however, that this law does not apply to workers whose injuries result in permanent disability. For these types of situations, workers should refer to general workers’ compensation law. Our York attorneys can talk to you about your particular circumstances.
What is the difference between the Heart and Lung Act and workers’ compensation?
As you can see, there are a few similarities between the Heart and Lung Act and workers’ compensation. They do share some overlap and operate in the same general area of the law. However, despite similarities, these are two very different laws.
Workers’ compensation is built to provide a safety net for workers injured on the job. If an employee suffers an injury or condition as a result of their employment, they can apply for workers’ compensation benefits to help pay for wages and medical expenses.
Two of the most significant differences between the two types of compensation are:
- To whom it applies:The first notable differences that the Heart and Lung Act is restricted to only workers in the fields of law enforcement. Later, we will cover the specifics of who falls under this umbrella. Workers’ compensation, on the other hand, can cover virtually any employee in any field.
- The nature of the injury:Workers’ compensation can apply to both workers who are temporarily injured and those who have suffered a permanent disability. The Heart and Lung Act, however, applies to those who are temporarily disabled but expect to be able to return to work again.
Based on these two differences, an individual covered by the Heart and Lung Act is likely also to be eligible for workers’ compensation. However, not everyone eligible for workers’ compensation is covered under the Heart and Lung Act. The attorneys at KBG Injury Law can help you determine your eligibility.
Who is eligible under the Heart and Lung Act?
The broadest definition states that this law applies to those in law enforcement professions. Following are the specific categories of workers who are covered under the Heart and Lung Act:
- State police personnel
- Liquor Control Board employees, including both investigators and enforcement officers
- Board of Probation and Parole employees, including investigators, parole agents and enforcement officers
- Department of Corrections employees in charge of inmate custody, care and control
- Department of Corrections/Department of Human Services employees, specifically psychiatric security aides in charge of inmate control, custody and care
- Office of the Attorney General employees, specifically enforcement agents
- Office of the Attorney General Employees, specifically those special agents with the duty of enforcing Pennsylvania’s criminal laws
- Delaware River Port Authority Police employees
- Firemen, park guards or police officers of any township, borough, city or county
- Any sheriff or deputy
- Pennsylvania Game Commission and Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission employees, including any investigator or enforcement officer
Injured civic workers qualify for benefits when:
- Their injury occurred in the performance of duties
- Their injury is temporary
- Their injury prevents them from performing the essential duties of their job
- Their employer cannot or will not accommodate their injury by placing them in a lighter duty position
To what benefits am I entitled under the Pennsylvania Heart and Lung Act?
Anyone who qualifies for Heart and Lung benefits receives full base pay and payment of any medical expenses. Base pay does not include vacation pay, overtime or any income from a second job. Heart and Lung benefits are not taxable, with some limitations.
Injured workers will continue to receive Heart and Lung benefits until they are able to return to their job, their injury becomes permanent, or their employer can show that the injury is of “indefinite duration.” The latter tends to be a very loose standard that employers often try to use to remove employees from of Heart and Lung benefits.
The attorneys at KBG Injury Law can help if you believe your employer is wrongfully attempting to remove your benefits. Even if no longer eligible for Heart and Lung benefits, you may still be eligible for workers’ compensation. We can work with you to determine the right avenue for benefits.
How do I get benefits under the Heart and Lung Act?
If you are injured as a civic employee and are eligible for benefits under the Heart and Lung Act, the process typically goes as follows:
- The first step to receiving benefits under the Heart and Lung Act is to file an official report of the incident and your injuries. Your employer may also ask you to record a personal statement, detailing the exact nature of the injury. The purpose of these reports and statements is to make your injury official, both with your employer and with the government. These reports are necessary so there are official records and proof of an injury and how it occurred.
- After your story and statement are filed and submitted, your employer will investigate your claim. They decide whether the events you depicted in your statement are factual and accurate. If they determine everything is in order, they will develop their own report on the event. This report will then be submitted to the government for a decision.
- The government then reviews your employer’s report of what happened. If they approve you for Heart and Lung benefits, the process begins moving forward. If, however, the report indicates you are ineligible for Heart and Lung benefits, you will be notified and given a chance to file an appeal. After filing an appeal, you must then be given a due process proceeding.
Our experienced York attorneys can assist with appeals and denials.
Can I get workers’ compensation and Heart and Lung benefits at the same time?
The Heart and Lung Act is not intended to operate as an alternative or a substitute for workers’ compensation. When an injury occurs, you must file two separate claims. This may seem strange since you cannot logically receive a full salary and compensation from both workers’ comp and the Heart and Lung Act, but it is still crucial to fill out claims at once.
Although it may seem counterintuitive, you can receive both workers’ comp and Heart and Lung benefits at the same time, although probably not in the way you imagine. Workers’ compensation payments go to your employer, who in turn uses this money to pay your regular salary.
Since Heart and Lung benefits entitle you to your full salary and workers’ compensation is typically equal to two-thirds of your salary, this works out well for your employer. Since they receive the workers’ comp money, the only thing they truly have to pay is the final third to make up the difference between the workers’ comp payments and your full salary.
Another bonus of filling out a workers’ comp claim in addition to a Heart and Lung claim is that you are already prepared in the event anything unexpected happens in the course of your injury and recovery.
Example: If an injury that was initially assumed to be temporary is eventually revealed to be permanent. At this point, you will lose all Heart and Lung benefits, since having a permanent injury makes you instantly ineligible. However, when losing your Heart and Lung benefits, you become eligible for workers’ compensation. Since you already filed the claim for these benefits, the process of claiming workers’ compensation will be much faster and more efficient than it would be if you had to start from the beginning.
The injury lawyers at KBG Injury Law can explain this in more detail. Schedule a consultation to find out how we can help in your unique circumstances.
How long do Heart and Lung benefits last?
Your Heart and Lung benefits will stop coming as soon as you can return to work in your full capacity. You may have returned to work before this, but in a limited or modified capacity. Under the Heart and Lung Act, this is known as “light duty,” and it does not affect your ability to receive benefits.
However, as soon your injury has healed and your doctor has cleared you to return to work in full, your benefits will end. Your Heart and Lung benefits will also terminate if your injury becomes permanent, or if you are later proved ineligible. In this case, our York attorneys can help you make an appeal.
York Heart and Lung Act lawyers helping your claim
If you are a law enforcement or civic worker injured on the job, you deserve compensation, support, and a shoulder to lean on. The process of receiving the benefits and compensation to which you are entitled is often a complicated one, and you do not have to go through it alone. The York attorneys at KBG Injury Law are prepared to take you through every step of this often complicated process. contact us to request a free consultation today. Call 717-848-3838 or toll free at 800.509.1011 or fill out our contact form. We have offices in York, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Hanover, and Gettysburg, and serve clients throughout South Central Pennsylvania.