• The Board Denies the Employer's Request for a Credit against the Claimant's Future Medical Benefits Based on its Having Paid a Lien for Child Support Arrears against the Claimant.
  • July 2, 2013 | Authors: Jessica L. Julian; Paul V. Tatlow
  • Law Firm: Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, P.C. - Wilmington Office
  • Grayson Williams v. Evraz Oregon Steel Mills, (IAB #1329960, decided 1/29/13)

    This case came before the Board on a rule to show cause filed by the employer who asserted a credit against the claimant's future medical benefits. The claimant was pro se and was actually not present at the legal hearing. The employer sought a credit based on its having paid a Domestic Relations Office in Pennsylvania in the amount of $5,279.79 to satisfy a lien for child support arrears against the claimant.

    The non-disbursement order from the court concerning the child support arrears was dated May 7, 2008. However, according to the evidence, it was not faxed to the claims adjuster until October 9, 2012. The employer argued that it had made the payment for the child support arrears under a feeling of obligation rather than voluntarily. Curiously, the employer asserted that they were not on notice of the child support lien until after having made the actual payment. The evidence also showed that the employer had previously paid various compensation benefits to the claimant, including total disability, partial disability, permanent impairment, disfigurement and medical benefits.

    The Board held that the employer's request for a credit against future medical expenses was denied. The Board noted that they generally only award a credit against future benefits in two circumstances: (1) where there has been an overpayment of benefits owing to the claimant; and (2) where there has been a third-party recovery and the employer has asserted a subrogation lien pursuant to §2363 of the Act. Neither of those circumstances applied here.