On appeal from the Board of Review, Department of Labor.
Michels, Deighan and Stern. The opinion of the court was delivered by Stern, J.s.c., t/a.
Petitioner was laid off by United States Steel Corporation on May 4, 1984 and received vacation pay and unemployment compensation until June 1984. In June he received a special "lump sum" payment of $3,898.26 from United States Steel covering the period June-August 1984. In September 1984 petitioner began to obtain his regular monthly pension benefits of $1,174.47, representing 47% of his former salary.
Petitioner challenges the determination of the hearing officer, the Appeal Tribunal and the Board of Review which held that the "lump sum" payment could be used to reduce unemployment
compensation benefits for the months of June, July and August 1984.
The hearing officer determined that petitioner received the $3,898.26 "lump sum payment for the months of June, July and August 1984", that petitioner "paid nothing into this special pension" and that the employer "paid 100%" into the "special pension" to fund this benefit. Because the hearing officer determined that the payment constituted a "pension", he also determined that the unemployment benefit "must be reduced by the weekly equivalent of any pension payment that you receive." Accordingly, petitioner's benefit was reduced to "zero."
The Appeal Tribunal affirmed after making the following findings of facts on the record:
The claimant was last employed as an accounting department manager for the above named corporation for 34 years through May 4, 1984 when the Company closed. The claimant was given 4 weeks vacation pay through May 31, 1984. As of June 1, 1984 the claimant was placed on a non contributory pension. Under the non contributory pension plan the claimant received a special pension payment to cover the months June, July and August. The net payment was calculated by multiplying the vacation rate less a cost-of-living adjustment times nine weeks. This was a payment under the pension plan. As of September 1, 1984 the total payment for the period was $3,898.26. The claimant will be receiving a regular monthly pension of $1,174.47.
Accordingly, it concluded:
Since the claimant received a non contributory pension of $3,898.26 as of June 1, 1984 his weekly benefit rate is reduced by the weekly equivalent of the pension payment received. Therefore, the weekly benefit rate as of June 1, 1984 is reduced to 0.
The Board of Review adopted the Findings of Fact as set forth by the Appeal Tribunal and added:
In addition, the claimant's weekly benefit rate established on the claim of May 7, 1984 is $170.00 and benefits were paid through week ending May 27, 1984. The pension payment of $1,174.47 per month beginning ...