Act 534: Can I Apply Four Years After Work Injury When I Was Injured by a Patient but Not on Purpose?

Yes. For example, if you worked as A Residential Services Aide at a Pennsylvania State Center for adult severely mentally handicapped individuals. Four years ago, you were assisting an individual in the bathroom when he started to fall, landing on you and rupturing a disc in your back. You are receiving Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation benefits and was told that you are not eligible for Act 534 payments because 1) the individual did not deliberately injure you and 2) it happened more than 3 years ago. Is this right? Answer: No. Act 534, like Act 632 and Heart and Lung, pays certain categories of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania employees who work in high risk occupations full wages and benefits in addition to or instead of Workers’ Compensation. Court decisions have found that an injured worker has up to six years (as opposed to the normal time limit of 3 years) to request them, so you aren’t too late. Court cases have also interpreted the “act of a patient” language to mean a passive act (they fell on you by mistake) rather than an active act the individual meant to hurt you). You should make an application to the Department of Public Welfare for Act 534 benefits under these type of circumstances.