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On March 25, 2013, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed a Commonwealth Court ruling that in a petition to suspend compensation benefits upon an alleged voluntary withdrawal from the workforce, the employer bears the burden of showing by the totality of the circumstances that the claimant has chosen not to return to the workforce.

The Employer maintained that Claimant’s application for and receipt of pension disability benefits after her work-related injury demonstrated that she had retired. It argued that the seminal cases of Henderson and Republic Steel (citations omitted) established a presumption that a claimant who separates from employment and receives a pension has voluntarily withdrawn from the workforce- and therefore, the indemnity benefits should cease. Employer argued that a pension, by definition, is a benefit paid based upon retirement (citing Black’s Law Dictionary). The Supreme Court declined to adopt the extra-statutory presumption of retirement urged by Employer.  The Court recognized that it is not self evident, or even logical, to presume from the mere fact that a a claimant accepts a pension that claimant has voluntarily withdrawn from the workforce- as this specific case demonstrates that Claimant did not simply retire to an able-bodied pension, but was entitled to a disability pension because of her prior service and a work-related condition which disabled her from her time-of-injury job. In a well-reasoned statement, the Court said, “At most, Claimant’s approved receipt of a disability pension necessarily shows that she could not perform her time-of-injury position; it does not necessarily follow that she, and all workers similarly situated to her, decided to forgo all employment”.  The Court went on to note that the receipt of a disability pension is not devoid of evidentiary weight; it may well be probative of a claimant’s desire to retire. But it is just one fact of many possible probative facts which must be analyzed.

Employer tried to assert that the Henderson case established a rebuttable presumption that a claimant has retired if the claimant accepts any type of pension. The Court rejected and went on the discuss Henderson, Dugan, and a host of other cases. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania found that the Commonwealth Court plurality properly evaluated Henderson insofar as it determined that the Workers’ Compensation Judge must consider other evidence in addition to the claimant’s simple receipt of a pension to determine whether an injured worker has actually retired from the workforce totally.

Importantly, if the employer does produce sufficient evidence to support a finding that the claimant has voluntarily left the workforce, then the burden shifts to the claimant to show that there in fact has been a compensable loss of earning power.

In justifying its holding, the Court reasoned, “Our holding will not impose a prohibitive burden on employers, nor does it subject employers to the unreasonable task of proving the claimant’s state of mind. Nor are we convinced that the dire consequences predicted by Employer- that claimants will impermissibly benefit by supplementing their retirements with workers’ compensation benefits, and that the cost containment goal of the Act will be undermined- will result. If an employer is convinced that a claimant has retired, the employer may present evidence to establish that status. As the Commonwealth Court suggested, the employer may do so by objective facts, including the claimant’s receipt of a pension, the claimant’s own statement relating to voluntary withdrawal from the workforce, and the claimant’s efforts or non-efforts to seek employment.”

What is the moral of the story for injured workers? First, this is a good, well reasoned Decision by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. The mere receipt of a disability pension shouldn’t dictate the outcome and a totality approach leaves flexibility to analyze entire fact patterns, which will result in fairer outcomes dictated by the specific facts of each case. As the Court said, “the judicial branch, faced with discrete factual patterns in individually-contested cases, is not particularly suited to make such empirical judgments to govern an entire set of cases.” It is strongly advised that injured workers speak to an experienced PA Work Comp Lawyer before applying for any type of benefits so that the attorney can analyze how, if at all, the application and/or receipt of such benefits will impact his/her case.

Injured workers are encouraged to speak with an experienced Pennsylvania Work Comp Lawyer to analyze their specific situations whether it involves a pension disability or not. I am available 7 days a week for injured workers across Pennsylvania for free consults. TOLL FREE (877) 560-7090, Local (215) 206-9068, or via email

I can’t speak for my colleagues, but the answer for me is yes! I’ve always liked the idea of being a lawyer. That’s probably because my dad was a lawyer. Even as a kid, I could see the passion overflowing in him. He would come home for dinner around 630 every night and he talked my mom’s ear off from the moment he walked in the door- about a trial he had, a quirky opponent, or how he would prove his case. I loved listening in, even if I didn’t understand everything. He was so charged up and seemed to have limitless energy.  He didn’t have many hobbies. He didn’t really follow politics. He didn’t hang out with friends often. He was consumed by his work- but he loved it. He wasn’t into sports, but he didn’t lack competitiveness. His urgency to win was always present and unmistakable. He especially loved the process of breaking down complicated issues, layer by layer, until the truth was uncovered. My dad was better at this than anyone I have ever seen-even to this day.

I wasn’t 100% sure I would be a lawyer. I had an open mind to other options. And I was lucky that my parents didn’t push me into anything to merely satisfy themselves. They let us find our own passion. My brother is in sales, my sister a teacher.  But as I started doing really well in my philosophy and english courses at Boston College, I realized that this would be a nice fit for me. I really enjoyed breaking concepts down, making arguments, writing, and interpreting ideas. Math didn’t excite me- that’s for sure.

When I was a kid, I don’t remember hearing many lawyer jokes. The sense I got was that it was a highly respected profession. I don’t always get that sense now, though. At the same time, it doesn’t bother me much. I respect it and I use every opportunity I can to show my clients why it should be respected. I think I’ve been successful at doing that- at least I hope.

Every case is a new challenge and an opportunity to help someone, and to grow intellectually. From keeping your client happy and informed, to strategizing about how to prove your case, you need to be “on your game”.  Taking depositions forces you to think quickly on  your feet, and writing briefs sharpens your writing and analytical abilities. But you can’t do these things without clients, so marketing and being creative is mandatory to survive. You put all of these things together and what you get is satisfaction. You won’t win every case. You will feel enormous stress and pressure at times. Some clients will be dificult from the moment they walk into your office. But you keep in mind that you are helping people and that’s the most important thing. It brings a deep sense of accomplishment. Many clients send thank you notes or emails that floor me. I come back to them often- to remind myself how meaningful the work is.

I look around and it feels like half of my law school classmates aren’t lawyers any more. The profession is well known to chew some people up. Like any business, if you don’t like the subject material that you’re working on- or the people around you- you will likely end up doing something else. It may take moving around to a few different firms to find the right match. It did for me. My brother once told me that the business world is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s true. If you hang in there and keep working hard, great things will often come.

I may be a dying breed. But I like being a lawyer.

The official Enforcement Officer Disability Benefits Law of 1954 is often referred to as Pennsylvania Heart and Lung Act. While PA Heart and Lung Act cover enforcement officers, including fight fighters, police officers, investigators, and special agents, Pennsylvania Act 534 offers similar benefits for hospital or healthcare workers.

The crux of both acts is the same to provide compensation to the injured workers in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Act 534 and Heart and Lung Act
Image Source: pexels/Markus Spiske

Facts About PA Act 534 and Pennsylvania Heart and Lung Act:

Here are some crucial facts about Pennsylvania’s Act 534 and the Heart and Lung Act that every injured worker needs to know before filing a claim:

Who Is Entitled To Act 534 Or PA Heart And Lung Act Benefits?

Under Pennsylvania Act 534, all the workers of state hospitals, youth development centers, department of human service, state centers, Pennsylvania penal and correctional institutions, and mental hospitals are covered in case of an injury at work.

The Pennsylvania Heart and Lung Act cover enforcement officers employed by the state police department, correctional centers, law enforcement agencies, investigation firms, judiciary, and more.

Here’s a visual overview:

Pennsylvania Heart and Lung Act

What Do You Get If You Are Eligible For Act 534 Or Heart And Lung Benefit?

An employee or injured worker eligible for Act 534 or Heart and Lung compensation is entitled to full, base salary. The employer pays the salary. Work comp benefits that may be payable are either paid directly to the employer by the insurer or must be turned over by the injured worker to the employer (i.e., State).

What Is The Criteria For PA Heart And Lung Act Or Act 534?

You may have a Pennsylvania Work Comp claim but not an Act 534 or Heart & Lung Act claim. For a Heart and Lung claim to be available, the injury must occur during the performance of one’s duties. Under Act 534, the injury must be due to “an act of any inmate or any person confined in such institution.”

FAQ: Can I have an Act 534 or Heart and Lung Act Claim and PA Work Comp Claim at the same time?

What If Your Pennsylvania Act 534 Or Heart And Lung Act Claim Is Denied?

You have the right to a DUE PROCESS hearing. If you are covered under the Heart and Lung Act or Act 534, you are entitled to a due process hearing if your benefits are denied or prior to any termination of benefits.

What Is The Notice Requirement For The Pennsylvania Act 534 Or PA Heart And Lung Law?

Unlike Pennsylvania Work Comp cases, there is no notice requirement (i.e., a time limit imposed for informing your employer about what happened) nor a statute of limitation (a time limit for when you must file a claim) for a claim under Heart and Lung and Act 534. In Pennsylvania Work Comp cases, an injured worker has three years to file a claim or he/she is forever barred.

Best Heart And Lung Act Attorney In Pennsylvania: Contact Now!

For more information about the Heart and Lung Act in Pennsylvania or Act 534, call or email experienced Pennsylvania Workers’ Comp attorney Michael W. Cardamone of The Cardamone Law Firm at 215-206-9068 or for a free and prompt analysis of your case. Our Heart and Lung Act Lawyers in Pennsylvania are equipped with knowledge and experience to guide you through the process and help you navigate through the case.

Michael W. Cardamone, Esquire represents injured workers across Pennsylvania. His clients include:
Septa Workers

Union Workers


Certified Nursing Assistants

Truck Drivers

Factory Workers

Construction Workers

Office Workers

Bus Drivers

State Workers


Waiters and Waitresses



Retail Workers




School Teachers

Remember–  traumatic work injuries (ie, sudden onset) and repetitive work injuries (ie, accumulation of trauma over time) are compensable in Pennsylvania. An aggravation of a pre-existing condition is a work injury under Pennsylvania Law.

For more information about Pennsylvania Work Comp, call Attorney Michael W. Cardamone at 215-206-9068 or email

7 days a week!


Many people have a vague familiarity with the Family and Medical Leave Act. It is an important and useful tool that many employees can take advantage of, and something that is often overlooked by employees. I wanted to share with you the basics of FMLA. Feel free to share this information with friends or family members. Most of us will have a need sometime in our lives to use this mechanism of protecting our job.

Family Medical Leave Act
Image Source: pexels/Andrea Piacquadio

FMLA provides employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a calendar year, with job protection. All public employers of any size are covered under FMLA, and private employers with 50 or more employees. Employer must be “engaged in commerce or an industry or activity affecting commerce.” 29 U.S.C. Section 2611 (4) (A) (i). (very broad language used here)

What employees are eligible? Anyone who has worked at least 1250 hours during the preceding 12 months, and who has been employed for at least 1 year prior to the date leave is requested.

What types of leave are covered under FMLA? Birth of employee’s son or daughter; Placement of child for adoption or foster care; To care for close family member with “serious health condition”; If employee suffers from “serious health condition” which renders employee incapacitated from performance. For what constitutes a serious health condition, see below.

What type of notice must be given? If the leave is foreseeable, employee must give 30 days notice. If leave is not foreseeable, employee must provide notice “as soon as practicable” under the circumstances. Also, notice under FMLA does NOT have to be in writing, nor does it have to mention FMLA. This will surprise many people. Request only requires an employee to give notice of need for leave which may constitute FMLA eligibility. However, I advise my clients to make the request in writing and to mention FMLA. Why beat around the bush?

What are types of conditions that courts have upheld as being “serious health conditions”? Well, as you could have guessed, it must be serious- chicken pox, asthma, pregnancy related issues that impact ability to perform job function, etc. Indeed, this analysis is done on an ad hoc basis, and therefore depends on the individual circumstances.

What job is protected? The same or similar job you had prior to requesting the leave. To be more technical, “An equivalent position with equivalent employment benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment”.

Can an employer retaliate? No. Employer cannot “interfere with, restrain, or deny” employee’s right to exercise rights under FMLA.

If I receive workers’ compensation benefits for a work-related injury, can my employer also count my time out of work as FMLA time as well? Yes, if they provide you with written notice. This generally does not happen, but it may if certain requirements are met.

Is my job protected simply by my receipt of workers’ compensation benefits? No. And this is an important distinction between work comp leave and FMLA. If you are injured at work, the employer has no obligation to protect your job. However, with FMLA- assuming you meet the requirements, your job is protected. Now, an employer cannot fire you for filing a workers’ compensation claim, but they can couch your firing in other terms- such as “lack of work”, “excessive absence”, etc. So, an employer cannot retaliate against an employee for filing a work comp claim, but unless the employee has a contract that says otherwise, an employer can fire you for just about any other reason so long as it’s not in violation of public policy (ie, discriminatory).

I hope this summary has been helpful. Feel free to email me at should you have any questions. Or call 215-206-9068

-Michael W. Cardamone, Esq.

PA Work Comp Lawyer

The Pennsylvania Heart and Lung Act offers relief to injured workers employed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and offers full salary compensation in case of an injury/accident at work. It applies to a number of state and local workers, including but not limited to, park guards, police officers, firefighters, investigators, correction officers, enforcement officers, and more. Unlike the PA workers’ compensation act, PA Heart and Lung Act grants full compensation and continuation of employee benefit post the injury.

Pennsylvania Heart and Lung Act

It is designed to help public safety workers get respite after an accident and focus on mental and physical health instead of worrying about the financial complications post the incident.

However, dealing with the claim while injured could be more complicated than it sounds. That is where a workers’ compensation attorney who specializes in a Pennsylvania Heart and Lung claims could help.

Be Prepared When You Hire A Work Comp Attorney For A PA Heart and Lung Act Claim

PA Heart and Lung Act Claim
Image Source: pexels/Olya Kobruseva

Following are some of the questions you should ask your work comp attorney might ask if you want to file a claim under the Pennsylvania Heart and Lung Act or Act 534. Make sure the PA workers’ compensation attorney or Pennsylvania heart and lung act lawyer you hire is experienced with heart and lung cases.

  • When should you apply for disability retirement?
  • How to calculate the Heart and Lung benefits under the PA act?
  • Does the Heart and Lung Act consider public holidays or vacations?
  • Do part-time employees of commonwealth qualify for heart and lung benefits?
  • What is included in the heart and lung disability compensation?
  • How the wage is calculated if I am on heart and lung benefits?
  • How to report the work injury?
  • What kind of medical records I need to claim the Pennsylvania Heart and Lung benefits?
  • Can I be terminated from Act 534 if my condition is permanent?
  • How is Pennsylvania workers’ compensation act and Act 534/Heart and Lung different?
  • When can I get my accrued personal, sick, and vacation time paid?
  • Can I lose my work comp case but win my Act 534 or Heart and Lung case?

Got more questions? Read PA Workers’ Compensation FAQs!

Michael Cardamone – The Professional Heart and Lung Act Lawyer in Pennsylvania!

Call Cardamone Law Today

When you need an Act 534 lawyer or a Heart and Lung Act lawyer, call Pennsylvania Work Comp Attorney Michael W. Cardamone to protect your rights. Michael is one of the few Pennsylvania Lawyers who has a grasp of both Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Law and Act 534/Heart and Lung law. The two usually run parallel but they have different sets of rules.

  • Call for a free consult 7 days a week.
  • I am here to help protect your rights.
  • Do not handle your case without an experienced lawyer on your side.

PA Work Comp Lawyer Michael W. Cardamone represents all kinds of injured Pennsylvania workers including:

Marcellus Shale workers
X-Ray and Ultrasound Techs
Factory workers
Office workers
Truck drivers
State Workers
Prison Guards
Home health aides
Police And Fire

Work injuries do not discriminate. Unfortunately, the negative attitude that we sometimes hear or read about towards injured workers tends to have a chilling effect on injured workers who may feel ashamed or intimidated to come forward and pursue the benefits that are afforded to all employees- benefits that the insurers and employers fight hard to not pay.

Feel free to call or email me 7 days a week to discuss your situation.

Michael W. Cardamone – Top Rated Pennsylvania Work Comp Lawyer

If you need a:

Pennsylvania Accident Lawyer
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Call Michael W. Cardamone – a trusted PA Disability Lawyer, for a free analysis, and referral, if appropriate.

Call 215-206-9068 to reach Mike directly- 7 days a week.

Friendly, accessible, effective.

I often talk with people who look at me like they have never heard of workers’ compensation. They probably haven’t. I sure didn’t- until I graduated law school and began working for a firm that handled claims for injured workers. My dad was a lawyer. He was involved in disputes over land, water, real estate, zoning, and similar environmental issues. He never hurt his back working as a lawyer, and neither did anyone else I knew growing up.

But work injuries often happen to so called “white collar” workers. I have clients who worked in pharmaceuticals who have tripped over computer wires and permanently damaged their backs. I represented a CFO who became disabled when co-workers’ perfumes and colognes triggered asthmatic attacks such that he could not be exposed to working with others.

The typical image that comes to mind when people think of workers’ comp is a warehouse worker lifting a heavy box and hurting his back, or a construction worker falling from a roof. But work injuries do not discriminate.

And, if a worker does not have short or long term disability, he or she can find themselves quite reliant on the wage loss and medical benefits that workers’ compensation provides.

Comcast and Peco don’t care if you can’t work. They will keep sending the bills. Your landlord may cut you a break for a few days, but the eviction notice will come eventually if the rent isn’t paid.

So, don’t be so quick to think it can’t happen to you. It can. And luckily, we have a safety net to help keep the money flowing (assuming your case is accepted, or won in litigation) until you get your earning power back.

Michael W. Cardamone
PA Work Comp Lawyer

Yes, you can receive your Heart and Lung or Act 534 benefits and PA work comp benefits at the same time. The work comp carrier will pay the state what is owed in work comp (2/3 wage loss) while the injured worker receives full salary.

For more information about the interplay between Heart and Lung benefits or Act 534 and PA Workers Comp, call Attorney Michael W. Cardamone at 215-206-9068 or email him at

(here is the relevant law as it applies to certain state employees)

Any employee of a State penal or correctional institution under the Bureau of Correction of the Department of Justice and any employee of a State mental hospital or Youth Development Center under the Department of Public Welfare, who is injured during the course of his employment by an act of any inmate or any person confined in such institution or by any person who has been committed to such institution by any court of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or by any provision of the “Mental Health Act” and any employee of County Boards of Assistance injured by act of an applicant for or recipient of public assistance and any employee of the Department of Public Welfare who has been assigned to or who has volunteered to join the fire fighting force of any institution of the Department of Public Welfare injured while carrying out fire fighting duties, shall be paid, by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, his full salary, until the disability arising therefrom no longer prevents his return as an employee of such department, board or institution at a salary equal to that earned by him at the time of his injury.

All medical and hospital expenses incurred in connection with any such injury shall be paid by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania until the disability arising from such injury no longer prevents his return as an employee of such department, board or institution at a salary equal to that earned by him at the time of his injury.

During the time salary for such disability shall be paid by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania any workmen’s compensation received or collected for such period shall be turned over to the Commonwealth and paid into the General Fund, and if such payment shall not be so made, the amount so due the Commonwealth shall be deducted from any salary then or thereafter becoming due and owing.

The widow and minor dependents of any employee who dies within one year as a result of such injuries shall be paid benefits equal to fifty per cent of the full salary of the deceased employee.

When a widow and minor dependents not in her custody are entitled to payments, one-half of such payments shall be paid to the widow and one-half to the dependents. In every case the amount payable to minor dependents shall be divided equally among them and be paid to the persons or institutions having custody of them.

In the case of a widow or a widow with minor dependents in her custody, such benefits shall terminate when such widow remarries. In the case of minor dependents, except when in the custody of a remarried widow, such benefits shall terminate when all of the minor dependents become eighteen years of age. Neither a widow nor minor dependents shall receive any benefits under this act while receiving benefits under the Federal Social Security Law. [FN1] The benefits provided by this act shall be reduced by the amount of any workmen’s compensation benefits received or collected by any such widow or minor dependents because of the same injury. Payments for the benefit of minor dependents shall be made to the person having legal custody of them.

Pennsylvania Heart and Lung Lawyer and Act 534 Lawyer

Call Pennsylvania Work Comp Attorney Cardamone for more info at 215-206-9068 or email and Mike will reply quickly.

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Cardamone Law Has Negotiated Some of the Largest Workers’ Comp Settlements in Pennsylvania

$6 Million
We Assisted Another Firm in Reaching Settlement
$2.2 Million
Spinal Injury
Lower Back Injury
Lower Back Injury
Neck Injury
Leg Injury
Knee Injury
Ankle Injury
& Hundreds More Cases
$6 Million
We Assisted Another Firm in Reaching Settlement
$2.2 Million
Spinal Injury
Lower Back Injury
Lower Back Injury
Neck Injury
Leg Injury
Knee Injury
Ankle Injury
& Hundreds More Cases

Client Testimonials

"Best Law Firm around!"

"Cardomone law is absolutely fantastic! They are very responsive and helpful and they will fight to get you what you deserve. Shirley is also very helpful whenever you have any questions! Best Law Firm around!"

- C. Edwards
Google Reviews
"Michael and Shirley are very dedicated...and getting the maximum amount favorable to my case"

"Cardamone Law Firm were very helpful to me since day one. Michael and Shirley are very dedicated to my case giving me updates, answering my questions, being honest with my case, and getting the maximum amount favorable to my case. Thank you so much for your service and dedication and helping me to achieve not only your case but to guide and refer me in other needs too! You guys are the best law firm friendly and dedicated. I will recommend to anyone."

- A. Ortiz
Google Reviews
"Michael won my workers comp case after my employer insurance denied my claim."

"Exceptional firm. Highly recommend this law firm. Michael won my Workers Comp case after my employer insurance denied my claim. Him and his staff were always at my reach for legal and emotional support. Am so happy I hire them. Thanks Michael and Ms. Shirley."

- Carlos P.
Google Reviews
"[They] did an excellent job in getting me financially compensated in a fairly short amount of time."

"I recently had a work related injury and was receiving Workers' Compensation (medical benefits only). Soon after I was fired, so I contacted Paul Silver at Cardamone Law Firm who did an excellent job in getting me financially compensated in a fairly short amount of time. Paul and his assistant Shirley always responded to any questions I had about the case in a very short amount of time. Thank you for helping me with this difficult case."

- Robin C.
Google Reviews
"Highly recommend."

"Cardamone Law was great with helping my husband with his Workers Comp issues. Mike and Shirley were the best with letting us know what was going on every step of the way. Highly recommend."

- Danielle P.
Google Reviews
"Mike Cardamone is amazing"

"Mike Cardamone is amazing. He is "hands down" one of the best lawyers I've ever had the privilege of knowing. He is very kind, understanding, knowledgeable in his field, always very thorough and helpful. He was extremely professional and someone who truly cares about his clients. I felt completely at ease with him. He was a pleasure to work with, explained everything in detail, as well as answered all my questions with knowledge and care. If you want someone you can trust, who communicates every step of the way, will fight for you and make sure you win your case, he is it! I will refer all my family and friends to him. Thank you so much Mike, for everything. I appreciate all your hard work and dedication in helping me."

- Allie M.
Google Reviews
Without a doubt YOU are the best!!!

"Without a doubt YOU are the best!!! Every person who is in the horrible position of being injured at work should have someone as kind, compassionate and knowledgeable as you on their side. You never once made me feel like I was one of a hundred other clients. I always knew you had my back! You answered calls and emails at all hours. You fought every fight for me so I only had to worry about getting well. Behind your nice, calm face there’s a pit bull ready to take on any employer or judge. I can never thank you enough."

- L. Edall
Google Reviews
"Best Workers' Comp Lawyer!"

"Michael is simply the best! He was there for me from day 1 till the end, and we won the case!! He is always available to help. I had a gazillion questions and he would answer them one by one. He's a great lawyer and I feel lucky to have found him online from reading other outstanding reviews about him. Believe me, they're true!"

- Faith B.
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"Great Attorney"

"Great attorney, handled case quickly and efficiently. I would recommend him and would use him again. He was always available to answer any questions we had. Thank you, Mr. Cardamone."

- H. Anderson
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