In 2006, Pennsylvania acted to help workers who were injured while employed by a company that did not have workers’ compensation insurance. Pennsylvania created the Uninsured Employer Guaranty Fund (UEGF) to pay benefits when an injured worker’s employer is not insured. The law required that an injured worker:
- Notify the UEGF within 45 days of when the worker “knew” the employer was uninsured
- Wait 21 days after giving that notice
- File a petition for benefits against the UEGF
But could an injured worker who filed a late notice still get paid benefits by the UEGF? The courts ruled that an employee could get paid, but that benefits would not start until the date the employee filed the late notice.
Recently, the Pennsylvania Legislature changed the UEGF notice requirements. Since then, the 45-day time period begins from when the injured worker is “advised by the employer or another source” that the employer is uninsured. More importantly, the Legislature changed the notice provision to deny an injured worker who files a late notice from being paid any benefits at all.
Giving notice to the UEGF is a more complicated process than giving notice to the employer. Notice to an employer can be verbal or written. There are no magic words. The injured worker simply must give the employer enough information to make the employer aware the worker was injured on the job.
When giving notice to the UEGF, a specific form must be completed. That form must be signed by the injured worker and sent to the UEGF with the 45 days. The form should be sent to the UEGF in a way that proves when it was sent. Workers’ comp lawyers who are registered with the Workers’ Compensation Automation and Information System (WCAIS), can upload the form through that system. If sent by mail, the form will be treated as given to the UEGF on the date it is postmarked.
Once the notice is given, the injured worker must file a petition seeking benefits within 180 days. By comparison, an injured worker has far longer (3 years) to file a petition against the employer.
Because of the short deadlines and other complications involved in claims to the UEGF, injured workers who suspect that their employer is uninsured should get help from an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible.
Terence Sean McGraw
Attorney at Law
Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist*
Sustaining Member National Organization of Social Security Representatives
Long Term Disability Lawyer (ERISA & Individual Policies)
Warren McGraw & Knowles LLC
920 Lenmar Drive
Blue Bell PA 19422-2000
Warren & McGraw Website