Workers' Compensation

Pennsylvania: Divorced Spouse May Attach Husband’s LHWCA Benefits to Collect Unpaid Alimony

A Pennsylvania court has affirmed a trial court’s order that determined that an injured worker’s Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act benefits could be attached to pay the worker’s alimony obligation. The ex-husband had argued that there was no exception to the LHWCA’s anti-alienation clause that would permit his former wife to attach his benefits in order to recover alimony. Relying, inter alia, on Moyle v. Director, Office of Workers’ Comp. Programs, 147 F.2d 1116 (9th Cir. 1998), cert. denied, 1999 U.S. LEXIS 2578 (1999), the court said the LHWCA disability benefits could be considered as “remuneration for employment” and, accordingly, could be attached by the former wife. The appellate court added that in several contexts, Pennsylvania precedent had recognized that a spouse’s alimony and/or support obligations are not “debts.” The former wife was not a “creditor,” said the court.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is a leading commentator and expert on the law of workers’ compensation.

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance. Bracketed citations link to lexis.com.

See Uveges v. Uveges, 2014 PA Super 251, 2014 Pa. Super. LEXIS 3954 (Nov. 5, 2014) [2014 PA Super 251, 2014 Pa. Super. LEXIS 3954 (Nov. 5, 2014)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 89.08 [89.08]

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law.

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