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WATSON v. DEPARTMENT PUBLIC WELFARE (07/10/72)

decided: July 10, 1972.

WATSON, ET AL.
v.
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE



Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare in case of Appeal of Mary Alice Watson, on behalf of her granddaughter Tania Watson, and all others similarly situated, No. H-347,790-C.

COUNSEL

Louis A. Burdman, with him Tom M. Lytton and Pamela Isackes, for appellant.

Barry A. Roth, Assistant Attorney General, with him Marx S. Leopold, Assistant Attorney General, and J. Shane Creamer, Attorney General, for appellee.

Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. President Judge Bowman did not participate. Opinion by Judge Blatt.

Author: Blatt

[ 6 Pa. Commw. Page 55]

This is an appeal from an adjudication and order of the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) upholding the action of the Allegheny County Board of Assistance (Board) in reducing AFDC payments to the appellant's granddaughter.

The appellant resides in a public housing project with her husband, her son and her granddaughter, Tania. Tania is the only member of the household receiving public assistance, and she had previously been receiving $136.00 per month in assistance based on the premise that she was a roomer or boarder in her grandmother's home. The Board has decided, however, that an unemancipated minor child living with her parents

[ 6 Pa. Commw. Page 56]

    or other specified relatives (including grandparents) may not be considered a roomer or boarder. Tania's shelter benefits were reduced, therefore, so as to be compatible with the provisions of Pennsylvania Assistance (PA) Manual 3211.31.*fn1 The shelter allowance for a family of four on assistance was $93.00 per month, and Tania's shelter grant was determined to be one-fourth of that, or $23.25 per month. She also received a flat grant of $65.00 per month for food, clothing and incidentals, for a total monthly assistance allowance of $88.25.

The appellant requested a reconsideration of this reduction and a reinstatement of the $136.00 per month grant. After a hearing, her request was denied by both the Board and the DPW, and the reduction of the assistance grant was affirmed.

In her appeal to this Court, the appellant argues that the computation of Tania's grant conflicts with provisions of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. ยง 601 et seq., and is, therefore, invalid. It is also contended that recipients living in public housing are treated differently from recipients living in private housing and that this amounts to a violation of equal protection. Although we sympathize with the appellant's plight, we believe that this case is controlled by our recent decision in Cuffee v. Department of Public Welfare, 5 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 503, 291 A.2d 549 (1972), and we must affirm.

The appellant contends that the application of PA Manual 3211.31 in this case serves to impute to Tania the income of the ...


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