Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare in case of Appeal of Janet Ivy, No. 673 687C.
Charles M. Wyzanski, for appellant.
Harold Dunbar, Assistant Attorney General, with him Marx S. Leopold, Assistant Attorney General, and Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for appellee.
Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson.
[ 18 Pa. Commw. Page 349]
Beginning on January 15, 1974, appellant began receiving $282.00 each month under the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program. Sometime in February, 1974, appellant received an income tax refund of $363.96 for taxes paid in the previous year. Appellant properly informed her case worker of the refund. On March 15, 1974, the local County Assistance Office determined that the refund was income which must be considered in determining eligibility and ordered appellant's case closed.
Appellant filed a timely appeal and was granted a hearing which was held on May 6, 1974. On July 8, 1974,
[ 18 Pa. Commw. Page 350]
the hearing examiner affirmed and ordered that appellant's case be closed for one semi-monthly payment period and then if she is otherwise eligible for assistance, to reinstate her. The amount in question is $141.00.
The issues in this case are governed by the regulations of the Department of Public Welfare promulgated under the authority of Section 403 of the Public Welfare Code, Act of June 13, 1967, P.L. 31, as amended, 62 P.S. § 403. Appellant argues that the Department's order is contra to its own regulations; appellant also claims several constitutional violations.
Appellant first argues, and we agree, that the income tax refund is not subject to reimbursement. Regulation No. 3821.2 states that income tax refunds paid before June 15 of the year following the taxable year are not subject to reimbursement. This case, however, does not involve reimbursement. The issue here is whether or not the receipt of the refund made appellant ineligible to continue receiving assistance.
Income is defined in Regulation No. 3234.1 as "money a client receives." The tax refund thus constitutes income to the appellant. Regulation No. 3234.21, entitled "Income that Does not Affect the Grant," exempts certain kinds of income. If appellant's tax refund is not exempted, then it must be considered in determining eligibility. Regulation No. 3230.2 provides, in part:
"With the exceptions specified hereinafter, a person is ineligible for assistance if he owns or acquires a sum of money or property convertible into cash, which equals or exceeds in value the sum of monthly allowances established for defined living requirement items. . . . If total income results in discontinuing assistance, the ...