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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ROSALIE LESSER (03/11/76)

decided: March 11, 1976.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE
v.
ROSALIE LESSER, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare in case of Appeal of: Rosalie Lesser, No. 15723-D.

COUNSEL

Donald Marritz, for appellant.

Harold Dunbar, Assistant Attorney General, with him Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for appellee.

Judges Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., and Mencer, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.

Author: Mencer

[ 24 Pa. Commw. Page 2]

This is an appeal by Rosalie Lesser (appellant) from an adverse adjudication by the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) which resulted in a diminution of her assistance benefits. The amount of assistance available to a recipient is decreased by the recipient's net income for the previous month after deductions taken in accordance with DPW's rules and regulations. Should a recipient's net income in one month exceed his or her allotment, benefits for the following month are discontinued. See Department of Public Welfare v. Ivy, 18 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 348, 336 A.2d 435 (1975). It must be borne in mind that, of necessity, the payments forthcoming in any month are estimated from income and deductions for the previous month. Appellant had been eligible to receive a maximum of $136 per month in assistance, payable in semimonthly installments of $68.

The facts as found by the hearing examiner are not in dispute and provide a concise summary of the history of this case:

[ 24 Pa. Commw. Page 3]

"1. Appellant, Miss Lesser, first applied for assistance on May 13, 1974. On November 22, 1974, the Adams County Board of Assistance sent Miss Lesser a 162-A notice informing her that her public assistance check would be discontinued on December 6, 1974, because net income exceeded the Department's maximum allowance for one person. She was further informed that food stamps would also be changed starting January 1, 1975. The Board requested a return of Appellant's December 1974 financial statement.

"2. Appellant did not suffer any detriment due to the proposed action since she filed a timely appeal and her grant was subsequently reinstated.

"3. Appellant was sent another 162-A notice on January 8, 1975 informing her that the Board proposed to reduce her grant from $68.00 to $30.20. Unlike the 162-A notice sent to Miss Lesser on November [22], 1974, the January 8, 1975, notice did not state reasons for the grant's reduction, nor did it cite the appropriate regulations upon which the reduction was based. The notice contained numerical computations upon which the monthly grant was determined.

"4. Miss Lesser was informed that a request for a hearing was received by the Board by a letter sent to her on January 30, 1975. Her request for an appeal was timely. The Office of the Hearing Examiner notified Appellant that a hearing was scheduled for March 4, 1975.

"5. Appellant works part time as a kitchen helper at the Fairview Inn and her income fluctuates each month. She has submitted pay stubs to the Board showing her income for the months of September, November and December, 1974. She owns an automobile and drives to work which involves approximately nine (9) miles ...


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