Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare in case of In Re: Dr. Joseph T. Skehan, No. 21270-S.
Donald Driscoll, for appellant.
Linda M. Gunn, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.
Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.
[ 30 Pa. Commw. Page 420]
Dr. Joseph Skehan has filed an appeal in this Court from a determination by the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) that he was ineligible for food stamps for the certification period commencing January 1, 1976 and ending March 31, 1976.*fn1
[ 30 Pa. Commw. Page 421]
The record discloses that in December 1975 Dr. Skehan owned four rental properties from which he received self-employment income of $490 per month and that he received Social Security payments for himself and daughter in the amount of $152.20 per month. The DPW computed Dr. Skehan's adjusted net food-stamp income to be $364.29 per month*fn2 and, since this amount exceeded the income exclusion point of $307, made a determination that Dr. Skehan was not eligible for food stamps during the next three-month certification period.
Our scope of review of decisions of the DPW relating to the payment of public assistance funds is limited to a determination of whether the adjudication was in accordance with law, whether constitutional rights were violated, and whether all necessary findings of fact were supported by substantial evidence. Bowen v. Department of Public Welfare, 21 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 144, 343 A.2d 690 (1975).
Dr. Skehan advances three contentions in this appeal. First, he asserts that the DPW hearing officer's decision did not, as required by federal regulations, refer to those regulations upon which she based her determination and that "[c]onsequently, the reasoning which took place in arriving at her decision is not known." We find this contention to be without merit since even a cursory examination of the hearing officer's four-page decision discloses the detailed step-by-step reasoning process used by her to reach her decision. We can only conclude that she fully and adequately rendered her decision with commendable clarity. In addition, she cited Section 3754.248 of the departmental
[ 30 Pa. Commw. Page 422]
regulations, DPW-PA Manual § 3754.248, as authority for subtracting identifiable costs of producing self-employment income from the gross income when computing adjusted net food-stamp income.
Next, Dr. Skehan contends that he must be allowed annualization of his rental income. DPW regulations do provide that for households whose income is not received on a regular basis, such as a single-crop farmer or recipient of a scholarship grant, the annual income may be prorated to a monthly figure. However, in the instant case, when Dr. Skehan applied in December of 1975 for recertification of his food-stamp eligibility, all of his properties were currently rented, and Dr. Skehan was receiving total rental payments of $490 per month. He did not indicate that he anticipated a vacancy to occur within the next three-month recertification period. We hold that ...