Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare in case of Appeal of Nancy Martella, Clinton County Case No. 13551C.
Warren R. Baldys, Jr., for appellant.
Robert B. Hoffman, Assistant Attorney General, with him James R. Adams, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Mencer and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Mencer. Dissenting Opinion by Judge Wilkinson, Jr. President Judge Bowman joins in this dissent.
[ 31 Pa. Commw. Page 146]
Although this appeal was consolidated for argument with Harer v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Public Welfare, 31 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 136, 375 A.2d 865 (1977), it presents issues not raised in Harer. Therefore, we have treated this case individually for the purpose of decision. We suggest, however, that both cases be read together. In Harer, we held that the so-called best-interest exception to the disqualification provisions of 42 U.S.C. § 602(a)(26) was effective notwithstanding the absence of federal standards by which the best interest of the child could be measured. In so doing, we denied the validity of the then-existing regulations of the Department of Public Welfare (DPW), found in PA Manual §§ 3122.4211 and 3237.113.
The case of Nancy Martella (appellant) was decided under newly promulgated regulations bearing the same section numbers. New regulation 3122.4211 provides in pertinent part:
3122.4211 Child Support Requirements
With respect to a child who has been deserted or abandoned by a parent, each applicant or recipient is required, as a condition of eligibility to:
(1) Assign to the Department all rights to support payments received, due or accrued, on behalf of any family member for whom assistance is to be granted or is being received.
(2) Cooperate with the Department in establishing the paternity of a child born out-of-wedlock in the identification and location of the deserting parent and the support collection process. This means that the applicant or recipient provides all verbal or written information known or possessed by him that is relevant
[ 31 Pa. Commw. Page 147]
to achieving support from the ...