Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare in case of Appeal of Edna L. Harer, Lycoming County Case No. 34292 C.
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 138]
Edna L. Harer (appellant) seeks to overturn the decision of a hearing examiner, rendered after a "Fair Hearing"*fn1 held on January 19, 1976, who found her unqualified for Public Assistance benefits under the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program (AFDC) and appointed a protective payee to receive benefits due her minor children. The examiner found that appellant's refusal to cooperate with the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) in establishing the paternity of her three children born out of wedlock rendered her ineligible under 42 U.S.C. § 602(a)(10) and (26) and DPW's regulations as they existed at all times pertinent to this appeal.
Section 602(a)(10) and (26) provide in pertinent part:
(a) A State plan for aid and services to needy families with children must . . . (10) provide, effective July 1, 1951, that all individuals wishing to make application for aid to families with dependent children shall have opportunity to do so, and that aid to families with dependent children shall, subject to paragraphs (25)*fn2 and (26), be furnished with reasonable promptness to all eligible individuals; . . . [and] (26) provide that, as a condition of eligibility for aid, each applicant or recipient will be required --
(A) to assign the State any rights to support from any other person such applicant
[ 31 Pa. Commw. Page 139]
may have (i) in his own behalf or in behalf of any other family member for whom the applicant is applying for or receiving aid, and (ii) which have accrued at the time such assignment is executed,
(B) to cooperate with the State (i) in establishing the paternity of a child born out of wedlock with respect to whom aid is claimed, and (ii) in obtaining support payments for such applicant and for a child with respect to whom such aid is claimed, or in obtaining any other payments or property due such applicant or such child, unless (in either case) such applicant or recipient is found to have good cause for refusing to cooperate as determined by the State agency in accordance with standards prescribed by the Secretary [of Health, Education and Welfare], which standards shall take into consideration the best interests of the child on whose behalf aid is claimed ; and that, if the relative with whom a child is living is found to be ineligible because of failure to comply with the requirements of subparagraphs (A) and (B) of this paragraph, any aid for ...