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BETTY L. SINGER v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (01/04/78)

decided: January 4, 1978.

BETTY L. SINGER, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare in case of Appeal of Betty L. Singer, Case No. 37287-S.

COUNSEL

Gary A. Caldwell, for petitioner.

Lynne M. Mountz, Assistant Attorney General, for respondent.

Judges Wilkinson, Jr. and Rogers, sitting as a panel of two. Opinion by Judge Rogers.

Author: Rogers

[ 33 Pa. Commw. Page 199]

Betty L. Singer has appealed from an order of a Department of Public Welfare (DPW) Hearing Officer, affirming a decision of the Blair County Board of Assistance that Social Security benefits to which her minor son, Nicolas Singer, is entitled as a dependent of his father, Alvin Morrison, should be considered income of the Betty L. Singer household in which Nicolas lived, for purposes of determining what the household must pay for food stamps.

Before April 9, 1976, appellant and her three children, one of which was Nicolas, could purchase $166.00 of food stamps each month for $77.00. As of April 8, 1976, Nicolas became eligible to receive $99.50 each month in Social Security Disability Benefits from the account of his father, Alvin Morrison, who does not reside in appellant's household. Alvin Morrison requested

[ 33 Pa. Commw. Page 200]

    that Betty L. Singer be named representative payee for Nicolas' benefits because she had custody of the child. Before Nicolas received any Social Security benefits, Alvin Morrison informed Betty L. Singer that any benefits in excess of an amount needed for his maintenance and support would have to be set aside for Nicolas' education. A trust account for Nicolas was opened by his parents in a savings institution and Betty L. Singer, faithful to her oral arrangement with Alvin Morrison, regularly deposited in this account so much of the monthly Social Security benefit paid her as Nicolas' representative payee as she determined was not needed for his current maintenance.

The County Board decided that the whole amount of Nicolas' Social Security benefit should be considered income of the household for food stamp purposes with the result that the household's monthly cost of $77.00 for $166.00 in food stamps increased to $104.00. As a result of this determination, Alvin Morrison induced the Social Security Administration to make the payments to him as Nicolas' representative payee and continued to deposit a part of the child's benefits in the savings account.

Betty L. Singer asked for and received a fair hearing to contest the County Board's determination which caused the increase in the cost of her household's food stamps. The Hearing Officer affirmed the County Board's decision that Nicolas' benefits were to be included as household income for food stamp purposes. This appeal followed. We agree with the decision below and will dismiss Betty L. Singer's Petition for Review of the Hearing Officer's order.

We begin with the regulations of the Social Security Administration to be found at 20 C.F.R. § 410.582 through § 410.590. ...


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