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LEON TUNNICLIFF AND ANNABELLE TUNNICLIFF v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT PUBLIC WELFARE (11/18/78)

decided: November 18, 1978.

LEON TUNNICLIFF AND ANNABELLE TUNNICLIFF, APPELLANTS,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, APPELLEE



No. 531 January Germ, 1977, Appeal from the Per Curiam Order of the equally divided Commonwealth Court (No. 1286 C.D. 1975 dated 15 September 1976) Affirming an order and adjudication of an administrative Welfare Fair Hearing (No. 15101-75).

COUNSEL

Richard A. Brown, Legal Aid & Defender Assn., Towanda, for appellants.

Linda M. Gunn, Asst. Atty. Gen., Harrisburg, for appellee.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix, Manderino and Larsen, JJ. Roberts, Nix and Manderino, JJ., concur in the result.

Author: Larsen

[ 483 Pa. Page 277]

OPINION

Appellants, Leon and Annabelle Tunnicliff, had been receiving federal assistance since April of 1973 under the now

[ 483 Pa. Page 278]

    defunct Aid to Disabled assistance program. On January 1, 1974, they were transferred to the rolls of the Supplemental Security Income program (SSI), a program jointly administered by both federal and state governments. 42 U.S.C. ยงยง 1381-1383(c) (1974). On or about January 25, 1974, appellants informed their caseworker at the Bradford County Board of Assistance that they had not yet received their SSI check, and sought temporary assistance from the state Department of Public Welfare (DPW).

Assistance was granted for one month and a "Loan Agreement" form*fn1 was signed by Mr. Tunnicliff which agreed to repay the loan. Similar one month loans were made in February and March and Loan Agreements were signed for those months. At that point, it became apparent that SSI benefits would be further delayed for quite some time and appellants applied for and received general assistance on a continuing basis until February 11, 1975.

In January of 1975, appellants informed their local board of DPW that they would soon receive a lump-sum check from the Social Security Administration paying them SSI benefits retroactively for the period beginning January, 1974. On January 15, 1975, appellants signed an "Agreement and Authorization to Pay Claim" form*fn2 obligating them to repay the amount of the interim assistance.

[ 483 Pa. Page 279]

On January 28, 1975, appellants reported to the local board that they had received their lump-sum check, asked that their DPW assistance be discontinued, and inquired as to the amount they owed DPW. They were informed that they owed $2,705.50 (the amount of public assistance received by appellants from January 1, 1974 until February 10, 1975). Appellants returned ...


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