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CATHY ZANI v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (04/20/79)

decided: April 20, 1979.

CATHY ZANI, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, RESPONDENT. KENNETH E. RANKIN, PETITIONER V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, RESPONDENT



Appeals from the Orders of the Department of Public Welfare in cases of Appeal of Cathy A. Zani, dated June 13, 1977; and Appeal of Kenneth E. Rankin, dated November 23, 1977.

COUNSEL

Niles Schore and Stephen F. Krone, for appellants.

Linda M. Gunn, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

Judges Crumlish, Jr., Mencer and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Craig

[ 42 Pa. Commw. Page 158]

Cathy Zani and Kenneth E. Rankin, applicants, appeal here from separate orders by the Hearing and Appeals Unit of the Department of Public Welfare (DPW), dismissing their appeals because they were not timely filed. Because of the similar issues in the

[ 42 Pa. Commw. Page 159]

    two appeals, the cases were consolidated for argument. We affirm DPW in both cases.

On January 31, 1977, applicant Zani went to the Columbia County Board of Assistance (CBA) to apply for public assistance. At that time, she was residing apart from her husband, who was in military service in North Carolina. She was receiving no support from her husband, but did have some contact with him. The CBA informed her that because she did have contact with her husband she could not be considered to be separated and was therefore ineligible for public assistance. Zani then left the CBA office without filing an application. On February 2, 1977, the CBA sent her a denial notice, Form PA 162. Zani took no action until May 25, 1977, at which time she appealed CBA's denial of assistance and requested a fair hearing. By letter dated June 13, 1977, the Hearing and Appeals Unit of DPW dismissed her appeal citing Section 3590.1 of the DPW Manual. That section, as quoted in DPW's letter, stated the time limit within which all appeals must be taken: "(a) Thirty days from the date of written notice (PA 162, PA 162-A, PA 162-C or other similar notice) of a decision or action by a County Assistance Office, administering agency or service provider."

Applicant Rankin first applied to the Dauphin CBA for public assistance in mid-September, 1977, which the CBA denied on September 16, 1977. Rankin then filed a second application, and on September 26, 1977, the CBA again denied him assistance.*fn1 After each denial, Rankin was sent a denial Form PA 162. On November 1, 1977, Rankin appealed both denials of assistance. By letter dated November 23, 1977, the Hearing and Appeals Unit of DPW dismissed his appeal,

[ 42 Pa. Commw. Page 160]

    citing Section 275.3(b)(1) of the DPW Manual, which was the same as Section 3590.1(a), quoted above.*fn2

The appeals of both applicants were taken more than thirty days after the date of the written notices denying their applications for assistance. Therefore, their appeals were dismissed without hearings, pursuant to the DPW ...


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