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CECILIA CHASE v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (10/02/79)

decided: October 2, 1979.

CECILIA CHASE, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare in case of In Re: Appeal of Cecilia Chase, dated March 17, 1978.

COUNSEL

Richard S. Packel, for petitioner.

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

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

Author: Craig

[ 46 Pa. Commw. Page 309]

Cecilia Chase (claimant) appeals a denial by the Department of Public Welfare (department) of a one-time grant to cover the costs of supplies and clothing required by her daughter to participate in an approved cosmetology course.

[ 46 Pa. Commw. Page 310]

The hearing examiner, reversing the county board's decision, authorized the one-time grant and determined that the course and the course-required items (uniforms, shoes, textbooks and an implement kit) would decrease the daughter's need for public assistance within the framework and purpose of DPW-Pa. Manual § 175.23(c)(2).

The executive director of the hearing and appeals unit reversed the award of the grant because, although the course started in September, 1977, the grant request for materials was not made until October 15, 1977; the pertinent regulation authorizes a grant to cover the cost of items "which are needed in order for a client to apply for or accept employment or training. . . ." DPW-Pa. Manual § 175.23(c)(2).

The department's contention is that, because claimant applied for the grant after the course was underway, the items were not needed "to apply for or accept" training.

However, the record supports claimant's position that, to participate in the course and receive credit hours towards course completion and certification, the items were required.

The department's narrow interpretation of the regulation would contravene its purpose.

Section 403 of the Public Welfare Code*fn1 (code) enables the department to establish eligibility rules and regulations consistent with the law. The code's purpose provisions, set forth in Section 401, 62 P.S. § 401, include the statement that the administration of assistance is to be made in such a way as to "encourage ...


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