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PHILLIP W. THORNBURG AND VIRGINIA THORNBURG v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (10/24/79)

decided: October 24, 1979.

PHILLIP W. THORNBURG AND VIRGINIA THORNBURG, PETITIONERS
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare in case of Appeal of Phillip E. Thornburg and Virginia Thornburg, dated June 7, 1977.

COUNSEL

Lucinda A. Bush, with her Mark A. Senick, for appellants.

Linda M. Gunn, Assistant Attorney General, with her Edward P. Carey, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

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

Author: Craig

[ 46 Pa. Commw. Page 593]

Phillip and Virginia Thornburg appeal from a decision of the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) affirming the denial of their request for benefits under the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program.

The Thornburgs (claimants) applied for assistance under 55 Pa. Code § 153.43(a)(3) which accords AFDC eligibility to children deprived of parental support or care if either parent has a physical or mental incapacity.*fn1

DPW regulations provide the requirements for a finding of physical incapacity, as follows:

Physical or mental incapacity exists when either one of the parents living with the child has a physical or mental defect, illness, or impairment which substantially reduces or eliminates the ability of the parent to support or care for the child. The incapacity must be proved. (Emphasis added.)

55 Pa. Code § 153.43(c)

[ 46 Pa. Commw. Page 594]

Another regulation at 55 Pa. Code § 153.44(c)(2)(i) provides that an impairment, to be one which substantially reduces the parent's ability to support or care for the children, must be found to have "more than just a minor effect" on the parent's abilities.

Claimants allege the existence of evidence indicating that Mrs. Thornburg was incapacitated under the law because she suffered from constant severe headaches which resulted in a reduction of ...


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