Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare in case of Appeal of Anne M. Floyd, dated July 19, 1978.
George R. Price, Jr., with him Walter Perry, for petitioner.
Catherine Stewart, Assistant Attorney General, for respondent.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr. and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.
[ 47 Pa. Commw. Page 339]
Petitioner Anne M. Floyd appeals from the July 24, 1978 decision of the Hearing and Appeals Unit of the Department of Public Welfare (DPW), which affirmed the decision of the Lycoming County Board of Assistance (CBA) requiring petitioner to execute form PA-9, acknowledging liability of real property for reimbursement, as a condition of continued receipt of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) category of assistance.
Petitioner has been receiving AFDC, on her own behalf and that of her two minor children, since before 1974. Early in 1978, CBA learned that petitioner
[ 47 Pa. Commw. Page 340]
had acquired an interest in real estate by entering into a contract of sale for a house in Williamsport; CBA then informed petitioner that acknowledgement of a reimbursement lien against her interest, established by executing and recording form PA-9, would be required as a condition of continued AFDC.
In February, 1978, petitioner executed form PA-9, establishing a $5,000 lien against her interest; in April, 1978, CBA requested execution of a second PA-9 form, maintaining that she had received AFDC in excess of $5,000 since acquiring her interest in the house. She declined to execute the second PA-9, asserting that she acquired her interest only in the fall of 1977, and that she had not received in excess of $5,000 since that time.
The parties agree that the purchaser under a contract of sale, as used for an installment purchase, obtains a legally cognizable interest in the property. "From the moment an agreement of sale of real estate is executed and delivered it vests in the grantee what is known as an equitable title to the real estate." Payne v. Clark, 409 Pa. 557, 561, 187 A.2d 769, 770 (1963). Also undisputed is the fact that the articles of agreement by which petitioner acquired her interest bear the date October 29, 1975, and that they were recorded September 27, 1977.
Under 55 Pa. Code, § 257.24(c)(2)(ii), such equitable interests are treated in the same manner as are the legal titles of grantees of deeds to real estate, i.e., both types of interest are subject to liability for reimbursement of assistance. According to 55 Pa. Code, § 257.21(c)(3), liability of property for reimbursement "begins with the ...