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JEAN WRIGHT v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (01/09/80)

decided: January 9, 1980.

JEAN WRIGHT, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare in case of Appeal of Jean Wright, No. 800 732-C.

COUNSEL

Ann Shalfeck, with her, Ellen Josephson, for petitioner.

Linda Gunn, Assistant Attorney General, for respondent.

Judges Mencer, Blatt and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig. This decision was reached prior to the expiration of the term of office of Judge DiSalle.

Author: Craig

[ 48 Pa. Commw. Page 414]

Since 1966, petitioner has been receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) for herself and her four children.

She has appealed from an order of the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) which affirmed a denial of her request for special cash allowances for carfare and child care (training-related expenses) to enable her to take a four-month training program in small business management, accounting and typing.

While on AFDC, petitioner has heretofore received her general education diploma from high school, taken refresher courses in English and reading in 1973, and, in August of 1978, completed her bachelor's degree in communications and film-making from Temple University. DPW provided recurring grants for child-care and transportation throughout that period.

The applicable departmental regulations, at Section 175.23(c)(3) of the Public Assistance Eligibility Manual (PAEM), 55 Pa. Code ยง 175.23(c)(3), provide for recurring cash grants to any participant in a training or work experience program or project "that is part of the training plan of the Department for the individual."

DPW's hearing and appeals unit denied petitioner's current request on the grounds that her enrollment

[ 48 Pa. Commw. Page 415]

    in the business and secretarial training program was not part of the department's training plan for her. The department supports that stance by contending that she completed her plan with the attainment of her bachelor's degree, observing that she had enrolled in the business program even before completing her degree at Temple.

Appellant argues that DPW's denial is a flagrant abuse of discretion because the department never ...


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