Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare in case of Appeal of Kathleen E. Washabaugh, No. 148474-D.
Richard A. Bruni, for petitioner.
Edward P. Carey, Assistant Attorney General, with him, Linda M. Gunn, Assistant Attorney General, for respondent.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Mencer and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr. Judge DiSalle did not participate in the decision in this case. This decision was reached prior to the death of President Judge Bowman.
[ 49 Pa. Commw. Page 425]
The Department of Public Welfare affirmed a denial of assistance to Kathleen E. Washabaugh. We affirm.
Benefits were denied based on a finding that Washabaugh transferred real property in excess of $500.00 without receiving fair consideration and with an intent to defraud the Commonwealth by circumventing
[ 49 Pa. Commw. Page 426]
liability which would be imposed on the property as a condition of receiving assistance.*fn1
A 1.2 acre parcel was deeded to petitioner and her spouse as a marriage gift in June, 1973. The parents, who resided on property abutting this parcel, reserved the water rights because the only functioning well was on the transferred property. The father of the bride helped construct the cinder block structure in which the married couple resided. From time to time, the parents provided fixtures, repairs and helped with upkeep. The couple decided to separate and recorded a deed transferring the property to the parents on August 31, 1978.
On August 17, 1978, Washabaugh applied for assistance and was rejected because she refused to sign a lien on her property. The present application was filed October 17, 1978, after transferring the property to her parents.
The hearing examiner found the property to have a market value of $6,500 and determined that the parents' services were not equivalent in value. We are satisfied with the fact finder's conclusions. In Westmoreland County, the assessed value of the property is 20% of market value. The property was assessed at $1,300. Petitioner mainly argues that the reserved water rights greatly diminish the property's ...