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JOYCE L. JONES v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (03/10/80)

decided: March 10, 1980.

JOYCE L. JONES, 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 Joyce L. Jones, dated October 31, 1978.

COUNSEL

Fred M. Stanczak, with him, George R. Price, Jr., and Walter Perry, for petitioner.

Edward Carey, Assistant Attorney General, with him, Linda M. Gunn, Assistant Attorney General, and of counsel Byron Yatron, for respondent.

Judges Rogers, Blatt and Williams, Jr., sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers. President Judge Bowman did not participate in the decision in this case.

Author: Rogers

[ 50 Pa. Commw. Page 39]

Joyce L. Jones has appealed from order of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW) affirming a decision of the Lycoming County Board of Assistance (CBA) increasing the amount that Ms. Jones must pay for food stamps. We affirm.

Ms. Jones, a public assistance recipient, is a student at Lycoming College. She receives various forms of student aid to enable her to meet her college expenses. One such form of aid is an $80 per semester college bookstore credit provided by the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation (BVR) for the 1978-79 school year. The bookstore credit is paid by BVR directly to the college bookstore and Ms. Jones does not receive any portion of the credit which remains unused at the end of the school term.

Ms. Jones is also a participant in the food stamp program, which was established under the Food Stamp Act of 1964, 7 U.S.C. § 2011 et seq.*fn1 to assist low income families in maintaining a nutritionally adequate diet. DPW has the responsibility of administering the federal program in this Commonwealth (see 7 U.S.C. § 2019(b)), including determining the eligibility of recipients and the amount of food stamps to be granted under uniform national income and resource standards set forth in the Act and federal regulations. See U.S.C. §§ 2014, 2019(b),(e)(1).

[ 50 Pa. Commw. Page 40]

In September 1978, CBA, pursuant to a redetermination of Ms. Jones' eligibility for food stamps, notified her that she would have to increase the amount paid by her to receive $100 worth of food stamps. This increase was based in part upon CBA's inclusion of Ms. Jones' college bookstore credit in her income. CBA considered the credit as income to Ms. Jones on the theory that it was a "vendor payment", which was defined in DPW's regulations as they were in September 1978, as

[p]ayments in money, except for those for medical costs, made on behalf of the household by a person other than a member of the household. Such payments may be made by a private or government sources. To qualify as a vendor payment, there must be an identifiable payment on the household's behalf, the major benefit from which accrues to the household rather than the payer. If there is no identifiable payment or if the major benefit from such payment accrues to the payer and not the household, such benefits shall be considered income in-kind and not income to the household. (Formerly found at PAEM § 3753.72210).*fn2

See also 7 C.F.R. § 271.3(c)(1)(i)(h) (1975) (Former regulation promulgated under the Food Stamp Act of 1964). As noted, DPW upheld CBA's decision.

Although Ms. Jones characterizes the college bookstore credit as an "in-kind grant", we do not understand her to argue that ...


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