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ROBERT MORRIS v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (05/08/80)

decided: May 8, 1980.

ROBERT MORRIS, FOR HIMSELF AND ON BEHALF OF HIS WIFE, CAROL MORRIS, AND HIS DEPENDENT CHILDREN, CANDEE MORRIS, BETH MORRIS AND ROBERT MORRIS, PETITIONERS
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, RESPONDENT



Appeals from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare in case of Appeal of Robert Morris, No. 29216-C.U.

COUNSEL

James Bukac, for petitioners.

Edward P. Carey, with him, Linda M. Gunn, Assistant Attorneys General, for respondent.

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

Author: Blatt

[ 51 Pa. Commw. Page 237]

Robert Morris (petitioner) appeals here from an order of the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) which terminated his benefits under the Aid to Families with Dependent Children Program (AFDC) and under the food stamp program. He had received AFDC benefits (in the unemployed father category) in the amount of $397.00 per month since May of 1976 for himself, his wife and his three children. The Venango County Board of Assistance notified him on

[ 51 Pa. Commw. Page 238]

September 27, 1978, however, that the Bureau of Employment Security had requested an applicant for a full-time job that would become available the next morning at a nearby industrial plant. Having been a welder for 25 years, the petitioner was apparently qualified for the job, which involved cutting scrap metal with a blow torch, and, after receiving this call, he notified the Bureau of Employment Security that he would accept the job and he also returned the call of the County Board of Assistance to relay his acceptance of the offer. The next morning, however, he failed to report for work.

After a hearing, the DPW determined that the petitioner did not have good cause for refusing the job and he was consequently removed from the food stamp program*fn1 and from the AFDC program,*fn2 resulting in a decrease of his family's total AFDC benefits from $397.00 to $349.00 per month.

In this appeal, the petitioner makes a broad-based attack on the DPW adjudication, contending: (1) that he refused to accept the proffered employment for good cause, (2) that he was denied a proper hearing, and (3) that DPW's termination procedures denied him due process.

The petitioner initially contends that, because of a back injury, he was physically incapable of doing the work and that this constituted "good cause" for refusing work within the meaning of the DPW regulations.*fn3 He presented no competent medical evidence at the hearing, however, to prove that he was disabled. He testified that he was not presently under a doctor's care and that he was not taking any medication for his back injury other than aspirin. It is

[ 51 Pa. Commw. Page 239]

    clear, therefore, that he failed to meet his burden of showing a disability. Beard v. Department of Public Welfare, 42 Pa. ...


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