Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare in the case of Appeal of Frank Klesh, dated August 22, 1979.
David Gates, with him Frank J. Klesh, for petitioner.
Jason Manne, Assistant Attorney General, for respondent.
Judges MacPhail, Williams, Jr. and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.
[ 55 Pa. Commw. Page 588]
Frank Klesh (Petitioner) has appealed from the final administrative action of the Department of Public Welfare (Department) which affirmed the amended order of the Department's Hearing and Appeals Unit denying a request for the replacement of food
[ 55 Pa. Commw. Page 589]
stamps not received by Petitioner in February of 1979 and finding Petitioner ineligible for food stamps effective March 1, 1979. We affirm.
Petitioner and his wife were participants in the food stamp program in January of 1979, their eligibility being due, in large part, to high monthly medical expenses which were deductible in computing income under the then applicable law.*fn1 An authorization to purchase (ATP) food coupons for February, 1979, valued at $106.00, was mailed on January 31 but, according to Petitioner, was never received. Petitioner did not report the lost ATP in February but requested a fair hearing on May 22, 1979 to determine if he was entitled to a replacement ATP. Effective March 1, 1979 state regulations implementing the federal Food Stamp Act of 1977 (Act)*fn2 were promulgated.*fn3 Under the new law the deduction for high medical expenses, as well as other itemized deductions, were replaced with a standard deduction. Petitioner was found to be ineligible by his County Assistance Office as a result of this change in the law.*fn4 Petitioner, in his request for a fair hearing filed with the Department on May 22, 1979, challenged this finding.
The issues presented for our consideration are: (1) whether the Department erred in refusing to issue to the Petitioner a replacement ATP for February, 1979 and (2) whether the elimination of the medical expense deduction in computing income for food
[ 55 Pa. Commw. Page 590]
stamp eligibility purposes is unconstitutional because it violated Petitioner's equal protection rights under the Fifth ...