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BEATRICE MCCULLOUGH v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (01/19/81)

decided: January 19, 1981.

BEATRICE MCCULLOUGH, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, RESPONDENT



Appeal, No. 1892 C.D. 1979, from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare in the case of In Re: Appeal of Ms. Beatrice McCullough, No. 1029 334 C.

COUNSEL

James M. Lafferty, for petitioner.

Mary Frances Grabowski, Assistant Attorney General, for respondent.

Judges Rogers, MacPhail and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.

Author: Macphail

[ 56 Pa. Commw. Page 145]

Beatrice McCullough (Petitioner) has appealed from the final administrative action of the Department of Public Welfare (Department) sustaining the denial by the Philadelphia County Board of Assistance of her application for emergency shelter assistance. We reverse and remand.

Petitioner, her husband and child received public assistance prior to November 4, 1977 when her husband obtained a job. All public assistance for the family ended effective December 6, 1977. Sometime

[ 56 Pa. Commw. Page 146]

    during December of 1977 Petitioner's husband left her and their child. Petitioner was also pregnant at the time and was forced to reapply for public assistance which she began receiving on January 25, 1978 in the amount of $302.00 per month.*fn1

There is evidence in the record that Petitioner had difficulty paying her rent and electric bills after her husband's departure from the home. Despite these financial difficulties Petitioner did not apply to her County Assistance Office for emergency shelter assistance until February, 1979. At that time she apparently was three months in arrears on her rent payments.*fn2 The application was denied because, according to the County Board, Petitioner failed to demonstrate that her inability to pay her rent was due to an "emergency" as required by Department regulations. Petitioner appealed this decision and, after a fair hearing, the Department affirmed.

The issue presented for our consideration is whether Petitioner is entitled to emergency shelter assistance.

[ 56 Pa. Commw. Page 147]

Our scope of review of final orders of the Department is limited to a determination of whether the adjudication was in accordance with law, whether constitutional rights were violated and whether the findings of fact were supported by substantial evidence. Burks v. ...


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