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PAUL COLEMAN v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (02/26/81)

decided: February 26, 1981.

PAUL COLEMAN, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare in the case of Appeal of Paul Coleman, dated November 2, 1979.

COUNSEL

Bartholomew E. Poindexter, for petitioner.

Carol A. Genduso, Assistant Attorney General, for respondent.

Judges Wilkinson, Jr., MacPhail and Williams, Jr., sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson, Jr. Dissenting Opinion by Judge MacPhail.

Author: Wilkinson

[ 57 Pa. Commw. Page 157]

Petitioner appeals here from a Department of Public Welfare (DPW) decision denying him a special grant in the form of a moving allowance.

After judgment was entered in Municipal Court of the City of Philadelphia against petitioner on July 2, 1979, he was served with a writ of possession on August 10, 1979 giving him fifteen days to vacate his apartment. Petitioner, being a General Assistance recipient at the time, requested a moving allowance from the County Assistance Office (CAO) on August 13, 1979. Upon CAO's request, petitioner obtained two estimates of the cost of the move from two moving companies. The CAO caseworker also requested that

[ 57 Pa. Commw. Page 158]

    petitioner obtain the Public Utility Commission's (PUC) licensing numbers for these two companies. These numbers were supplied to the CAO on August 17, 1979. On August 22, 1979, petitioner was informed by a CAO supervisor that one of the numbers submitted, that of a Mr. Elton Nock, was not a valid PUC number. He was also informed that he must obtain a second moving estimate from a PUC-licensed mover or that he could follow DPW's procedures for moving by rented van. On August 24, 1979, petitioner was served with an alias writ of possession by the county sheriff and was required to turn over the keys to his apartment to his landlord. Upon contacting the CAO that same day, he was informed that the CAO staff was mandatorily working only on food stamp recomputations and could not process his moving allowance request until August 27, 1979. Petitioner went ahead and had Mr. Nock move his possessions on August 25, 1979. He provided written verification of this expense to the CAO on August 28, 1979. Petitioner's request for a moving allowance was denied by the CAO and, after a fair hearing held on October 12, 1979, also denied by a Hearing Examiner. The Executive Director of the Hearing and Appeals Unit of DPW affirmed the Hearing Examiner's decision on November 2, 1979. This appeal followed and we affirm.

The DPW regulation at issue here reads in pertinent part:

(3) Other special transportation needs. Actual minimum cost of transportation and necessary related expenses . . . will be authorized . . . if any of the following circumstances exist:

(i) A client must move . . . because he has received an order to vacate his present home . . . Allowance for transportation ...


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