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MARLENE A. MILLER v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (03/17/81)

decided: March 17, 1981.

MARLENE A. MILLER, 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 Marlene A. Miller, Case No. 57,445-C.

COUNSEL

John R. Rellick, for petitioner.

Jason Manne, Assistant Attorney General, with him Edward P. Carey, Assistant Attorney General, for respondent.

Judges Mencer, Craig and Williams, Jr., sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr.

Author: Williams

[ 57 Pa. Commw. Page 534]

Marlene Miller appeals from an order of the Department of Public Welfare (Department) amending

[ 57 Pa. Commw. Page 535]

    the amount of a personal expense deduction previously ordered by a hearing officer in determining her eligibility for assistance under the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC).

Petitioner is a welfare recipient and is also employed as a cashier at D & R Value King Store in Erie, Pennsylvania. Petitioner received notice on April 2, 1979 from the Erie County Board of Assistance (Board) that, effective April 23, 1979, her assistance grant was being reduced based on income from her employment. Petitioner requested a hearing to challenge the revised computation of her AFDC grant. The hearing officer determined that the Board erred in the computation of petitioner's adjusted net earnings by not allowing the correct deduction for the operating expenses of an automobile which she used in transportation to and from work. Petitioner was held to be eligible for a larger work expense deduction, and the Board was directed to increase the amount of petitioner's grant based on a $62.25 per month deduction.

On July 26, 1979, however, the Department's Hearing and Appeals Unit amended the order of the hearing officer and determined that the officer erred in considering the cost of petitioner's automobile insurance as a component of her personal expense deduction and authorized a deduction of $46.77 per month. After rejecting petitioner's request for reconsideration as untimely, the Department issued its final order, affirming the amended order of the Hearing and Appeals Unit, and this appeal followed.

Petitioner travels 30 miles to and from work in a 1978 Delta Oldsmobile titled in her mother's name. Petitioner's father, now deceased, intended for petitioner to have the car but the decision was made to have title remain in her mother's name because of

[ 57 Pa. Commw. Page 536]

    costs associated with transfer of title. The hearing officer found that petitioner herself makes the monthly payments on the car of $149.82, but only authorized a $30.00 deduction, the maximum allowance pursuant to Section 183.44(f)(1)(i) of the Public Assistance Eligibility Manual (PAEM).*fn1 The hearing officer further found that petitioner made automobile insurance payments of approximately $25.92 per month for comprehensive coverage; her gasoline expenses were approximately $26.85 per month and inspection and repair expenses averaged $5.29 monthly. These figures were included as components in ...


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