Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare in the case of Appeal of Thelma Williams, No. 959 215-C.
Paulette Ettachild, for petitioner.
Catherine Stewart, Assistant Attorney General, for respondent.
Judges Blatt, Craig and Williams, Jr., sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig. Judge Wilkinson, Jr. did not participate in the decision in this case.
[ 58 Pa. Commw. Page 286]
This is an appeal from a decision of the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) reversing an examiner's adjudication, which continued the eligibility of Thelma Williams (petitioner) for assistance after a hearing on allegations that she had become ineligible under 55 Pa. Code § 183.1.*fn1 We must reverse the DPW action.*fn2
The basis for DPW's reversal of the board's decision was the view that petitioner had violated 55 Pa. Code §§ 201.1, 201.4(a)(1) by failing to cooperate with DPW upon its receipt of inconsistent information.*fn3 Although such a violation, if true, may itself constitute sufficient grounds for a determination of ineligibility, no such violation was properly charged here.
[ 58 Pa. Commw. Page 28762]
The department shall provide timely and adequate notice in all cases of intended action to discontinue, terminate, suspend or reduce an assistance. . . .
'Adequate notice' means a written notice that includes a statement of what action the agency intends to take, the reasons for the intended action, the specific regulation or statutes supporting such action. . . . (Emphasis added.)*fn4
With respect to the ultimate basis for the DPW action, the required notice was not given. Petitioner received a standard Pa. 162-A form notice which stated that assistance would be discontinued because of the purported receipt of $1,000 and residence with her husband, citing the income provision, 55 Pa. Code § 183.1. The notice made no reference to any violation of the verification provisions, 55 Pa. Code §§ 201.1, 201.4, on which DPW relied, nor were those regulations cited in the notice.
In effect, the petitioner had no hearing on the charges finally adopted by DPW; neither she nor the hearing examiner were apprised that ...