Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare in case of Appeal of Ms. Rosa Caban, No. 1384 389 C.
Beverly L. Diego, for petitioner.
Jason W. Manne, Assistant Attorney General, for respondent.
Judges Rogers, Williams, Jr. and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.
[ 60 Pa. Commw. Page 433]
Rosa Caban was receiving food stamps and public assistance for herself and her daughter when the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) discovered that there was $2,232.21 on deposit in a savings account in her name in a Philadelphia bank. This amount exceeded the resource limitation for assistance fixed by DPW regulations for Ms. Caban's household and her County Assistance Office notified her that her assistance and food stamps were to be terminated. Ms. Caban withdrew the money from the account. She then told her caseworker that the money was not hers but belonged to a Mr. Acevedo. She brought Mr. Acevedo to her caseworker and both assured the caseworker that the money which had been in the savings account was Mr. Acevedo's. The caseworker apparently did not credit this assertion.
Ms. Caban appealed DPW's decision to terminate her assistance and a fair hearing was conducted before a DPW Hearing Examiner at which Ms. Caban and Mr. Acevedo testified, the latter to the effect (and as here quoted from Ms. Caban's brief) that
he [gave] the money to Ms. Caban, to be used upon their getting married. However, he misled Ms. Caban into believing that he would marry her because at the time he was already married in Puerto Rico. He stated that he had given the money to her in cash, but when she opened the
[ 60 Pa. Commw. Page 434]
account he was not in Philadelphia, he was in Puerto Rico.
The Hearing Examiner upheld the DPW's determination action and the Director of the Office of Hearings and Appeals affirmed.
A DPW regulation at 55 Pa. Code § 125.24(c)(6) provides:
If the client does not understand or accept the requirements or methods of the agency, the worker will carefully consider with the client his reasons, in order to prevent him from deciding unnecessarily or unwisely to withdraw from the program when he is or may be eligible, to discharge the responsibility of the agency for evaluating whether facts had previously been presented correctly, fairly, and in a helping way, and to explain further, if necessary. If the applicant wants time to make up his mind, the worker will discuss with him the length of time he wants and a time limit will ...