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DOREEN WALLER v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (04/19/82)

decided: April 19, 1982.

DOREEN WALLER, 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 Doreen Waller, No. 1177795 C.

COUNSEL

Doreen Waller, petitioner, for herself.

Catherine Stewart, Assistant Counsel, for respondent.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Rogers and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers. This decision was reached prior to the resignation of Judge Mencer.

Author: Rogers

[ 66 Pa. Commw. Page 216]

Doreen Waller, a former state employee, appeals from an order of the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) upholding the action of a County Assistance Office (CAO) discontinuing Aid to Families with Dependent Children benefits paid to her and on account of her two children. The ground on which the public assistance authorities based their action was that of the appellant's refusal to make application for resources available to her -- her account with the State Retirement Board amounting to about $4,800.00.

The appellant was discharged from her state employment on September 17, 1979. The appellant's union refused to pursue her grievance over her discharge to arbitration; and at the hearing conducted by the DPW Hearing Examiner on August 15, 1980, she testified that her grievance was in "limbo" and that she had received "notice from the union stating that they would not take my case to arbitration, and I had

[ 66 Pa. Commw. Page 21720]

days to contest the union grievance committee which I did . . . and which I have not yet received a reply from them."

At the time of her application for assistance on or about April 4, 1980, the appellant executed a form called PA 176-K in which she agreed, in consideration of assistance granted pending her receipt of money from her "state retirement benefits" to pay DPW the amount of any assistance granted from those "benefits" when received. In July, 1980 the CAO, the appellant having refused to apply for the money in her state retirement account, notified the appellant of its intention to discontinue her assistance benefits for her failure to make application.

There is no question that the money in the appellant's state retirement account is hers for the asking. At least as of the time of the filing of briefs in this matter, the appellant has not applied for her state retirement fund account, asserting that if she does so she will "lose eight years and nine months of seniority."

The DPW regulations pertinent to the appellant's claim appear in the Public Assistance Eligibility Manual (PAEM) at the ...


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