Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare in case of Appeal of Irene Berkovich, No. L 577, 222-D.
John Stember, with him Jack Driscoll, for petitioner.
Jean E. Graybill, Assistant Counsel, for respondent.
Judges Rogers, Blatt and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.
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Irene Berkovich (recipient) appeals a decision of the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) which, in reversing its hearing examiner, held that regular $100 monthly payments made by the recipient's ex-common-law husband, directly to the recipient's landlord, must be considered outside income in computing the recipient's general assistance payments.
Presently, the recipient receives $172 a month as general assistance. By formal agreement, her ex-common-law husband agreed to pay the recipient $5,000 in consideration of her agreement to relinquish any claims she may have arising from their relationship. The husband, however, could secure only $1,500 immediately, and thus offered to liquidate the balance by paying $100 in each of the succeeding thirty-five months to the recipient's landlord, in order to reduce the recipient's rent obligation.
The issue before us is whether the DPW can categorize the monthly payments of $100 as income, and thus reduce the recipient's monthly assistance payment to $72.
Section 432.12 of the Public Welfare Code,*fn1 provides, in relevant part:
(a) . . . In determining need for general assistance, [DPW] shall take into consideration all income, excluding that amount equal to the expenses reasonably attributable to the earning of income up to twenty-five dollars ($25) per month. . . .
Section 432.12(b) provides:
(b) Income as used in subsection (a) includes benefits in cash or in kind (other than the rental value of living accommodations), as
[ 70 Pa. Commw. Page 137]
defined by the department in accordance with Federal ...