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IRENE BERKOVICH v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (11/23/82)

decided: November 23, 1982.

IRENE BERKOVICH, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare in case of Appeal of Irene Berkovich, No. L 577, 222-D.

COUNSEL

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.

Author: Craig

[ 70 Pa. Commw. Page 136]

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 ...


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