Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare in the case of Appeal of: Delores Hill, Case No. 115713.
David Gates, for petitioner.
Gary Goldman, Assistant Counsel, for respondent.
Judges Rogers, MacPhail and Doyle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail. Judge Doyle dissents.
[ 72 Pa. Commw. Page 150]
Petitioner, Delores Hill, was awarded a monthly special allowance from the Bucks County Board of Assistance (CAO) for child care and car fare to enable her to attend classes to obtain a general education diploma. The amount of the monthly check was $223.60. Petitioner also was entitled to a monthly cash
[ 72 Pa. Commw. Page 151]
assistance check, food stamps and a medical assistance check.
In January of 1981, she received none of her benefits and reported this fact to the CAO on January 6, 1981 at which time she requested replacements. On January 9, Petitioner's cash assistance check, medical assistance card and January food stamps were replaced. The special allowance check was not replaced pending verification of residence and rental amount but CAO did place a stop payment order on the original check which was dated January 2. On January 14, Petitioner was advised that a replacement check would be issued but on January 16, the original check was returned to CAO in the normal course of business with Petitioner's name appearing on the back thereof together with Petitioner's ID number and her social security number. Since the replacement check had not yet been issued, CAO held up that check and informed Petitioner that a replacement would not be issued.
Contending that she had never received the original check and that the endorsement on the check was not her signature, Petitioner appealed the decision of the CAO. After a hearing before a Department of Public Welfare (DPW) examiner, Petitioner's appeal was denied. That decision was subsequently affirmed by the Secretary of the DPW on a petition for reconsideration. A timely appeal has been filed with this Court.
The pertinent DPW regulation is found at 55 Pa. Code § 229.24(b)(1):
Replacements. . . . A replacement check will not be issued if the county office has in its possession, at the time replacement is requested, the original endorsed check, containing irrefutable evidence that the client cashed the check. Such evidence ...