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IRVIN L. BOWMASTER v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (03/15/83)

decided: March 15, 1983.

IRVIN L. BOWMASTER, 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: Irvin L. Bowmaster, Case No. 15102-D.

COUNSEL

Garry Wamser, for petitioner.

Jean E. Graybill, Assistant Counsel, for respondent.

Judges Rogers, MacPhail and Doyle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.

Author: Rogers

[ 72 Pa. Commw. Page 579]

This is a welfare rights case founded upon an allegation of conflict between the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW) regulation at 55 Pa. Code § 171.22 and Section 432.12 of the Public Welfare Code, Act of June 13, 1967, P.L. 31, as amended, added by Section 5 of the Act of July 9, 1976, P.L. 993, 62 P.S. § 432.12.

Irvin L. Bowmaster, the petitioner, Rose Adams, and Ms. Adams' two children have resided together in a mobile home rented in the petitioner's name since September, 1980. Ms. Adams and her children receive assistance under the Aid to Families with Dependent

[ 72 Pa. Commw. Page 580]

Children program (AFDC). Ms. Adams contributes approximately $80 each month for rent, while the petitioner pays approximately $90 a month for rent. The other household expenses are divided in the following manner: the petitioner is responsible for the heating fuel of $50 a month, Ms. Adams pays for both the electricity bill of $35 a month and the bill for trash removal of $6 a month. Neither the petitioner, nor Ms. Adams has a legal duty to support the other.

On October 31, 1980, the petitioner applied for general assistance benefits for himself. At the time of the application, the petitioner informed the caseworker in an interview that he was living with a woman and her two children and that they were sharing shelter expenses. On his application for benefits, however, the petitioner did not state that Ms. Adams and he shared the rental obligation.

The petitioner was notified on November 10, 1980, that he was eligible for general assistance, but only in the amount of $58 which represented the difference between a four-person allowance of $369 and $311, the amount that Ms. Adams and her children were presently receiving in AFDC benefits. The basis for this determination was that the petitioner was not a separate assistance unit, but rather a part of an assistance unit since he was sharing living arrangements in a "common dwelling" with AFDC recipients within the meaning of 55 Pa. Code § 171.22 which provides in pertinent part:

Assistance unit -- Any group of persons who occupy a common dwelling unit and who are applying for or receiving AFDC, including AFDC -- CU or GA. There shall be only one assistance ...


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