Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare in the case of Appeal of: Karen A. Miller, Case No. 44158.
George R. Price, Jr., for petitioner.
Stanley Slipkoff, with him Phillip B. Rosenthal, Assistant Counsel, and Mary Frances Grabowski, Assistant Counsel, for respondent.
Judges Blatt, Williams, Jr. and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Williams.
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Karen A. Miller (petitioner) appeals from the Department of Public Welfare's (DPW) affirmance of the decision of the Lycoming County Board of Assistance (LCBA). The LCBA determined that the petitioner's food stamp benefits and public assistance grant be reduced.
On December 22, 1980, the petitioner applied for food stamps for a three person household, consisting of herself, Stephen Roy, and one child, Renee Roy. Four days after the application, the petitioner gave birth to her second child, Little Bird of the Snow. Stephen Roy is the father of both of petitioner's children and is legally responsible, pursuant to a court order, to provide $25.00 a week for both of the children. The LCBA authorized a food stamps grant for a four person household in the amount of $179.00 per month, effective January, 1981.
When the LCBA initially authorized food stamps for four persons, the household income consisted of solely public assistance grants; both the petitioner and Stephen Roy were receiving public assistance grants.*fn1 However, in February, 1981, Mr. Roy began
[ 74 Pa. Commw. Page 644]
receiving unemployment compensation benefits. This change in circumstances led to the discontinuance of his public assistance grant, and a reduction in the petitioner's food stamp benefits. On February 9, 1981, the LCBA recomputed the petitioner's food stamp benefits, and issued a notice proposing to reduce food stamps effective March 1, 1981, to $52.00 per month. On February 19, 1981, the petitioner filed a timely appeal to DPW. On March 11, 1981, as a further consequence of Mr. Roy's receipt of unemployment compensation benefits, the LCBA further proposed to reduce the petitioner's public assistance grant by issuing a form notice PA-162A-41 pursuant to 55 Pa. Code § 183.44. The LCBA thereby notified the petitioner that her newly born daughter would be removed from her public assistance grant, and that the petitioner would be transferred to the state's General Assistance program. On March 23, 1981, the petitioner filed an appeal from that decision. Both of petitioner's appeals were consolidated before DPW's Bureau of Hearings and Appeals.
On April 16, 1981, a hearing on both matters was held. On May 7, 1981, an adjudication and order were entered denying petitioner's appeals on both matters. A Final Administrative Action Order was entered by the Director of the Office of Hearings and Appeals on May 11, 1981. On May 21, 1981, the petitioner made a request for reconsideration. However, a final order denying the petitioner's challenge to both of the reductions was entered on June 5, 1981. There followed the instant appeal to our Court.
[ 74 Pa. Commw. Page 645]
In an appeal from an adjudication of the Department of Public Welfare, we must limit our focus to determining whether DPW's adjudication is supported by substantial evidence, is in accordance with the law, and whether the petitioner's constitutional rights were violated. Carr v. Department of ...