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THERESA R. WYATT v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (07/05/83)

decided: July 5, 1983.

THERESA R. WYATT, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Board of Finance and Revenue in the case of In Re: Gordon and Teresa Wyatt, Docket No. M-3207.

COUNSEL

Donald Marritz, for petitioner.

Jason W. Manne, Assistant Counsel, for respondent.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Mencer, Rogers, Blatt, MacPhail, Craig and Palladino. President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Rogers, Blatt, Williams, Jr., Craig, MacPhail and Doyle. Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr.

Author: Williams

[ 75 Pa. Commw. Page 348]

Teresa R. Wyatt (petitioner) appeals from a Board of Finance and Revenue (Board) decision denying her petition for refund of $1665.90 paid to the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (Department) as reimbursement for public assistance garnered pending receipt of retroactive, lump-sum Social Security disability insurance benefits payable to petitioner's husband (now deceased).

The facts as stipulated establish that between December 1971 and March 1973, prior to the federal determination of petitioner's husband's eligibility for Social Security disability insurance benefits, the Department provided public assistance to petitioner and family totaling $1665.90. Although petitioner and husband signed the PA9 Reimbursement Agreement*fn1 on November 22, 1972, they did not execute the PA176-K Agreement and Authorization to Pay Claim form*fn2 which provides for the repayment of public assistance monies by recipients upon the availability of funds.

[ 75 Pa. Commw. Page 349]

During late February or early March, 1973, petitioner's husband received a retroactive, lump-sum, disability benefit insurance payment totaling $4000.00 from the Social Security Administration. A Department caseworker visited petitioner and husband on March 2, 1973, and informed them that part of the Social Security disability insurance benefits was owed, and would have to be paid, to the Department. Stipulation of the Record No. 10 states the following:

Mr. Mowery [caseworker] told the Wyatts that part of the lump-sum disability benefits was owed to DPW [Department of Public Welfare] and would have to be paid to the ACBA [Adams County Board of Assistance]. (Emphasis added.)

Believing that they were under an enforceable legal obligation to reimburse the Department from the lump-sum, disability insurance payment,*fn3 petitioner immediately visited the county board of assistance office where she was instructed to, and did tender on March 8, 1973, a cashier's check in the amount of $1665.90. Subsequently, on May 12, 1976, petitioner filed her petition for refund with the Board and appealed the Board's denial to this Court for a proceeding de novo.

Petitioner maintains that she is entitled to a refund pursuant to Section 503(a) of The Fiscal Code (Code), Act of April 9, 1929, P.L. 343, as amended, 72 P.S. ยง 503(a),* ...


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