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BENITA A. CHARLESWORTH v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (02/22/84)

decided: February 22, 1984.

BENITA A. CHARLESWORTH, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare in the case of: Benita Charlesworth, Case No. 37 889, dated December 10, 1981.

COUNSEL

Samuel W. Milkes, for petitioner.

Bradford Dorrance, Assistant Counsel, with him Roger T. Margolis, Assistant Counsel, for respondent.

Judges Craig, Barry and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Barry.

Author: Barry

[ 80 Pa. Commw. Page 373]

Before us is a petition for review filed by Benita Charlesworth (claimant) from a finding by the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) that she was overpaid Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) benefits on behalf of herself and her two minor children. Claimant contends that the overpayment notice sent to her by DPW included no explanation as to how the $1,206.00 overpayment was calculated, no notification of her right to appeal or any deadline for her appeal, no notification as to her right to counsel, and no citation of regulations supporting the DPW action, all in derogation of state and federal

[ 80 Pa. Commw. Page 374]

    law. She contends that since DPW's procedure was inadequate, it must proceed as a general creditor to recover the overpayment. Claimant also contends that DPW failed to develop an adequate record at the hearing conducted in her case and that, therefore, there is an inadequate record before us on appeal. We disagree with both contentions of claimant in this matter, and affirm the decision of the DPW denying her appeal.

In support of her contention that DPW's notice of overpayment was inadequate, claimant calls our attention to Section 432.17 of the Public Welfare Code, Act of June 13, 1967, P.L. 31, added by Section 432.17 of the Act of July 15, 1976, P.L. 993, 62 P.S. § 432.17:

The department shall provide timely and adequate notice in all cases of intended action to discontinue, terminate, suspend or reduce an assistance grant except in those cases where adequate notice alone would be consistent with the requirements of Federal law or regulation. . . .

"Adequate notice" means a written notice that includes a statement of what action the agency intends to take, the reasons for the intended action, the specific regulations or statutes supporting such actions, an explanation of the individual's right to request an evidentiary and an administrative hearing on the propriety of the intended action and the circumstances under which assistance is continued if a hearing is requested. . . .

She also cites 55 Pa. Code § 133.4(b) as requiring use of specific forms providing the client with timely and adequate advance notice of a proposed action, ...


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