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MARY E. ROWE v. WALTER COHEN (03/25/85)

decided: March 25, 1985.

MARY E. ROWE, PETITIONER
v.
WALTER COHEN, SECRETARY OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare in case of Mary Rowe, Case No. 24702, dated November 17, 1983.

COUNSEL

Samuel W. Milkes, for petitioner.

Jean E. Graybill, Assistant Counsel, with her, John Kane, Chief Counsel, for respondent.

Judges Doyle and Barry, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle. Judge Williams, Jr. did not participate in the decision in this case.

Author: Doyle

[ 90 Pa. Commw. Page 500]

This is an appeal by Mary E. Rowe from an order of the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) affirming the decision of the Cumberland County Assistance Board which denied her request for a one-time grant of $285.29 to reimburse her for automobile repairs. The vehicle in question was necessary so as to allow Ms. Rowe to travel to and from job training classes.

[ 90 Pa. Commw. Page 501]

The DPW decision was based on the rationale that, since Ms. Rowe had already received a non-recurring one-time grant of $200 towards the purchase of an automobile in April 1982, she was precluded by regulation from receiving a second one-time grant for repairs to that automobile. DPW interprets the regulation dealing with such grants, 55 Pa. Code ยง 175.23(c)(2), to restrict recipients to only one special grant for the purpose of acquiring or maintaining an automobile. This regulation, in pertinent part, reads as follows:

(c) Grants to decrease need for assistance. Grants to decrease need for assistance will conform with the following:

(2) Nonrecurring one-time grant. A non-recurring one-time grant may be authorized for an allowance to meet the actual minimum cost, subject to the specified maximum allowances, for any of the following items provided an individual shows that these items are needed in order to apply for or to accept employment or training which will result in decreasing or preventing his need for assistance. . . . The eligible items are as follows:

(iv) Only the actual cost of repairs on the automobile of the client, not applying to WIN, the actual cost of an automobile, a down payment on automobile, subject to a maximum of $200 plus the cost of state inspection fee, automobile license plates, and driver's license if there is no other means of transportation to a job or training or the job requires the use of an automobile.

An administrative agency's interpretation of its own regulation is entitled to ...


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