Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare, Office of Hearings and Appeals, in the case of Appeal of: Margarita Andino, Case No. 107659.
Robert Senville, for petitioner.
Jason W. Manne, Counsel, with him, Jean E. Graybill, Assistant Counsel, John Kane, Chief Counsel, and Helga Kumar, Legal Assistant, for respondent.
Judges Doyle and Palladino, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Palladino. Judge Williams, Jr. did not participate in the decision in this case.
[ 91 Pa. Commw. Page 119]
Margarita Andino (Petitioner) appeals from an order of the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) which held that DPW may recover an overpayment of assistance benefits from Petitioner. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.
The facts as stipulated by the parties before the hearing examiner are as follows. Petitioner applied to the Berks County Department of Public Assistance (County) for Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) benefits in October of 1983. At the time
[ 91 Pa. Commw. Page 120]
of her application, Petitioner reported that she and her children were receiving a total of $380.00 each month in other assistance. This income information was properly reported on Petitioner's application, but the clerical department failed to adjust her AFDC grant to reflect the $380.00. As a result of the administrative error, Petitioner received $401.00 per month in AFDC benefits in addition to the $380.00, for a period from October 26, 1982 through May 19, 1983. Had the AFDC grant been properly adjusted, Petitioner would have received $21.00 per month instead of $401.00. The County did not discover its error until May 21, 1983, after Petitioner had received overpayments totaling $2,788.00.
The Bureau of Claims Settlement (BCS) sent notice to Petitioner on August 5, 1983 of its intent to recover the overpayment and commenced recouping $20.00 per month on September 7, 1983.*fn1 Petitioner appealed the decision of the BCS to a hearing officer who, following a fair hearing, sustained Petitioner's appeal and ordered BCS to stop recoupment. DPW's Office of Hearings and Appeals reversed the hearing officer, and this appeal followed.
The controversy in this case centers on the interpretation and application of DPW's regulations governing recoupment of overpayments.
The precise issue is whether DPW may recoup an overpayment which resulted solely from administrative error.
Under the Federal Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981, states are required to make some provision for the recoupment of overpayments of AFDC benefits. 42 U.S.C. § ...