Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare in the case of Appeal of: Anna Henderson, Case No. 901444-C.
Ruben Honik, with him, Allen L. Rothenberg, for petitioner.
Jason W. Manne, Assistant Counsel, for respondent.
Judges Rogers and Palladino, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.
[ 94 Pa. Commw. Page 285]
This is the appeal of Anna Henderson (petitioner) from an order of the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) upholding the action of her County Assistance Office (CAO) discontinuing her assistance under the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program (AFDC).
The petitioner received benefits under AFDC for herself, her three daughters and two grandchildren
[ 94 Pa. Commw. Page 286]
beginning March 18, 1969. The CAO received information that the petitioner had brought an action at law against a medical provider or providers of services to one of the children. As a consequence, the CAO notified the petitioner that it would discontinue her benefits by reason of her refusal to sign the acknowledgment of liability form, Form PA 176-K. The execution of this form would evidence the petitioner's promise to repay the assistance received and her confession of judgment for the same.
The petitioner appealed and by a final determination DPW has affirmed the CAO's action.
A hearing was held where the only witness was the income maintenance worker of the CAO. The hearing examiner found that the Bureau of Claim Settlement, Medical Recovery Unit, of DPW advised the CAO that the petitioner had a pending claim involving her minor daughter. The hearing examiner sustained the appeal on the ground that the CAO had failed to establish the existence of a resource from which the DPW might legally seek reimbursement. On appeal, the Acting Director of the Office of Hearings and Appeals (director), the deputy secretary of DPW affirming, reversed the hearing examiner's order on the ground that the existence of a claim from which reimbursement of assistance might be obtained is evidenced by a writing she had appended to her request for hearing. This writing was as follows:
I do not think the state should be entitled to both a medical and cash reimbursement from Christianna because this is not a [sic] injuries case but a malpractic [sic] suit, and my child has suffes [sic] enought [sic] because of it and for her to get nothing isn't fair. I think the state is entitled to get what they paid the ...