Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare in the case of Appeal of: Angeline M. Feldbauer, Case No. 24-12, 152 C.
Richard A. Masson, Northwestern Legal Services, for petitioner.
Jeffrey P. Schmoyer, Assistant Counsel, for respondent.
Judges MacPhail and Colins, and Senior Judge Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.
[ 106 Pa. Commw. Page 88]
Angeline M. Feldbauer (Petitioner) petitions for our review of an order of the Department of Public Welfare (Department) which denied her application for cash assistance and medical assistance pursuant to 55 Pa. Code § 177.23(b)(1).
Petitioner sold her home on May 25, 1983 and received net proceeds of $27,599.08. Petitioner alleges that she transferred $17,000.00 to her ex-husband, Mr. Feldbauer, in satisfaction of a post-nuptial agreement they had entered into on February 10, 1976. On June 2, 1983, Petitioner notified the Elk County Assistance Office (CAO) that she had netted $4,833.00 from the sale of her home and requested that her medical assistance and food stamps be discontinued. On September 29, 1983, having exhausted her funds, Petitioner applied to CAO for Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) assistance, medical assistance and food stamps. Petitioner supplied CAO with a "bag of receipts" totaling $4,993.87 to verify that she had in fact exhausted the proceeds from the sale of her home. CAO requested, and Petitioner provided, the settlement sheet from the sale which indicated that Petitioner had netted $27,599.08.
In attempting to confirm the existence of a post-nuptial agreement and Petitioner's transfer of $17,000.00 pursuant to it, CAO phoned Mr. Feldbauer who stated that he had not received any money from Petitioner. Shortly thereafter, in another phone conversation with CAO, Mr. Feldbauer stated that he did receive the money.
On November 2, 1983, CAO denied Petitioner's application for AFDC assistance, medical assistance and food stamps. The denial was based on CAO's conclusion that Petitioner had transferred $17,000 to Mr. Feldbauer without fair consideration and had not proved that
[ 106 Pa. Commw. Page 89]
the dominant purpose of the transfer of funds was not to defraud the Commonwealth.*fn1 Petitioner filed a timely notice of appeal to which she attached two documents. One document purported to be the post-nuptial agreement between Petitioner and Mr. Feldbauer*fn2 and the other was a typed and notarized receipt signed by Mr. Feldbauer acknowledging receipt of $17,000 from Petitioner.
The hearing officer affirmed CAO's denial stating that because of inconsistencies in the information provided by Petitioner and her ex-husband he found their testimony to be unreliable. He therefore concluded that ...