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ERIC HOWARD v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (08/21/87)

decided: August 21, 1987.

ERIC HOWARD, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare in case of Appeal of Case of Eric Howard, Case No. 1382 835-D, dated July 15, 1985.

COUNSEL

Richard Weishaupt, with him, Sharon Gornstein, Community Legal Services, Inc., for petitioner.

Jeffrey P. Schmoyer, Assistant Counsel, for respondent.

Judges MacPhail and Barry, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Barry.

Author: Barry

[ 108 Pa. Commw. Page 593]

This is an appeal from an adjudication of the Department of Public Welfare (Department) which affirmed the decision of the Philadelphia County Assistance Office (CAO) which changed the petitioner's General

[ 108 Pa. Commw. Page 594]

Assistance (GA) category from chronically needy to transitionally needy.

The petitioner, Mr. Howard, lives with his son (born 12/2/64) who is mentally retarded and who receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI). In his capacity as his son's caretaker, Mr. Howard was authorized to receive GA benefits for the chronically needy in January of 1979.*fn1 His status was reevaluated in June of 1983 at which time it was determined that Mr. Howard's status as being chronically needy was to continue.

On March 7, 1985, the CAO conducted a redetermination interview and subsequently proposed a change in Mr. Howard's status from chronically needy to transitionally needy. Mr. Howard appealed the decision of the CAO and a hearing before a Department

[ 108 Pa. Commw. Page 595]

Hearing Officer followed on June 5, 1985. On July 12, 1985, the Hearing Officer issued an order and adjudication affirming the CAO's redetermination of Mr. Howard's status as transitionally needy. On July 15, 1985, the Director, Office of Hearings and Appeals entered a final order affirming the decision of the Hearing Officer. Following a denial of Mr. Howard's request for reconsideration he filed a timely appeal with this Court.

Mr. Howard raises several issues on appeal. First, whether the doctrine of res judicata applies to administrative proceedings before the Department of Public Welfare. Second, if so, whether the application of the doctrine in this case operates to preclude a redetermination of Mr. Howard's status as anything other than chronically needy as found in the 1983 determination if there is no finding of changed circumstances. Third, ...


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