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LISA FRANKENFIELD v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (02/19/88)

decided: February 19, 1988.

LISA FRANKENFIELD, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare in the case of Appeal of: Lisa Frankenfield, Case No. 51-1654065.

COUNSEL

David L. Hill, for petitioner.

Cynthia B. White, Assistant Counsel, for respondent.

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

Author: Macphail

[ 113 Pa. Commw. Page 546]

Lisa Frankenfield (Petitioner) appeals a final order of the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) which denied Petitioner's request for reconsideration of an order of the Office of Hearings and Appeals adopting a hearing officer's recommendation to deny Petitioner's appeal of a determination of the Philadelphia County Assistance Office (CAO). We will affirm.

On August 4, 1986, at the age of seventeen years, Petitioner applied for cash and medical assistance and food stamps on her own behalf. At the time of her application, Petitioner was pregnant but presented no verification of such. The CAO denied the application, determining that Petitioner was an unemancipated minor living with her parents, and was accordingly, ineligible for benefits considering the entire family's income. Petitioner appealed this determination to DPW.

After a hearing at which a CAO representative, Petitioner and both parents testified, the hearing officer concluded that Petitioner did not demonstrate that she acted "responsibly, maturely and independently" enough to be considered an emancipated minor and recommended that the appeal be denied. The Office of Hearings and Appeals adopted this recommendation, and DPW entered a final order denying Petitioner's request

[ 113 Pa. Commw. Page 547]

    for reconsideration. Petitioner's appeal of this order is now before this Court.

We recognize that inasmuch as the decision to grant or deny a request for reconsideration is a matter of administrative discretion, we will reverse that decision only for an abuse of discretion. Muehleisen v. State Civil Service Comm'n, 66 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 95, 443 A.2d 867 (1982), aff'd, 501 Pa. 335, 461 A.2d 615 (1983). In the matter before us, we find no such abuse of DPW's discretion.

DPW regulations provide that a minor may receive general assistance if she is emancipated and otherwise meets the eligibility requirements. 55 Pa. Code ยง 145.63(a). An "emancipated minor" is defined by regulation as follows:

A minor who is aged 16 or over, who has left the parental household and has established himself as a separate entity free to act upon his own responsibility, and who is capable of acting independently of parental control. If the minor again lives with his parents he will no longer be ...


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