Appeal from the Order of the Executive Deputy Secretary of the Department of Public Welfare in the case of Appeal of: Anna Mozier, Case No. 51 1320 823.
Alba E. Martinez, for petitioner.
Cynthia B. White, Assistant Counsel, for respondent.
Judges MacPhail and Doyle, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle. Dissenting Opinion by Senior Judge Barbieri.
[ 114 Pa. Commw. Page 75]
Anna Mozier (Appellant) petitions for review of an order of the Department of Public Welfare (DPW), denying as untimely her request for reconsideration of an order of DPW's Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA), which terminated her welfare, food stamp and medical benefits. We vacate and remand.
On October 4, 1985, the Philadelphia County Assistance Office (CAO) sent an advance notice to claimant proposing to discontinue her welfare, medical and food stamp benefits, because the CAO had determined that a common-law marriage existed between
[ 114 Pa. Commw. Page 76]
Appellant and Mr. Gerald Pomeroy. An appeal of this decision was not filed until January 20, 1986. On June 17, 1986, a DPW hearing examiner issued a decision denying Appellant's appeal because it had not been filed within thirty days of the CAO's determination as required by 55 Pa. Code § 275.3(b)(1). By order mailed June 23, 1986, the hearing examiner's decision was affirmed by the director of the OHA.
On July 9, 1986, Appellant filed a request for reconsideration. This request was one day beyond the fifteen day time limit imposed upon such requests by 55 Pa. Code § 275.4(h)(4)(ii) which pertinently provides as follows:
Review by the Secretary. Review by the Secretary may be made under the following circumstances:
(ii) Either party to a proceeding has 15 days from the date of the decision of the Director of the Office of Hearings and Appeals within which to request reconsideration of that decision by the Secretary of the Department.
The Secretary will, within 15 working days from the date the request is received, respond in writing to the request. The Secretary may affirm, amend, or reverse the decision of the Director, or remand the case to the hearing officer for further findings of fact.
(iii) Requests for reconsideration will stay action proposed in the decision of the Director.
(iv) In cases where there is a request for reconsideration, the time limit, 30 days, for appealing the decision of the ...