Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare, in the case of Appeal of: Michael Yanushko, Case No. 40-0251267.
John C. Aciukewicz, for petitioner.
Cynthia B. White, Assistant Counsel, for respondent.
Judges Doyle, Palladino and Smith, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Palladino.
[ 117 Pa. Commw. Page 536]
Michael J. Yanushko (Petitioner) petitions for review of an order of the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) denying him continued eligibility for cash assistance and categorically needy medical assistance because he had enrolled as a full-time college student.
Section 403(d) of the Act of June 12, 1967 (Act), P.L. 31, as amended, 62 P.S. § 403(d), prohibits the receipt of general assistance by full-time college or university students unless they have participated in a federally subsidized program for dependent children within the previous five years. This prohibition is also embodied in a DPW regulation at 55 Pa. Code § 141.61(a)(1)(xiii).*fn1
On June 23, 1986, Petitioner was determined to be chronically needy pursuant to 55 Pa. Code § 141.61(d)(1), and therefore eligible for cash assistance, medical assistance and food stamps. Petitioner was classified as
[ 117 Pa. Commw. Page 537]
chronically needy because he is unable to work due to various medical conditions.*fn2 On August 20, 1986, the Luzerne County Assistance Office (CAO) notified Petitioner that it intended to discontinue his cash assistance and medical assistance on September 15, 1986 because Petitioner had become a full-time college student. Petitioner appealed the CAO determination, and the hearing officer sustained Petitioner's appeal, concluding that the circumstances of Petitioner's case warranted an exception to section 403(d) of the Act and 55 Pa. Code § 141.61(a)(i)(xiii).*fn3
[ 117 Pa. Commw. Page 538]
The director of the DPW office of hearings and appeals affirmed the continuance of food stamps but reversed the hearing officer's recommendation that Petitioner continue to receive cash assistance and chronically needy medical assistance.*fn4 The director noted that the regulation did not provide for any exception to the ineligibility of full-time college students. Petitioner has petitioned this court for review. For the reasons which follow, we affirm.*fn5
Petitioner asserts that the DPW decision is contrary to the statutory scheme for public welfare, relying heavily on the stated legislative purpose of public ...