Appeal from the Order of the Department of Public Welfare in the case of Appeal of: Ivan S. Snyder, Case No. 060127331.
Foster S. Goldman, Jr., with him, Timothy F. Burke, Berkman, Ruslander, Pohl, Lieber & Engel, for petitioner.
Edward P. Carey, Regional Counsel, for respondent.
Judges Craig, Doyle and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Palladino.
[ 124 Pa. Commw. Page 512]
Ivan S. Snyder (Appellant), on behalf of his brother, Jay Snyder, appeals a decision of the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) that Jay is not eligible for Medical Assistance benefits.
Jay is 55 years old and resides at Kutztown Manor Nursing Home. Jay was admitted to Kutztown in June 1985 after being injured in an automobile accident. From June 1985 until July 1987, Jay received MA benefits that covered the cost of his care. DPW discontinued Jay's MA benefits in July 1987 because it claimed resources were available to him in excess of the limits permitted for receipt of MA benefits.*fn1
The resources that DPW claimed were available to Jay were the assets of a trust established by Jay's mother, Sallie A. Snyder, for the benefit of Jay and his sister Ethel Snyder.*fn2 Sallie executed her will in January 1985. In it she established a trust and directed that the income from the trust be used for the support of Jay and Ethel during their lives. She further directed that the trustee use as much of the principal as he, in his discretion, felt necessary for the care, support and maintenance of Jay and Ethel.*fn3 Sallie died in 1986.
[ 124 Pa. Commw. Page 513]
Appellant reapplied for benefits for Jay on December 11, 1987. The application was submitted after Appellant became aware of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision in Lang v. Department of Public Welfare, 515 Pa. 428, 528 A.2d 1335 (1987), issued on July 13, 1987. In Lang, the Supreme Court determined that a discretionary trust, established by a father's will to provide support for his mentally handicapped son William, was not an available resource for purposes of determining MA eligibility.*fn4
A hearing on the application was held on April 25, 1988. The hearing officer determined that the trust established by Sallie's will was an available resource of Jay's and that Jay's available resources were in excess of DPW limitations.*fn5 This decision was affirmed by DPW's Office of Hearings and Appeals and, on reconsideration, by the Secretary of DPW.
On appeal to this court, Appellant contends that DPW erred in determining that the trust at issue in this case was an available resource of Jay's such as would disqualify ...