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06/24/97 CARRIE SWARTZ v. PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT

June 24, 1997

CARRIE SWARTZ, PETITIONER
v.
PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, RESPONDENT



Appealed From No. 670156311-001. State Agency Department of Public Welfare.

Before: Honorable Doris A. Smith, Judge, Honorable James R. Kelley, Judge, Honorable Silvestri Silvestri, Senior Judge. Opinion BY Judge Kelley.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kelley

OPINION BY JUDGE KELLEY

FILED: June 24, 1997

Carrie Swartz (Swartz) appeals from a final order on the merits entered by the Secretary of the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) on October 10, 1996. The final order on the merits affirmed the March 15, 1996 final administrative action order entered by the DPW, Office of Hearings and Appeals, denying Swartz's request for medical assistance (MA) benefits. We affirm.

Swartz's husband, Robert F. Swartz, was consecutively hospitalized at three separate hospitals from February 14, 1995 until he passed away on May 18, 1995. The bills for her husband's medical treatment exceeded $350,000. Hershey Medical Center (hospital) filed the initial application with the DPW on April 24, 1995 for MA benefits to cover his hospitalization. Based on this application, the York County Assistance Office (CAO) found Swartz to have excess resources worth $133,611. After Mr. Swartz's death, a second application was submitted by the hospital for retroactive MA. Both applications were rejected due to excess resources and no appeal was taken therefrom.

On June 23, 1995, Swartz submitted a new application requesting retroactive MA for her husband. CAO advised Swartz that her excess resources would have to be spent on medical bills and a deadline of July 21, 1995 was set for verification. On August 10, 1995, Swartz provided verification that $90,083 was spent, although $5,648 was spent on funeral and estate costs. By notice of August 18, 1995, the CAO advised Swartz that MA was denied because not all of the $90,083 was spent on medical expenses and excess resources of $43,528 ($133,611 - 90,083) far exceeded the prescribed limit of $3,200. Swartz filed a timely appeal and a fair hearing was held on November 15, 1995.

Before the Welfare Hearing Officer, Swartz testified that the following resources were not actually available to her:

Tax due to early withdrawal and

liquidation of tax deferred accounts $27,000

Difference between U.S. Savings Bonds

resource of $7,846 and its actual

value of $5,923 1,923

Over estimation of IRAs 2,385

Hanover Bank IRA penalty for early

ithdrawal ($2018.00 x 20%) 403

TOTAL resources not available $31,711

Swartz also identified a 1986 Thunderbird, 1979 International, a boat and a boat trailer as being unavailable. *fn1 These assets were up for sale, but had not been liquidated at the time of the verification.

The hearing officer, assuming arguendo that the entire $90,083 was spent on medical expenses, found that Swartz's remaining resources still exceeded the MA resource limit of $3,200 by $8,617 ($43,528 - 31,711 - 3,200). The hearing officer ...


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