Augelli v. Commonwealth, Department of Public Welfare

468 A.2d 524 (1983)

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Augelli v. Commonwealth, Department of Public Welfare

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court
468 A.2d 524 (1983)

Facts

Josephine Augelli (plaintiff) received cash assistance and food stamps for herself and her child. The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW) (defendant) received information that Josephine’s husband, Frank, lived with Josephine. DPW discontinued Josephine’s benefits, claiming that Josephine failed to verify her husband’s income as required for food-stamp eligibility. Josephine appealed. Josephine and two of her children testified at the hearing that Frank did not live with them and that Frank would not provide any address when asked where he resided. DPW presented (1) a letter from Frank asserting that he did not live with Josephine but not indicating any other residential address, (2) newspaper announcements of the couple’s daughter’s engagement and wedding, indicating that her parents lived at the address in question, and (3) a driving record listing Frank’s address as the address in question, among other items. DPW further contended that the evidence submitted by Josephine was not sufficient proof for eligibility purposes because the evidence did not establish any alternate address where Frank lived. Based on the evidence presented, the hearing examiner found that Frank did not live with Josephine. The local county-assistance office requested that the secretary of public welfare reconsider the hearing officer’s findings. The secretary granted the local office’s request and denied Josephine’s benefits, concluding that Josephine failed to meet her burden of proof because Josephine did not present documentary evidence establishing that Frank did not live in her home. Josephine appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Doyle, J.)

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