Tuesday, June 08, 2010

welfare - GA - disability - proof

Marshall v. DPW - June 7, 2010 - Cmwlth. Court - unreported memorandum opinion


Applicant did not provide proof of his alleged physical disability. An applicant seeking GA benefits based on a physical disability must provide documentation verifying a disability precluding gainful employment. 55 Pa. Code §141.61(c)(1)(iii)(A). This documentation must be on a form provided by DPW and completed by a physician or a psychologist. 55 Pa. Code §141.61(c)(1)(iii)(B); see 62 P.S. §432(3)(i)(C) (“The verification of the [applicant’s] physical … disability must be established by written documentation in a form prescribed by [DPW] and must be based on acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques, rather than a statement of symptoms by the applicant….”).

Here, Marshall’s physician completed and signed two Form PA 1663s, each of which indicated that Marshall was not disabled at the time of his application for benefits. In fact, the most recent form, dated January 13, 2009, indicated that Marshall was presently employable.

The applicant got a fair hearing. His inability to present witnesses on his behalf resulted from his own failure to subpoena them. An applicant for GA benefits has the right to appeal DPW’s determination and to receive a fair hearing. See 55 Pa. Code §275.1(a). During the hearing, the applicant shall have the opportunity “[t]o present evidence on his own behalf, to bring witnesses or documents he deems necessary, and to confront and cross-examine witnesses the county office, administering agency or social service provider will produce to support its decision or action.” 55 Pa. Code §275.3(a)(1). The applicant also has the right “[t]o request a subpoena from the hearing officer for the production of evidence or witnesses that [the applicant] feels will be essential in obtaining necessary facts.” 55 Pa. Code § 275.3(a)(2).

Here, Marshall failed to request subpoenas for any witnesses he wished to call on his behalf and failed to make arrangements for any such individuals to testify. (N.T., 2/17/09, at 9.) DPW is not obligated to secure witnesses or evidence for an applicant to present at the hearing. See Integrated Behavioral Health Services v. Department of Public Welfare, 871 A.2d 296, 300 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2005).