Tuesday, May 03, 2011

welfare - reimbursement - delayed wages

Kerr v. DPW - Cmwlth. Court - May 3, 2011

DPW paid a "diversion benefit" to a state employee to compensate him for delayed payment of wages during a state budget impasse. The employee signed a reimbursement agreement. Employee was later fully reimbursed for his work during the period.

The court held that the "diversion benefit" came under 55 Pa. Code §257.24(e)(3) dealing with reimbursement for assistance received for delayed wages. The regulations says:

Delayed wages. Reimbursement is required of assistance granted, pending the receipt of wages not paid on the
normal payday. Wages received when normally due are considered as income to be adjusted to the grant under
Chapter 183 (relating to income). The form for acknowledging reimbursement from delayed wages is Form PA 176-K

(Agreement and Authorization to Pay Claim) as set forth in subsection (f).

Section 257.24(e)(3) shows that to establish a valid reimbursement claim against Petitioner, the Commonwealth only needed to prove that: (1) Petitioner was granted public assistance; (2) the assistance was granted pending the receipt of delayed wages; and (3) Petitioner’s household signed the Claim form. The Department met its burden by showing that Petitioner received the $1,767 temporary assistance, that he received this assistance because his wages had been delayed due to the budget impasse, and that Petitioner’s fiancée signed the Claim form.

The court also rejected the claim that the Diversion Program was not part of TANF and thus not subject to TANF reimbursement rules.