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1 N.J.A.R. 33

Y., P. v. Ocean County Board of Social Services
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Citation: 1 N.J.A.R. 33
Decision Date: 1980
Synopsis: Petitioner, a welfare recipient, rented one of two apartments in a two- family house. On two occasions in February, petitioner ordered and received oil deliveries which were paid for by the local county welfare board, pursuant to the Energy Emergency Standards established by the State Division of Public Welfare. In March, petitioner's request for another oil delivery was refused by the oil company because of a poor credit rating; a delivery was made when ordered by petitioner's landlord at the request of the petitioner. The local county welfare board refused to pay for this delivery, contending that no fuel emergency existed since there was fuel present in the tank and that the obligation to pay belonged to the landlord who had placed the order. The administrative law judge found that a requirement that the fuel tank actually be empty was unjustified, since such a requirement would circumvent the intent of the program. The judge found petitioner's expectation that the county would pay for the delivery of fuel to be justified in light of the two previous payments by the county. In addition, the judge found that even though the landlord placed the fuel order, it did not remove petitioner's (and thus the local board's) obligation for payment, since it was the petitioner who benefitted from the order. The judge directed that all the parties cooperate to determine what, if any, portion of the fuel went to heat the building's second apartment. Accordingly, the local county welfxe board was ordered to pay for that portion of the March oil delivery which benefited the petitioner.