Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Minnesota Department of Human Services,
Carver County Community Social Services,
Affirmed; motion to strike denied
File No. C0961738
Michael A. Fahey, Carver County Attorney, Shari L. Sterud, Assistant County Attorney, Carver County Government Center, 600 East Fourth Street, Chaska, MN 55318-2188 (for appellant)
Paul W. Onkka, Jr., Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, 16174 Main Avenue, Prior Lake, MN 55372 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Short, Presiding Judge, Kalitowski, Judge, and Peterson, Judge.
This case involves a question of welfare eligibility. After living together for eight years, Rebecca Reece was forced to sue her companion to recover her contribution to their home. When Carver County Community Social Services discovered Reece had received and failed to report the court-awarded $17,485 judgment, the county terminated Reece's AFDC benefits and sought recovery for alleged overpayments. Reece appealed, and the county reaffirmed its decision. In a motion for reconsideration, the chief appeals referee found the proceeds constituted "excludable income" under Minn. R. 9500.2380, subpt. 2(J) (1995). The county appealed, and the trial court affirmed. On appeal, the county argues Reece's court award was a lump sum payment and constitutes "earned income" for determination of AFDC eligibility. We affirm.
D E C I S I O N
In reviewing a decision by the Minnesota Department of Human Services, we may reverse the Commissioner's decision if it is unsupported by substantial evidence, is arbitrary and capricious, or is affected by other errors of law. See Minn. Stat. § 14.69 (1996) (listing grounds on which the court may reverse a commissioner's decision); Brunner v. State, Dep't of Pub. Welfare, 285 N.W.2d 74, 75 (Minn. 1979) (concluding the court applies the scope of review as set forth in Minn. Stat. § 15.0425 (1978), current version at Minn. Stat. § 14.69). However, decisions of administrative agencies enjoy a "presumption of correctness." St. Otto's Home v. State, Dep't of Human Servs., 437 N.W.2d 35, 39 (Minn. 1989) (quoting Reserve Mining Co. v. Herbst, 256 N.W.2d 808, 824 (Minn. 1977)).
Minn. R. 9500.2380, subpt. 2 (1995) lists several categories of cash payments that are excluded from AFDC eligibility determination. Item (J) excludes:
[F]unds received for reimbursement, replacement, or rebate of personal or real property when these payments are made from public agencies, awarded by a court, solicited through public appeal, or made as a grant by a federal agency.
Minn. R. 9500.2300, subpt. 2(J). The record demonstrates the amount at issue was received by Reece pursuant to a court judgment and represents her ownership interest in a house. Under these circumstances, the chief appeals referee's decision excluding Reece's proceeds is supported by substantial evidence and is not affected by an error of law.
The county argues Reece's failure to report the court award constituted grounds for terminating her benefits and the chief appeals referee exceeded the scope of review by considering matters beyond termination. However, Minn. R. 9500.2740, subpt. 10 (1995) provides:
[A]n applicant, recipient, or former recipient may introduce new or additional evidence relevant to the issues on appeal. Recommendations of an appeals referee * * * are based on evidence introduced at the hearing and are not limited to a review of the propriety of a local agency action.
After a careful review of the record, we cannot say the agency's interpretation of its rules was improper.
Reece moves to strike a document contained in the county's reply brief. Because that document was considered below, we deny the motion to strike. See Minn. R. Civ. App. P. 110.01 (1996) (identifying record on appeal as papers filed in trial court, exhibits, and transcript of proceedings).
Affirmed; motion to strike denied.