Plum Boro Man To Lose Home To Pa. Dept. Of Welfare

PLUM BORO (KDKA) — There’s Ralph the dog and Gary – soon to be all that’s left of the Kastner home in Plum. It’s run down and beat up but it’s the only home Gary Kastner knows.

“They’re gonna come with the SWAT team and take me out,” he said. “It’s not that I would have guns or do anything. It’s just that they’d evict me.”

That has already started to happen. The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare sent Kastner a letter saying the, “premises must be vacated within 30 days, Nov. 7, 2011.”

“This property is scheduled to be sold,” Kastner read from the letter.

This has been the Kastner home for nearly 60 years. When mom was alive it was so clean, Gary says, you could eat off of the floors.

Not anymore. Marjory Kastner had a stroke five years ago and moved to a nursing home. After she went through her insurance, pension and savings, the state put her on medical assistance.

The family figured that meant her care was covered. But after she died last year came the shocker – the state wants reimbursed to the tune of $94,000.

“They put her on medical assistance and they got that debt and they want repaid so they’re gonna take my home and I have no place to go,” he said.

There may be a way out through an undue hardship waiver.

Kastner has to prove he was living here, prove he was taking care of his mother here before she was institutionalized and prove he’s too broke to pay the money his mother owed when she passed.

Kastner: “I make $11.55 an hour.”

Marty Griffin: “You can’t come close to $94,000?”

Kastner: “Absolutely not. I have nothing.”

Right now, Kastner is living what can best be described as a squatter’s life on the property.

The house is still in his mom’s name but her will indicated he could stay here as long as he wanted. He has no intention of leaving regardless of what the lady at the state Department of Welfare tells him.

“It seems like every door that I try to open to save the house is closed to me,” Kastner said. “It’s depressing. It really is depressing.”

More Local News
More Reports By Marty Griffin

More from Marty Griffin

One Comment

  1. critter says:

    wah wwaaahhhh

    1. Occupy says:

      Your day will come. All those without empathy will desire it.

    2. Hamuel says:

      Shame on you, and your ignorance

  2. johnny69 says:

    Let’s see. I go to save-a-lot and see young fit men and young women all of working age but don’t want to work with the access card living off the public dime, but let’s go after this guy who has a job. Kick about a thousand of those able bodied criminals off of welfare to get the money back and LEAVE THIS MAN ALONE!

    1. Thomas J Duttine says:


  3. disgusted says:

    Welfare should be ashamed of themselves. Stop funding the war on drugs, wars in other countries and space programs and care for our elderly so they can’t do this!!!

  4. LJ says:

    The welfare system is just plain messed up. I applied for help with food. One time, for one month, and it’s the only time I’ve ever gotten assistance, because I needed help. While I was applying the man asked me if I had a drug or alcohol problem. I said “no”. He told me that if I did, he could get me cash assistance too. So I asked him, “if I have a drug problem, you’ll give me cash, but if I don’t have a problem, I can only get food stamps.” He said YES. How messed up is this system?!?!?!

  5. burnt says:

    it’s the law of the common wealth keystone state, please somebody give me back the key. there is no FREE help for medical care

  6. Ann says:

    Just like the Gestappo. . .

  7. Vinny says:

    Maybe he could sell the boat and get a lawnmower

  8. swin says:

    I had a go-round with a lady from the medicaid office a number of years ago over my dad’s nursing home bills. She was the most insensitive and arrogant person you could ever imagine. You would think it was her money. I think she actually enjoyed the power she held over people. I had to file an appeal against her actions and the appeals judge not only ruled in my father’s favor but indirectly made it clear that the whole affair should never have happened.

    It was obvious that this lady made her living riding rough over the elderly and the vulnerable. In this case she didn’t count on one of her victims having a son who had 2 college degrees – one in physics that helped with the math arguments – and a determination to protect his father at all costs.

    I can’t help but wonder if Mr. Kastner is dealing with the same woman.

  9. AGKay says:

    Go to YouTube and type in “MY EBT” and see if your views on welfare are not changed. Some say these videos are tongue in cheek but I don’t believe it for a moment.

  10. workingfroraliving says:

    NOW if it was a illegal everyone would be fighting for them…sad

  11. Mark B. says:

    The welfare system is not doing what is was put together to do years ago. I recently lost my job through no fault of my own. My wife and I have both worked all of our lives. We went to the welfare office for the first time ever to try and get help just until I can get employment again. We were told NO, because we both have life insurance / Retirement plans. So in other words they want you to cash in your life insurance / retirement plans now, then what when and if you do die or retire they have to bury you and put the money out then ? The welfare system is a joke, they will not and do not the honest working person. Also we would qualify if we had a migrant farm worker living in our house. GIVE ME A BREAK.

  12. George says:

    Do any of you know about the Medicade Estate Recovery Program? Go online and read how the program works, you will see that Mr. Kastner is not a victim. Without this program, who would take care of people like Mr. Kastrners mother? I’m sure Mr. Kastner knew all about the Estate Recovery Program when his mother went on Medicade and knew from the beginning that her house would be sold upon her death. Please educate yourself about this program before you take Mr. Kastners side. I dealt with the Estate Recovery Program when my mother was in a nursing home. When she died I wasn’t shocked when I had to sell her house to repay Welfare,

Comments are closed.

More From CBS Pittsburgh

Play It
Get The All New CBS Local App

Watch & Listen LIVE