The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare this week began contacting 86 clients whose personal information was on a computer that was stolen from a welfare office, officials said.

Anne C. Bale, a spokeswoman for the Department of Public Welfare, said yesterday that the computer was stolen in a Nov. 13 burglary at the Philadelphia County Assistance Office Center District, 900 N. Marshall St.

There was no indication that any of the information on the computer had been used inappropriately, Bale said. But, she added, the department wanted to make sure that clients who might be affected by the theft were notified and to let them know the department is working to protect them.

The information on the computer includes the names and Social Security numbers of 14 clients, and the names and addresses of 72 clients, officials said.

Consumers with questions and those who think they have been affected by the theft are asked to call the Department of Public Welfare's toll-free help line at 1-800-692-7462 weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

They may also call the department's change center at 1-877-395-8930 statewide or in the Philadelphia area at 215-560-7226 from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.