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Bailey v. Engelman

Decided: May 4, 1970.

YVONNE BAILEY, CLAIMANT-APPELLANT,
v.
IRVING ENGELMAN, AS DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WELFARE, AND STELLA CASSI, AS DIRECTOR OF BERGEN COUNTY WELFARE, RESPONDENTS



For affirmance -- Chief Justice Weintraub and Justices Jacobs, Francis, Proctor, Hall, Schettino and Haneman. For reversal -- None. The opinion of the court was delivered by Weintraub, C.J.

Weintraub

[56 NJ Page 55] This matter involves the program for Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). Plaintiff, who had received such assistance for herself and her child, contends the State regulations violate the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Federal Constitution and the implied guarantee of equality which reposes in Art. I, para. 1, of our State Constitution, Washington National Ins. Co. v. Board of Review, 1 N.J. 545, 554 (1949). She contends also that the regulations violate the Federal and State statutes under which the assistance program was erected. The New Jersey Division of Public Welfare having decided the challenge against her,*fn1 plaintiff sought review in the Appellate Division, and we certified the matter before argument there.

The AFDC program is one of four categorical assistance programs established by the Social Security Act of 1935. 42 U.S.C. §§ 301-1394. Our State elected to participate in the AFDC program, N.J.S.A. 44:10-1 et seq., and adopted a plan which received the approval of the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, as required by the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 601-604. Such approval is prerequisite to eligibility for federal funds to help finance the programs. The history of the federal legislation is recounted in King v. Smith, 392 U.S. 309, 88 S. Ct. 2128, 20 L. Ed. 2d 1118 (1968).

Our State regulations, contained in the Categorical Assistance Budget Manual, fix income ceilings for determining eligibility for aid, which ceilings vary with the number of members of the family unit. Sec. 615. The assistance payable is limited to the difference between the applicable ceiling and the "total available adjusted income" of the family unit as determined under the regulations. Sec. 615.1a. Section 615.5 of the regulations read as follows at the time the immediate controversy arose:*fn2

ADC Family Budget Monthly Administrative

Unit Size Ceiling

2 $300

3 390

4 470

5 540

6 620

7 670

For Family Budget Units of 7 or more add $50 to the Monthly Administrative Ceiling for ...


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