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Hausman v. Department of Institutions and Agencies

Decided: May 24, 1973.

JO ANN HAUSMAN, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
DEPARTMENT OF INSTITUTIONS AND AGENCIES, DIVISION OF PUBLIC WELFARE, IRVING ENGELMAN, DIRECTOR, DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS



Carton, Mintz and Seidman. Mintz, J.A.D.

Mintz

Plaintiff appeals from the decision of the Director, Division of Public Welfare, Department of Institutions and Agencies of the State (Division), dated August 21, 1972, which determined that her welfare grant was correctly calculated in accordance with the Division's regulations.

Appellant and her daughter receive assistance from the Mercer County Welfare Board under the "Aid to Dependent Children" program (ADC), 42 U.S.C.A. ยง 601 et seq. , and the New Jersey statutes relating to ADC, N.J.S.A. 44:10-1 et seq.

Appellant requested a fair hearing before the Division, but agreed to accept a written statement of the Division's position in lieu of a hearing determination. The Director of the Division in his letter statement indicated that the Manual

provides public assistance for each eligible unit, and that the allowance is determined according to the size of the household and the number of persons in the eligible unit. He further stated that eligible unit refers to the person or persons who apply and are eligible to receive public assistance. The Manual defines household as the persons living together as a family unit without regard to relationship by blood or marriage. The Director further stated:

The foregoing provisions of official regulations apply without regard to the financial circumstances of the non-eligible person or persons who are members of the household and without regard to whether they do or do not contribute income to the support of the eligible unit.

If we are correct in our understanding that there is no contention about the facts, as we have stated them above, then I advise you that a correct Decision, pursuant to any Fair Hearing proceeding before this Department, would necessarily affirm the action by the Welfare Board in determining grant entitlement in accordance with the foregoing regulations.

Prior to June 1, 1971 appellant and her daughter received a $225 monthly grant, calculated according to the Categorical Assistance Budget Manual. This grant was computed on the basis of two eligible persons living in a household consisting of two people. The monthly grant was reduced to $178, effective June 1, 1971, as a result of the fact that a second adult had moved into the premises, thereby increasing the size of the household from two to three. The State regulations provided that a household consisting of three people, two people being eligible for assistance, was only entitled to $178. The theory behind the difference is that as a household becomes larger, there are certain economies of scale that come into play. In other words, the per capita cost of maintaining a person in a household where three people live is less than the per capita cost where two people share a household. In computing the need of two eligible people in a household consisting of three people, the Division's regulations dictate that the cost of maintaining a household of three be multiplied by

two-thirds. The resulting "need" calculation is therefore a lesser amount than would result if need was computed on the basis of the two eligible people sharing the household without the presence of the third.

On July 1, 1971 the Division replaced the Categorical Assistance Budget Manual with the Financial Assistance Manual (Manual). The same principle concerning economies of scale apply in the new manual, but because need computations were figured somewhat differently appellant's monthly grant was computed as $188 instead of $178.

Appellant and her daughter have no income. She asserts that the second adult in the household, her paramour, contributes nothing to the maintenance of the household. ...


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