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Olds v. Klein

Decided: February 7, 1979.

GREGORY OLDS, CHARLOTTE FINCE, AND CHRISTINE FINCE, AN INFANT BY HER GUARDIANS AD LITEM, GREGORY OLDS AND CHARLOTTE FINCE, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,
v.
ANN KLEIN, COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES AND COUNTY OF HUDSON, DIVISION OF WELFARE, DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS



On appeal from the final determination of the Department of Human Services, Division of Public Welfare.

Lynch, Crane and Horn. The opinion of the court was delivered by Lynch, P.J.A.D.

Lynch

This is an appeal from a final decision by the Department of Human Services, Division of Public Welfare, upholding denial to appellant Gregory Olds of benefits under the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program.

Olds is the father of Christine Fince whose mother is Charlotte Fince. In 1977 Mrs. Fince lived with her daughter Christine and another daughter, Charlotte. Charlotte's father was one other than Olds. At that time the Fince family was being supported by an AFDC grant of $310 a month under what was called an AFDC-C program (absence of a parent from the home).

In September 1977 Olds, father of Christine, moved in with Mrs. Fince. He was a full-time junior at New Jersey Institute of Technology, majoring in chemical engineering, and would be graduating in three semesters. He had been employed in the summers as a laboratory technician at several companies,

including Bell Labs and Maxwell House, among others. It appears he never had fulltime, year-round employment. His tuition was paid by federal and state grant programs, 20 U.S.C.A. § 1070(a), N.J.S.A. 18A:71-28 et seq., N.J.S.A. 18A:71-41 et seq. , and he was also participating in the work study program at school under 42 U.S.C.A. §§ 2751 et seq.

Effective October 1, 1977 Charlotte Fince was given notice that the public assistance benefits she and her two children were receiving through AFDC were to be reduced from $310 to $235 a month due to the presence of Mr. Olds, father of Christine, in the home.

After the notice that benefits to Ms. Fince under the AFDC-C program were to be reduced, Olds applied for benefits for himself and Christine under the AFDC-N program (insufficient income). This program requires an applicant to register for work with the New Jersey State Unemployment Service (NJSES). Before registering, Olds informed the NJSES that as a full-time student he would be unavailable for employment. He was therefore not allowed to register.

A fair hearing occurred in October 1977, where appellants challenged both the reduction in benefits prior to the outcome of the hearing and the exclusion of Olds and Charlotte from the AFDC-N program. On November 1, 1977 the benefits were reduced. The first notice of appeal was filed on the basis that the reduction in benefits, prior to the outcome of the hearing, denied plaintiffs due process.

Arrangements were made to allow Olds to register with NJSES. However, he informed the county department of welfare that he would not be able to accept full-time employment. Subsequently, the decision of the hearing examiner was rendered. It upheld the denial of AFDC-N benefits by the county. An appeal was filed.

A second fair hearing occurred in January 1978, since under new regulations the infant daughter, Christine, would be able to receive ...


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