CHAPTER 278

RELATING TO WELFARE

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 31, DELAWARE CODE, ENTITLED "WELFARE" BY ESTABLISHING A PUBLIC ASSISTANCE CODE FOR THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE AND REPEALING INCONSISTENT PROVISIONS.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware:

Section 1. Sections 105, 114, 116, 117, 118 and 119, Title 31, Delaware Code, are repealed.

Section 2. Subchapter 2, Chapter 3, Title 31, Delaware Code, is repealed.

Section 3. Chapter 5, Title 31, Delaware Code is repealed.

Section 4. Chapter 6, Title 31, Delaware Code, is repealed.

Section 5. A new Chapter 5, Title 31, Delaware Code, is enacted as follows :

CHAPTER 5

STATE PUBLIC ASSISTANCE CODE

§ 501. Legislative intent

It is declared to be the legislative intent that the purpose of this chapter is to promote the welfare and happiness of 'all the people of the State, by providing public assistance to all of its needy and distressed ; that assistance shall be administered promptly and humanely with due regard for the preservation of family life, and without discrimination on account of race, religion or political affiliation, and that assistance shall be administered in such a way and manner as to encourage self-respect, self-dependency, and the desire to be a good citizen and useful to society.

§ 502. Definitions

As used in this chapter--

"Applicant" means any person who applies for assistance or welfare services, or on whose behalf such application is made, under the terms of this chapter;

"Assistance" means money payments (except that in General Assistance non-money payments may be made) to or in behalf of eligible needy persons to enable them to provide for themselves a decent and healthful standard of living. Assistance shall be in the form of direct money payments to the recipient, and may in addition to direct money payment, include care, support, service, medical or surgical care, nursing, burial, or board and care in a private institution or boarding home or house, or in a public medical institution as a patient, and such other aid as conditions may make necessary.

"Board" means the Board of Welfare;

"Department" means the Department of Public Welfare; "Director" means the Director of Welfare;

"Recipient" means any person to whom or for whom assistance is paid under the provisions of this chapter.

§ 503. Eligibility for assistance; amount

(a) Assistance shall be granted under this chapter to any needy person who has not sufficient income or other resources to provide a reasonable subsistence compatible with decency and health, who has not conveyed or transferred his real or personal property of a value of $500 or more without fair consideration within two years preceding the date of application for assistance or subsequently while receiving assistance, and who is not an inmate of any public institution (except as a patient in a medical institution).

(b) Assistance shall not be granted to any person (1) who is a patient in an institution for tuberculosis or mental

disease, or (2) who has been diagnosed as having tuberculosis or psychosis and is a patient in a medical institution as a result thereof.

(c) The amount of assistance allowed in each cose of old age assistance, as defined below, shall be limited by the circumstances of such case as ascertained, after full and complete investigation, by the Department. The amount of assistance allowed in each case shall be determined by the Department with due regard to the circumstances, but will not exceed $600 annually. In no case shall the amount of assistance allowed exceed $50 monthly.

(d) The amount of assistance or supplementary services granted for any child as aid to dependent children, as defined below, shall be determined by the Department with due regard to the resources and necessary expenditures of the family and the conditions existing in each case and in accordance with the rules and regulations made by the Department, and shall be sufficient, when added to all other income and support available to the child, to provide such child with a reasonable subsistence compatible with decency and health.

In no event, however, shall the total amount paid to the mother or guardian of or other persons standing in loco parentis to a dependent child, for any calendar month, exceed $75 for the first dependent and only child.

If there are the number of dependent children in the same home or in the same family, as specified below, the amount paid for any calendar month shall not exceed the amount specified below in each case.

2 dependent children

$ 87.

3 dependent children

99.

4 dependent children

111.

5 dependent children

121.

6 dependent children

131.

7 dependent children

141.

8 dependent children

150.

In no event shall the total amount paid for aid to dependent children in the same home or in the same family exceed $150 for any calendar month.

§ 504. Categories of assistance

Assistance shall be administered under the following cate-gories--

(1) Old Age Assistance ; assistance granted to needy persons who are 65 years of age or over, and who have resided in Delaware for a period of one year immediately preceding application.

(2) Aid to dependent children ; assistance granted with respect to needy dependent children. Aid to dependent children shall mean aid granted with respect to a child under the age of sixteen or under the age of eighteen if found by the Department to be regularly attending school, who has been deprived of parental support or care by reason of the death, continued absence from the home, or physical or mental incapacity of a parent, and who is living with his father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, brother, sister, stepfather, stepmother, stepbrother, stepsister, uncle or aunt, in a place of residence maintained by one or more of such relatives as his or their own home, or any other person in loco parentis, designated by the Department and the child or parents, guardian or guardians. A child shall be eligible for aid who has resided in the State for one year immediately preceding the application, or who was born within one year immediately preceding the application, if the parent or other relative with whom the child is living has resided in the State for one year immediately preceding the birth ; or if the parent or parents, relative, guardian, or person in "loco parentis" with whom the child is living, has been a resident of the State for one year immediately preceding the application.

(3) Aid to the disabled ; assistance granted to needy persons who are permanently and totally disabled, as defined by the Department, who have attained the age of eighteen, and who have resided in Delaware for a period of one year immediately preceding application.

(4) General assistance; assistance granted to all other needy persons who have resided in Delaware for a period of one year immediately preceding application.

§ 505. Duplication of assistance

No person shall receive assistance for the same period under more than one of the categories of assistance listed in paragraphs 1 through 4 of section 504, including assistance to the needy blind.

§ 506. Temporary assistance to non-residents

Any person in need of public assistance while physically present in Delaware, but who lacks residence in this State as defined in this chapter, may be granted assistance subject to the immediate initiation, pursuant to rules and regulations of the Department, of all lawful steps to determine residence elsewhere. Assistance to any such person shall be terminated when any one of the following events first occurs :

(1) he moved to some other jurisdiction ;

(2) he receives public assistance of any kind from some other jurisdiction ;

(3) he ceases to be a needy person ; or

(4) he is found to have residence elsewhere.

§ 507. Application for assistance

Application for assistance shall be made to the appropriate county office of the Department. The application shall be in writing in the manner and form, and giving such information, as shall be required by the Department. An opportunity to file an application shall be given any person desiring to do so. The Department shall act on all applications and furnish aid to eligible persons with reasonable promptness.

§ 508. Continuing eligibility

All assistance grants made under this chapter shall be reconsidered as frequently as may be required by the rules of the Department to assure continued eligibility. After such further investigation, as the Department may deem necessary, the

amount and manner of giving assistance may be changed or the assistance payments shall be terminated if it is found that the recipient's circumstances have altered sufficiently to warrant such action. Assistance payments may at any time be cancelled or revoked, or suspended for a temporary period pending further determination, if the recipient's eligibility is not clearly established.

§ 509. Recipients to report acquisition of resources

If at any time during the period assistance payments are being made to any person, such person becomes possessed of any property, real or personal, or of any income in excess of the amount of such property and income last declared by him to the Department, he shall notify the Department promptly concerning the receipt and possession of such property or income and the Department shall, in accordance with rules established by it, reconsider the eligibility of such person to receive such assistance or the amount of assistance to which entitled, according to the circumstances. Any excess paid to any person by reason of his failure to report as required by this section shall be recoverable in a civil action against such person or against his estate.

§ 510. Responsibility of relatives

Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed to relieve any person from the liability of maintaining and supporting his parent or parents or child or spouse, as provided by the laws of this State.

§ 511. Administration

The Department shall administer this chapter, and in connection therewith, shall

(1) establish, with the approval of the Board, rules and regulations to carry out the provisions of this chapter, including rules, regulations and standards as to eligibility for assistance and as to its nature and extent ;

(2) cooperate with the Federal Department of Health, Education and Welfare or with any successor Department or agency thereof, in any reasonable manner not contrary to law,

as may be required to qualify for Federal aid with respect to functions and programs coming within the purview of this chapter, and make such reports to the Department of Health, Education and Welfare in such form and containing such information as that Department may from time to time require, and comply with such provisions as said agency may from time to time find necessary to assure the correctness and verification of such reports;

(3) make periodic surveys of cost of living factors in relation to the needs of recipients of assistance and welfare services, in order that the standards for such assistance and welfare services may be reasonably sufficient to provide recipients with a subsistence compatible with recognized scientific standards ;

(4) enter into agreements or understandings with appropriate public agencies in other States whereby any or all of the benefits of this chapter may be extended to Delaware residents living in other States, or to residents of other States living in Delaware, on a reciprocal basis. In this connection the Department may establish policies which waive or alter the residence requirements of section 504;

(5) promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary to assure that its information concerning applicants and recipients is used or disclosed solely for purposes directly connected with the administration of assistance ;

(6) cooperate with the Federal government in carrying out the purposes of any Federal acts concerning public welfare and in other matters of mutual concern pertaining to public welfare, including the adoption of such methods of administration as are necessary for the efficient operation of the plan for such public assistance and welfare services.

§ 512. Assistance not assignable

Assistance granted under this chapter shall not be transferrable or assignable, at law or in equity, and none of the money paid or payable under this chapter shall be subject to execution, levy, attachment, garnishment, or other legal process, or to the operation of any bankruptcy or insolvency law.

§ 513. Financial participation

(a) The amount of assistance paid to a recipient of Old Age Assistance, Aid to Dependent Children, Aid to the Disabled, and to a recipient of General Assistance who shall receive cash assistance in accordance with Department policies, shall be by check or warrant drawn by the State Treasurer.

(b) For the purpose of providing Aid to Dependent Children under this chapter each county shall appropriate for each fiscal year, an amount equal to the estimated needs in that county for.this category of assistance as determined by the Department of Public Welfare.

The Department shall furnish each county with an estimate of needs for each fiscal year not later than two months prior to the beginning of each fiscal year. The Department shall furnish each county supplementary estimates of need not later than 30 days prior to the beginning of each fiscal year quarter to enable each county to meet any changing conditions not foreseen in annual estimates.

The Receiver of Taxes and County Treasurer for each county shall pay to the State Treasurer, on or before the first day of each month, an amount equal to one-third of the estimated needs for the fiscal year quarter as set forth in the quarterly estimate submitted by the Department. Each quarterly estimate prepared for each county by the Department shall set forth actual expenditures for the preceding quarter and compensating adjustments shall be made in the estimated needs for the future quarter, either increasing or decreasing estimated needs for the future quarter, thus maintaining county fund requirements on a current basis.

Estimated county funds needs shall be based on equal sharing by State and individual county of the difference between the total Aid to Dependent Children assistance grants paid to eligible recipients residing in that county each month and the amount of Federal financial participation in such total grants paid each month.

Each county shall be furnished a listing by name, address, and amount paid, of each recipient eligible for Aid to Dependent Children each month, such lists to be used for the purposes of this chapter only and information from them to be disclosed solely for purposes directly connected with the administration of assistance.

(c) For the purpose of providing General Assistance under this chapter each county shall appropriate for each fiscal year an amount equal to the estimated needs in that county for this category of assistance as determined by the Department of Public Welfare.

The Department shall furnish each county with an estimate of needs for each fiscal year not later than two months prior to the beginning of each fiscal year. The Department shall furnish each county supplementary estimates of need not later than 30 days prior to the beginning of each fiscal year quarter to enable each county to meet any changing conditions not foreseen in the annual estimate.

The Receiver of Taxes and County Treasurer of each county shall pay to the State Treasurer on or before the first day of each month an amount equal to one-third of the estimated needs for the fiscal year quarter as set forth in the quarterly estimate submitted by the Department.

Each quarterly estimate prepared for each county by the Department shall set forth actual expenditures for the preceding quarter and compensating adjustments shall be made in the estimated needs for the future quarter, either increasing or decreasing estimated needs for the future quarter, thus maintaining county fund requirements on a current basis.

Estimated county funds shall be based on equal sharing by State and the individual county of General Assistance costs for assistance paid on behalf of eligible recipients residing in that county, and administration costs allocable to that county, such administration costs being pro-rated among the several counties on the basis of caseloads each month.

ante each month, as well as a detailed statement of administrative costs chargeable to the individual county, such lists to be used for the purposes of this chapter only and information from them to be disclosed solely for purposes directly connected with the administration of assistance.

§ 514. Appeals from administrative decisions; hearings; powers of Board

(a) If an application for aid or assistance is not acted upon by the Department or its agent within a reasonable time after the filing of the application, or is denied in whole or in part, or if any award of assistance is modified or cancelled, or if an applicant or recipient is in any manner aggrieved by reason of any action or inaction on the part of the Department, the applicant or recipient may appeal to the Board in the manner and form prescribed by the Board.

The Board shall, upon receipt of such an appeal, give the applicant or recipient reasonable notice and opportunity for a fair hearing.

(b) The Board shall hear and determine appeals provided for under subsection (a) of this section and appeals from any other administrative action and decision of the Director or other officers and employes of the Department, under rules of procedure which the Board shall adopt.

The Board and its members may compel the attendance of witnesses in conjunction with any such appeal and administer oaths to such witnesses.

§ 515. Effect of change of laws or allowances

Every allowance of assistance under the provisions of this part shall be deemed to have been allowed under and shall be held subject to the provisions of any amending or repealing act that may be passed, and no person receiving assistance under this part shall have any claim for compensation by reason of the allowance for assistance being affected in any way by any such amending or repealing act.

Taxes and assessments for public purposes by the State or any political subdivision thereof, whether county, hundred, city or town, shall be assessed and levied upon the property of aged persons to whom assistance has been allowed under this chapter in the same manner as such taxes and assessments are levied and assessed by law upon the properties of other owners. The time for payment of any taxes or assessments so levied and assessed shall be deferred until such time as the property of such aged person is transferred from the name of such aged person or until such aged person dies, in which event the face amount of the taxes and assessments so levied or assessed, without penalties or interest, shall be payable within 90 days from the date of such transfer or death. After the expiration of such 90-day period there shall be due, with respect to any such property, the same amount or amounts for taxes or assessments as would have been due after the expiration of 90 days from the date the taxes or assessments became due and payable had the property not been owned by an aged person, to whom assistance had been allowed under the chapter. In the event of the sale of any such property under any form of execution process (including sales in any form of insolvency proceeding), such taxes and assessments shall be due and payable as of the date of the offering of such property for sale under such execution process,

§ 516. Fraudulent acts; penalties

Whoever knowingly obtains, or attempts to obtain, or aid or abets any person to obtain by means of a wilfully false statement or representation or by impersonation, or other fraudulent device, or by failure to report material facts to the Department, assistance to which he is not entitled, shall be fined not more than $500 or imprisoned for not more than 6 months, or both, and may be required to make restitution,

Section 6. All Acts and parts of Acts inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed to the extent of such inconsistency.

Section 7. This Act shall become effective July 1, 1955. Approved June 13, 1955.