STATE OLD AGE WELFARE COMMISSION
AN ACT to create the State Old Age Welfare Commission; to define the powers and duties of said Commission; to provide for the assistance of old age persons through the agency of said Commission, under certain limitations and restrictions; to make appropriations of public funds for carrying out the purposes of this Act; and to prescribe penalties for the violation of its provisions.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met:
Section 1. There is hereby created the State Old Age Members of Welfare Commission, consisting of four members, one from the City of Wilmington, one from Rural New Castle County, one from Kent County and one from Sussex County.
Section 2. The first members of said Commission shall be appointed by the Governor, within thirty days after the approval of this Act; one for one year, one for two years, one for three years, and one for four years. Vacancies occurring in said Commission, from any cause, shall be filled by the Chief Justice. Appointments by the Chief Justice shall be only for the unexpired term of a member of the Commission holding office under an original appointment ; but in every case where a vacancy shall occur, by reason of the expiration of the full term of a member of the Commission, the appointment by the Chief Justice shall be for the full term of four years ; provided, that if a majority of the Commission Removal of shall request the removal of a member of the Commission, member the Chief Justice may, upon a full presentation of the facts, remove such member from the Commission and fill the vacancy thus created.
Section 3. The members of said Commission shall be Oath duly sworn or affirmed, according to law, to faithfully perform the duties of their office. They shall serve without salary, but shall be entitled to receive a fee of Five Dollars expenses ($5.00) for attending each meeting of the Commission, and, in addition, a reasonable allowance for actual expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.
Section 4. It shall be the duty of the said Commission, age persons and it is hereby authorized and empowered, to grant assistance to old age persons, under the limitations and restrictions and in the manner hereinafter provided; and for this purpose, and generally for the exercise of its power and the performance of its duties, the said Commission shall adopt such rules and regulations as may be deemed advisable or necessary.
Section 5. The said Commission shall have power to appoint subordinate officers, who shall hold office during the pleasure of the Commission. The Commission shall define the duties of such subordinate officers and fix their salaries, which salaries shall not exceed in any one case Thirty-six Hundred Dollars ($3600.00) annually.
Section 6. An old age person, within the meaning and for the purposes of this Act, and under its limitations and restrictions, is hereby defined to be a person, man or woman, sixty-five years of age or over, who has been a resident of the United States for fifteen years and who has resided in the State of Delaware for not less than five years, (temporary absence from the State not being considered); who has no child or any other person capable and responsible for the support of such old age person, without undue sacrifice on the part of such child or other person, or his or her wife or husband, or his or her children ; who has not deprived himself or herself, directly or indirectly, of any property or income, for the purpose of obtaining assistance from the State, and who by assistance from the State can enjoy the essentials of life, of which he or she would be otherwise deprived.
Section 7. The amount of assistance allowed in each case of an old age person shall be limited by the circumstances of such case as ascertained, after full and complete investigation, by the said Commission. The amount of assistance allowed in each case shall be determined by the Commission with due regard to the circumstances, but in no case shall it be an amount which, when added to the income of the old age person, including income from property or other sources, as ascertained by the Commission will be equal to or exceed Three Hundred Dollars ($300.00) annually. In no ease shall the amount of assistance allowed exceed Twenty-five Dollars ($25.00) monthly.
Section 8. An old age person desiring assistance from the State shall make application in writing, under oath or affirmation, to the Commission in such form as the Commission may prescribe, setting forth that the statements in such application are just and true; and upon receiving such application the Commission shall cause an investigation to be Investigation made to verify the statements contained in said application and to ascertain all the circumstances surrounding the applicant. In each case the Commission s-hall include in its investigation careful inquiry as to every possible source of income of the applicant. In ascertaining the applicant's income and determining the amount of assistance to be allowed, the applicant's income for the last year preceding the application shall be deemed the annual income, and the property owned at the end of that year as the accumulated property of the applicant; provided that, if the applicant should show to the satisfaction of the Commission a decrease of income the amount of such decrease shall be deducted from the income of the preceding year in determining the amount of assistance to be allowed. For the purpose of such investigation the Commission shall have power to compel, by subpoena issued under its authority, the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of books and papers. All witnesses shall be examined under oath or affirmation, which may be administered by any member of the Commission.
Section 9. Upon the determination by the Commission allowance that the application of an old age person should be granted, it shall cause a certificate to be issued to such person, in form prescribed by the Commission, stating the amount of assistance allowed, to be paid monthly, which said certificate shall be good for one year from the date thereof, unless sooner revoked for cause, and shall be renewable by the Commission annually upon ascertaining that the old age person Report to is entitled to such renewal. The Commission shall report State Treasurer to the State Treasurer the granting of the application and the issuance of the certificate, and the renewals thereof, and the State Treasurer shall pay to the person named therein the amount set forth in said certificate. If, however, the old age person to whom assistance has been allowed shall be found When money incapable of taking care of his or her money, or himself, on the testimony of at least three credible witnesses, not members of his or her immediate family, the Commission may direct the payment of the amount set forth in said certificate to be made to a person of good reputation who will expend the same for the benefit of such old age person.
Section 10. Upon the death of an old age person, to whom a certificate allowing assistance has been issued, further allowance for reasonable funeral expenses, not exceeding One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) may be made by the Commission, if warranted by the circumstances of the case, and the amount so allowed shall be paid by the State Treasurer, together with such unpaid installments as may be due under said certificate, to the legal representative of the deceased.
Section 11. During the continuance in full of a certificate allowing assistance to an old age person, such person shall not receive any other assistance from the State, or from any political subdivision thereof, except for medical or surgical treatment, and then only in an extreme emergency.
Section 12. If at any time during the continuance of a certificate allowing assistance to an old age person, the said old age person, or the husband or wife of such person, shall become possessed of any property, or income, in excess of the amount of which he or she was possessed at the time of making application for assistance, the Commission may either cancel the certificate or vary the amount thereof during the period of such certificate; and it shall be the duty of such old age person immediately to notify the Commission of the receipt and possession of any such property or income.
Section 13. If at any time the Commission shall have reason to believe that the certificate issued to an old age person has been improperly obtained, it shall cause special inquiry to be made, and, if necessary, may suspend payments under said certificate; and if it should appear that the certificate was improperly obtained, the same shall be cancelled.
Section 14. In case of forfeiture of a certificate allowing assistance to an old age person, the person whose certificate is so forfeited shall be disqualified from making application for another allowance until the expiration of one year from the date of the forfeiture.
Section 15. When an old age person to whom assistance has been allowed under this Act, shall become an inmate of any charitable or benevolent institution, the amount of assistance shall cease and determine and the certificate issued to such person shall be cancelled.
Section 16. No assistance shall be allowed to an old age person who is an inmate of any prison, jail, workhouse, infirmary, insane asylum, almshouse, or any public reform or correctional institution, or who, during a period of one year prior to making application for assistance, shall have been a professional tramp or beggar.
Section 17. If any old age person, to whom assistance has been allowed under this Act, shall be convicted of any crime, misdemeanor, or felony, or other offense, punishable by imprisonment for one month or any longer period, the Commission shall direct that payments be not made during such period.
Section 18. Every allowance to an old age person of assistance under the provisions of this Act shall be deemed to have been allowed under and shall be held subject to the provisions of any amending or repealing Act that may hereafter be passed, and no old age person receiving assistance under this Act 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.
Section 19. All certificates allowing assistance to old age persons shall be absolutely inalienable by any assignment, sale, charge, execution or otherwise, and in case of bankruptcy the assistance allowed shall not be payable to any attorney, assignee, receiver, or trustee acting on behalf of the creditors of such old age person.
Section 20. The property of old age persons to whom assistance has been allowed shall be wholly exempted from taxation and assessment for public purposes by the State, or any political subdivision thereof, whether county, hundred, city or town, but such exemption shall be terminated upon the discontinuance of the assistance allowed such old age person.
Section 21. Any person who by wilful false statements, or misrepresentation, or other fraudulent devise, obtains or attempts to obtain, or aids or abets any other person to obtain a certificate allowing assistance to an old age person, to which he or she shall not be legally entitled, or a larger amount than he or she shall be legally entitled to receive, or the payment of a forfeited or forbidden installment under a certificate, or aids or abets in the buying or in any way dis- posing of the property of an old age person without the knowledge or consent of the Commission shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be sentenced to pay a fine not exceeding Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) or to undergo imprisonment not exceeding three years, or both in the discretion of the Court.
Section 22. All expenses incurred by the Commission and all salaries fixed by the Commission shall be paid from the appropriation named in Section 24 of this Act as appropriated, by the State Treasurer, upon vouchers duly verified and presented by the Commission.
Section 23. The Commission shall report annually to the Governor, within ninety days after the close of each calendar year, all expenditures made by it, or under its authority, and such other information regarding its procedure as will fully and clearly set forth all the particulars of such procedure, including the number of old age persons to whom certificates allowing assistance have been granted, classified as to men and women according to their color, the number of certificates cancelled and the number of applications denied.
Section 24. The sum of Two Hundred Thousand Dollars Appropriation ($200,000.00) annually is hereby appropriated for the period of two years beginning July 1, 1931, out of the General Funds in the State Treasury for the purposes of this Act.
Approved January 28, 1931.