TITLE 31

Welfare

Welfare Agencies

CHAPTER 23. AID TO PERSONS WHO ARE BLIND


As used in this chapter:

(1) "Applicant" means a person who has applied for assistance under this chapter.

(2) "Assistance" means money payments to persons who are blind in need.

(3) "Commission" or "Delaware Commission for the Blind" or "Department" means the Department of Health and Social Services.

(4) "Ophthalmologist" means a physician licensed to practice medicine in this State and who is actively engaged in the treatment of diseases of the human eye.

(5) "Person who is blind" means one who is totally blind or has visual acuity of not more than 20/200 in the better eye with correction or whose vision is limited in field so that the widest diameter subtends an angle no greater than 20 degrees.

(6) "Publicly soliciting" means the wearing, carrying or exhibiting of signs denoting blindness or the carrying of receptacles for the reception of alms or the doing of the same by proxy or by begging from house to house.

(7) "Recipient" means a person who has received assistance under the terms of this chapter.

(8) "Supplementary services" means services other than money payments to persons who are blind in need.

45 Del. Laws, c. 83, §§ 1-3; 31 Del. C. 1953, § 2301; 50 Del. Laws, c. 144, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 179, §§ 348, 349.;

The Commission shall:

(1) Administer assistance to the persons in need who are blind under the regulations of this chapter;

(2) Make such rules and regulations and take such action as may be necessary or desirable for carrying out the provisions of this chapter;

(3) Designate the procedure to be followed in securing a competent medical examination for the purpose of determining blindness in the individual applicant for assistance;

(4) Establish standards for personnel employed by the Commission in the administration of this chapter and make necessary rules and regulations to maintain such standards;

(5) Prescribe the form of and print such forms as it may deem necessary and advisable;

(6) Cooperate with the federal government in matters of mutual concern pertaining to assistance to the persons in need who are blind, including the adoption of such methods of administration as are found by the federal government to be necessary for the efficient operation of the plan for such assistance;

(7) Publish an annual report and such interim reports as may be necessary, said reports to be submitted to the Governor, General Assembly and the Federal Security Administrator or the Administrator's successor;

(8) Designate ophthalmologists or physicians skilled in the diseases of the eye, duly licensed to practice medicine in Delaware and actively engaged in the treatment of diseases of the eye, to examine applicants and recipients of assistance to persons who are blind;

(9) Promulgate rules and regulations stating, in terms of ophthalmic measurements, the amount of visual acuity which an applicant may have and still be eligible for assistance under this chapter; and

(10) Initiate or cooperate with other agencies in developing measures for the prevention of blindness, the restoration of eyesight and the vocational adjustment of persons who are blind.

45 Del. Laws, c. 83, § 5; 46 Del. Laws, c. 288, § 2; 31 Del. C. 1953, § 2302; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 179, §§ 350-352.;

Assistance shall be granted under this chapter to any person who is blind who:

(1) Is 18 years of age or older;

(2) Has not sufficient income or other resources to provide a reasonable subsistence compatible with decency and health;

(3) Is not an inmate of any public institution at the time of receiving assistance. An inmate of such an institution may, however, make application for such assistance but the assistance, if granted, shall not begin until after the inmate ceases to be an inmate;

(4) Has not made an assignment or transfer of property for the purpose of rendering the person eligible for assistance under this chapter at any time within 2 years immediately prior to the filing of application for assistance pursuant to this chapter; and

(5) Is not publicly soliciting alms in any part of this State.

45 Del. Laws, c. 83, § 3; 47 Del. Laws, c. 50; 31 Del. C. 1953, § 2303; 49 Del. Laws, c. 76, § 1; 54 Del. Laws, c. 20; 55 Del. Laws, c. 299, § 3; 57 Del. Laws, c. 163; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 179, §§ 353, 354.;

Application for assistance under this chapter shall be made to the Commission. The application shall be in writing or reduced to writing in the manner and upon the form prescribed by the Commission. Such application shall contain a statement of the amount of property, both personal and real, in which the applicant has an interest and of all income which the applicant may have at the time of the filing of the application and such other information as may be required by the Commission.

45 Del. Laws, c. 83, § 6; 31 Del. C. 1953, § 2304; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

Whenever the Commission receives an application for assistance under this chapter, an investigation and record shall promptly be made of the circumstances of the applicant in order to ascertain the facts supporting the application and in order to obtain such other information as may be required by the rules of the Commission.

45 Del. Laws, c. 83, § 7; 31 Del. C. 1953, § 2305.;

No application shall be approved until the applicant has been examined by an ophthalmologist, a physician skilled in diseases of the eye or an optometrist designated or approved by the Commission to make such examinations. The examining ophthalmologist, physician or optometrist shall certify in writing upon forms provided by the Commission the findings of the examination.

45 Del. Laws, c. 83, § 8; 46 Del. Laws, c. 288, § 3; 48 Del. Laws, c. 68, § 1; 31 Del. C. 1953, § 2306.;

Upon the completion of such investigation the Commission shall decide whether the applicant is eligible for assistance under this chapter and shall determine in accordance with its rules and regulations the amount of such assistance and the date on which such assistance shall begin. The Commission shall notify the applicant of its decision. Such assistance shall be paid monthly to the applicant upon order of the Commission from funds allocated to the Commission for this purpose.

45 Del. Laws, c. 83, § 9; 31 Del. C. 1953, § 2307.;

The amount of assistance which any person shall receive shall be determined by the Commission with due regard to the resources and necessary expenditures of the individual and the conditions existing in each case and in accordance with the rules and regulations made by the Commission and shall be sufficient, when added to all other income and support of the recipient, to provide such person with a reasonable subsistence compatible with decency and health. In determining the need of a person who is blind Commission shall, in order to provide an incentive to rehabilitation and self-support, disregard the earnings of a person who is blind to the extent of $150 per month and 50% of the earnings over and above $150 per month, provided, however, that such earnings shall not be so disregarded if the effect thereof would be contrary to the requirements of the Federal Social Security Act [42 U.S.C. § 301 et seq.] as amended. In no case, however, shall any person who is blind receive assistance from the Commission in excess of a maximum set by the Commission based on the amount of funds available for assistance for any given period.

45 Del. Laws, c. 83, § 4; 46 Del. Laws, c. 288, § 1; 47 Del. Laws, c. 109; 48 Del. Laws, c. 68, § 2; 31 Del. C. 1953, § 2308; 49 Del. Laws, c. 76, § 2; 51 Del. Laws, c. 60; 53 Del. Laws, c. 80; 54 Del. Laws, c. 393; 78 Del. Laws, c. 179, § 355.;

Assistance granted under this chapter shall not be transferable 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.

45 Del. Laws, c. 83, § 10; 31 Del. C. 1953, § 2309.;

Any applicant or recipient of assistance who is blind who is dissatisfied with the action of the Commission regarding that the claim for assistance under this chapter by the applicant or assistance recipient who is blind may appeal to the Chairperson of the Commission and upon such appeal shall be granted an opportunity for a fair hearing before the Commission. Any such petitioner shall be given written notice of the time and place of such hearing, as may be prescribed by the rules and regulations of the Commission, and may appear in person or by counsel.

45 Del. Laws, c. 83, § 11; 31 Del. C. 1953, § 2310; 49 Del. Laws, c. 220, § 31; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 179, §§ 356, 357.;

All assistance grants made under this chapter shall be reconsidered by the Commission as frequently as may be required by its rules. After such further investigation, the amount of assistance may be changed or assistance may be entirely withdrawn if the Commission finds that the recipient's circumstances have altered sufficiently to warrant such action.

45 Del. Laws, c. 83, § 12; 31 Del. C. 1953, § 2311.;

A recipient shall submit to a reexamination as to the recipient's eyesight when required to do so by the Commission and shall also furnish any information required by its rules and regulations.

45 Del. Laws, c. 83, § 13; 31 Del. C. 1953, § 2312; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

Supplementary services may be provided by the Commission to any applicant or recipient who is in need of treatment either to prevent blindness or to restore the applicant's or recipient's eyesight whether or not the applicant or recipient is blind if the applicant or recipient is otherwise qualified for assistance under this chapter. The supplementary services may include necessary traveling and other expenses to receive treatment from a hospital, clinic, ophthalmologist or physician skilled in diseases of the eye, designated by the Commission. In cases of total blindness even where the maximum amount of assistance of $60 per month is allowed, the Commission may provide additional sums for medical and nursing care where the income of the recipient from all sources, together with such help as that recipient's family is able to render, is insufficient to provide reasonable subsistence and medical and nursing care compatible with decency and health.

45 Del. Laws, c. 83, §§ 14, 15; 46 Del. Laws, c. 288, § 4; 31 Del. C. 1953, § 2313; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

No person who is blind shall be deemed a pauper by reason of receiving relief under this chapter.

45 Del. Laws, c. 83, § 15; 31 Del. C. 1953, § 2314; 78 Del. Laws, c. 179, § 358.;

If at any time during the period of assistance the recipient thereof becomes possessed of any property or income in excess of the amount stated in the application provided for in § 2304 of this title, the recipient shall immediately notify the Commission of the receipt or possession of such property or income and the Commission may, after investigation, either cancel the assistance or alter the amount thereof in accordance with the circumstances. Any assistance paid after the recipient has come into possession of such property or income and in excess of the recipient's need shall be recoverable by the Commission as a debt due it. Such action for the recovery of assistance shall not be abated by the death of the recipient.

45 Del. Laws, c. 83, § 16; 31 Del. C. 1953, § 2315; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

The State Treasurer shall receive all money paid to the State by the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States on account of assistance provided under this chapter and make payments from such moneys and moneys appropriated under this chapter in accordance with this chapter and the United States Social Security Act [42 U.S.C. § 301 et seq.].

45 Del. Laws, c. 83, § 18; 31 Del. C. 1953, § 2316; 49 Del. Laws, c. 220, § 32.;

Whoever knowingly obtains, or attempts to obtain, or aids or abets any person to obtain by means of a wilfully false statement or representation or by impersonation, or other fraudulent device, assistance to which the person is not entitled or assistance greater than that to which the person is justly entitled, or whoever aids or abets in buying or in any way disposing of the property, either personal or real, of a recipient of assistance without the consent of the Commission shall be fined not more than $500, or imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both. In assessing the penalty the court shall take into consideration, among other factors, the amount of money fraudulently received.

45 Del. Laws, c. 83, § 19; 31 Del. C. 1953, § 2317; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

All assistance granted under this chapter shall be deemed to be granted and to be held subject to the provisions of any amending or repealing act that may hereafter be passed and no recipient shall have any claim for compensation or consideration because of the recipient's assistance being affected in any way by any amending or repealing act.

45 Del. Laws, c. 83, § 20; 31 Del. C. 1953, § 2318; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;