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43 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 451 (1968)
Public Assistance: The Right to Receive; The Obligation to Repay

handle is hein.journals/nylr43 and id is 483 raw text is: PUBLIC ASSISTANCE: THE RIGHT TO RECEIVE;
Since 1967, several federal district courts have extended into
the field of welfare law the judicial trend granting greater rights
to indigents. This has been accomplished by judicial rulings in-
validating certain conditions imposed upon welfare payments by
the various states. In this article, Professor Grahan analyzes the
public assistance payment in light of the statutory right granted
state welfare agencies to pursue monies paid out. In cxamining
the development of a rights concept in the welfare sector, the
author traces the evolution of relief payments from the church
assistance of medieval England, through the various Anglo-American
poor laws, to the modern federal and state legislative enactments.
He suggests that, with the advent of more substantial litigation
in the area, welfare recipients will be accorded greater rights and
will thereby be protected from the arbitrary and discriminatory
treatment so often received fron the state and local agencies which
administer today's public assistance programs.
N    light of judicial scrutiny of the policies and practices of
administrative agencies, public welfare is perhaps the last truly
virginal area of bureaucratic endeavor in this country. It is only
since the 1964 congressional declaration of war on poverty,' with
the contemporaneous shift in emphasis of civil rights objectives
and activity from integration to the elimination of economic dis-
crimination, that test case litigation, consisting for the most part
of cash assistance cases, has sought to establish basic libertarian
principles on behalf of welfare recipients. Recent federal court
decisions overturning state residence requirements2 have pointed
* Adjunct Assistant Professor, New York University School of Law; As-
sociate Director, New York University Project on Social Welfare La,,. This
article was originally prepared as one chapter of a treatise on the law of public
assistance, authorized and financed by the Office of Economic Opportunity. It
has been revised for publication herein, and the views expressed are not to be
attributed to the OEO or the Project on Social Welfare Law.
1 The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2701-2981 (1964),
provided federal financing for the War on Poverty. Section 2785(a) of the Act
was amended in 1965 to include, implicitly, legal services among the Community
Action programs, and focused upon the needs of low income individuals and
families. 42 U.S.C. § 2785(a) (1964), as amended, (Supp. I 1965).
2 E.g., Smith v. Reynolds, 277 F. Supp. 65 (E.D. Pa. 1967), prob. juris. noted,
390 U.S. 940 (1968) (No. 1138); Ramos v. Health & Soc. Services Bd., 276 F.
Supp. 474 (E.D. Wis. 1967); Thompson v. Shapiro, 270 F. Supp. 331 (D. Conn.
1967), prob. juris. noted, 389 US. 1032 (1968) (No. 813); Green v. Department of
Pub. Welfare, 270 F. Supp. 173 (D. Del. 1967).

Imaged with the Permission of N.Y.U. Law Review

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