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Mandley v. Trainor

decided: November 23, 1976.

VENUS MANDLEY ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,
v.
JAMES L. TRAINOR ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division No. 73 C 2453 - Thomas R. McMillen, Judge.

Cummings and Tone, Circuit Judges, and Campbell, Senior District Judge.*fn*

Author: Cummings

Cummings, Circuit Judge.

This appeal is a sequel to the proceedings discussed in our earlier opinion reported in 7 Cir., 523 F.2d 415 (1975) (Mandley I). There we held that the Illinois Emergency Assistance Program for needy families with children defined eligibility more narrowly than Section 406(e)(1) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. § 606(e)(1)) and therefore violated the Act. Our mandate was returned to the district court on October 24, 1975.*fn1 On November 26, the plaintiffs submitted a proposed final judgment and decree disposing of the controversy. A few days thereafter the state defendants filed a motion to dismiss the cause of action on the ground that on November 21, 1975, Illinois had withdrawn from participation in the Emergency Assistance Program established under Section 406(e). They did not inform the Court that they intended to carry on virtually the same program*fn2 under a different name but still with the usual 50 per cent federal funding as part of their regular Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program. The record shows that this new plan was to avoid our September 25 decision and was conceived as early as November 17, 1975, and formally presented to HEW on April 23, 1976, but effective January 1, 1976. However, on November 18, the state defendants misled the Court by asserting that only state funding would be employed.

HISTORY OF EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE AFTER Mandley I

In order to understand how the state defendants have vacillated between affected compliance with Mandley I and a final blatent disregard of the congressional eligibility requirements enforced thereby, it is necessary to trace the history of emergency assistance in Illinois after that decision became final.

At the November 17, 1975, meeting of the Illinois Legislative Advisory Committee on Public Aid, defendant Trainor submitted the recommendation dated October 30, 1975, of his Department to "Eliminate [42 U.S.C.] 606(e) Program and Create a Program for Meeting Emergent Burnout Cases to be Funded Under Section 602 and Section 603." After consideration of the Department's proposal, the Committee endorsed the Department's recommendations and requested that the Department report back to the Committee "at its April 1976 meeting with the results of this program and [its] recommendations to handle other special emergency needs which may not have been met."

In its October 30 position paper, the Department indicated that "[eliminat[ion__ [of] the 606(e) Emergency Assistance Program" was out of the question:

"The Department, although believing this [eliminating] alternative to be legally acceptable, finds this alternative totally unacceptable. The Department believes that certain Emergency conditions, such as homelessness through burn outs are needs which the Department of Public Aid clearly ought to meet and the Department would not wish to curtail its ability to do so."

"[Official] notification to the Department of Health, Education and Welfare that Illinois shall not request reimbursement pursuant to § 406(e) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. § 606(e)) for any expenses incurred after November 21, 1975, as the Department is terminating its program for 'Emergency Assistance to Needy Families with Children' existing pursuant to said § 406(e)" was given by the Department of Public Aid in a November 21, 1975, letter to HEW.

On April 23, 1976, the state defendants submitted a plan to HEW (Joint Appendix 21-132-21-140) that was consistent with this notification of November 21. The April 23 plan, discussed infra, is the one now in effect.

On April 26, 1976, before another meeting of the Legislative Advisory Committee on Public Aid, Trainor indicated that the Department would assent to a broader emergency assistance program to alleviate destitution:

"After July 1, 1976, the program would be on a six-month trial basis. It would broaden the emergency needs to include persons to whom destitution exists or to whom destitution is threatened, and remedy any cause of destitution" (Tr. at 40).

On May 3, 1976, in a report to the Court, defendants averred that the:

"Department will in all probability choose to apply for funding pursuant to § 406(e) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. § 606(e) et seq.), when it has completed designing such an emergency assistance program and will submit the necessary State plan amendments to the Department of Health, Education and Welfare."

In the same report, defendants stated they were not "presently claiming any funds under § 606(e)."

In a May 12 report to the Court, defendants submitted a proposed plan which laid out eligibility requirements at least colorably consistent with Section 406(e)(1). At a May 17, 1976, meeting of the Legislative Advisory Committee, Representative Mann indicated that the implementation date of the broadened plan would be advanced from July 1, 1976, to April 1, 1976.

On May 19, 1976, HEW filed its comments on the May 12 plan. Acknowledging that the new plan "differs radically from the old emergency assistance program," HEW noted:

"It is the Secretary's understanding that the plan description is merely a report to the Court concerning the present state of the Director's thinking concerning a new Illinois emergency assistance program. When and if, that thinking crystalizes and is embodied in a completed plan, that plan will be submitted to the Secretary for approval. Until that time, the Secretary can have no formal views on the acceptability of any plan that the Director may be considering." (Emphasis supplied.)

Because of the broadened eligibility requirements, the plaintiffs believed that the "objections to the earlier plan [they] intended to file on May 19, 1976 [might] be unnecessary either in whole or in part," although the plaintiffs reserved the right to file objections to the amended plan.

On June 14, the Legislative Advisory Committee approved a plan with the following eligibility requirements:

"Recipients of AFDC, AABD, GA (in units administered by the Department) and persons who could be found presumptively eligible for such programs, including any needy child under 21 and the specified relatives with whom he is living. An additional condition of eligibility is that ...


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