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Englewood Hospital Ass'n v. Knox

OPINION FILED JUNE 3, 1977.

ENGLEWOOD HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

OPHELIA KNOX, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT. — (ARIS PRODUCTS COMPANY, INC., DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.)



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JOSEPH GILL, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE MEJDA DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

• 1 Defendant, Ophelia Knox, appealed from an order of the circuit court denying her motion for a turnover to her of monies received by plaintiff, Englewood Hospital Association, from a garnishment proceeding against her employer, Aris Products Company, Inc. (Aris). Thereafter, oral arguments were heard in this court and an opinion was filed. However, defendant filed a timely petition for rehearing which was granted. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 110A, par. 367.) Subsequently, the Illinois Department of Public Aid (IDPA) appeared and filed a brief as amicus curiae, to which defendant has filed a responsive brief. The rehearing has come before a panel of justices other than the participants in the original opinion. No restrictions were imposed upon the granting of rehearing. Therefore, the appeal comes up for consideration as though no prior opinion had been filed, and this court may make such determination as may be deemed proper at this time. Colesar v. Star Coal Co. (1912), 255 Ill. 532, 99 N.E. 709; Bergman v. Board of Education (1961), 30 Ill. App.2d 65, 173 N.E.2d 565.

Defendant contends that as a welfare recipient the wages from her separate employment were not subject to garnishment. We disagree and therefore affirm the order of the trial court.

Defendant was a recipient of public assistance for a number of years for herself and her children from IDPA pursuant to article IV of the Illinois Public Aid Code. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 23, pars. 1-1 through 13-5.) She had also been simultaneously employed for two years when a garnishment proceeding in the form of an affidavit for a wage deduction order was instituted against Aris by plaintiff to collect a default judgment it had previously obtained against defendant.

In its answer to the garnishment interrogatories, Aris stated that when it received the wage deduction summons it owed defendant wages for the five-week period from April 28, 1975, to June 6, 1975, in the amount of $1110.24. After applying the statutory exemption of 85% (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 62, par. 73), a wage deduction order was entered against Aris for the balance of $166.54. The wages were deducted and a satisfaction of judgment was filed by plaintiff.

Defendant then filed a motion to vacate the judgment in the garnishment action, to dismiss that proceeding, and for the entry of an order requiring plaintiff to turn over to her the amount it received in the garnishment action. The motion was denied, and in this appeal therefrom defendant seeks reversal on the sole ground that her wages were exempt from garnishment.

OPINION

Preliminarily, we note that plaintiff-appellee has failed to appear or file a brief here. However, this case presents a question of first impression which we believe requires consideration on its merits. See First Capitol Mortgage Corp. v. Talandis Construction Corp. (1976), 63 Ill.2d 128, 345 N.E.2d 493; Daley v. Jack's Tivoli Liquor Lounge, Inc. (1969), 118 Ill. App.2d 264, 254 N.E.2d 814.

Defendant was receiving her assistance under the Aid to Families with Dependent Children Program (AFDC) established under Title IV of the Social Security Act of 1935, as amended. (42 U.S.C. §§ 601-660 (1970 & Supp. V 1975).) The Federal act and regulations provide that, in determining need, the State must take into consideration other income and resources available to the recipient (42 U.S.C. § 602(a)(7) (Supp. V 1975); 45 C.F.R. §§ 233.20(a)(3)(ii)(A) and (D) (1976)), and that the first $30 of the total gross monthly earned income and one-third of the remainder are to be disregarded. (42 U.S.C. § 602(a)(8)(A)(ii) (Supp. V 1975); 45 C.F.R. § 233.20(a)(11)(ii)(b) (1976).) Illinois has adopted these provisions in its administration of AFDC. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 23, par. 4-1.6, and Ill. Dep't. of Public Aid (AFDC), Categorical Assistance Manual, PO-510 (January 1975) (hereinafter cited Categorical Assistance Manual).

The Illinois Public Aid Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 23, par. 1-1 through 13-5) which provides for AFDC benefits in article IV (paragraphs 4-1 through 4-11) in pertinent part further states:

"§ 2-6. `Financial Aide [is defined as]': a money or vendor payment to or in behalf of a recipient for basic maintenance support or medical assistance provided under Articles III, IV, V, VI and VII."

"§ 11-3. Financial Aid Inalienable.)

All financial aid given under Articles * * * IV * * * shall be absolutely inalienable by assignment, sale, attachment, garnishment, or otherwise."

Defendant received wages from her employer and assistance payments from IDPA. Section 11-3 plainly states that it is the financial aid provided under article IV which is not subject to garnishment. Clearly, the wages or earned income of a recipient are ...


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