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Nugent v. Miller

OPINION FILED NOVEMBER 3, 1983.

JOLENE NUGENT ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES,

v.

JEFFREY C. MILLER, DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC AID, ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County; the Hon. John A. Krause, Judge, presiding.

PRESIDING JUSTICE SEIDENFELD DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied December 12, 1983.

The plaintiffs sought a writ of mandamus to issue against the Illinois Department of Public Aid (IDPA), its director, and the Kane County Administrator of Public Aid, to compel continuing payment of interim assistance following a finding by the Federal Social Security Administration (SSA) that each of them was not disabled. The trial court issued the writ on the pleadings and the defendants appealed.

The amended complaint alleges that each of the plaintiffs had certain disabilities which each claims to be permanent; that each applied to the IDPA for financial and medical assistance under the Aid to the Aged, Blind and Disabled (AABD) program; that the defendants approved each application for AABD on a presumptive eligibility basis pending a decision on the claim of disability; that thereafter each plaintiff received a notice with the information that the application of AABD had been denied because the party had been determined not disabled by the Social Security Administration; that within 10 days of the denial notice each appealed the decision to the IDPA; that the IDPA refused to continue assistance to each during the processing of the appeal although they allegedly had a clear legal duty to continue assistance under a provision in the IDPA's policy manual, PO-235.4 and under Rule 7.03 of the IDPA.

We first note that similar issues have been ruled upon in other divisions of the Illinois Appellate Court and adversely to the IDPA: Waterson v. Miller (1983), 117 Ill. App.3d 1054; Carroll v. Miller (1983), 116 Ill. App.3d 311. A trial court decision also adverse to the IDPA presently on appeal is Feldman v. IDPA (Docket No. 83-533, 1st Dist.). Carroll and Waterson relied on Johnson v. Quern (1980), 90 Ill. App.3d 151, as dispositive.

For reasons which we will state, we do not find that Johnson v. Quern is applicable on its facts. Since the record presented in Johnson was purely an AABD application, to the extent various conclusions are drawn in the opinion as to the effect of seeking assistance through the Social Security Administration and the mandatory State supplementary payments (SSP), we respectfully disagree.

Johnson v. Quern was an administrative review of the decision of the IDPA denying plaintiff's request for disability "under the Illinois program for Aid to the Aged, Blind and Disabled (AABD)," and the court based its decision solely on the application for AABD (90 Ill. App.3d 151, 152-53). While the court found no explicit record, it said that "every indication" was that Johnson also filed an application with the SSA for supplemental security income (SSI) (42 U.S.C. § 1381 (1976)). The Johnson court found that the State's AABD program functioned parallel to yet distinct from the Federal SSP or SSI programs. It appears that this result was reached basically because it was conceded by the IDPA that "* * * there are people in Illinois who are receiving AABD who are not eligible for one reason or another for either SSP or SSI" (90 Ill. App.3d 151, 157). There was no analysis as to whether Johnson was entitled to continuing assistance on a presumptive eligibility status pursuant to Federal statutes.

IDPA concedes here, also, that there are cases in which an applicant does not meet Federal eligibility requirements and is entitled only to AABD relief assistance. It is also clear that AABD regulations provide for continued assistance even after the finding of no disability until the appeal decision is reached. (AABD Categorical Assistance Manual PO-235.4, enacted pursuant to Rule 7.03 of the IDPA.) The IDPA argues, however, that where an applicant meets Federal standards, the application, although it still may be labeled "AABD," is actually to the Social Security Administration for supplemental security income as well as for supplemental security payments from the county public aid department. Thus, IDPA argues, having applied for SSI with Social Security and SSP with the Kane County Department of Public Aid, the plaintiffs were entitled to interim assistance from the State on a presumptive eligibility basis, without a finding of disability, but only until SSA made its initial determination respecting disability.

• 1 We are impelled to agree with the defendant's analysis of the legislative scheme. Prior to 1974, State programs were administered and financed by the respective States and supported in part by Federal grants. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 23, par. 3-1 et seq.) Effective in 1974 the Social Security Insurance Program replaced existing State programs of aid to the disabled with a comprehensive Federal system through the SSA (42 U.S.C. § 1381 et seq. (1976)). To promote uniformity, the Federal SSI program, where applicable, replaced State programs such as AABD. The State did not repeal the statute which created the former AABD program (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 23, pars. 3-13, 3-14, 3-15) and which remained applicable *fn1 where only the State assistance was sought. We agree, however, with the IDPA that the legislative intent, in those cases in which Federal money was to be received, was that the SSI program amounted to a "take over" of the program by the Federal government and not the creation of a parallel program. The legislative history as stated by Senator Moore:

"This bill is implementing legislation which is needed when the Federal government takes over the Old Age, Blind and Disabled category from the State of Illinois on January 1, 1974. Under the bill that was passed there is a basic federal grant that will be payable through the Social Security Administration to all aged, blind and disabled. It provides that a mandatory State supplement insuring to those eligible under the present Aged, Blind and Disabled program shall be paid in January of 1974 at the same rate that they were receiving in December, `73." (Emphasis added.) October 30, 1973, 3rd Special Session, 78th General Assembly, Verbatim Transcript, at 17.

This was reiterated by Representative Campbell when he said that the sections

"set[s] forth the machinery for the Department of Public Aid to work in relationship with the Federal Government in the take over of the aid to blind and disabled and also provide[s] for the state to pay supplemental income * * * to those recipients * * *." (Emphasis added.) November 16, 1973, 2d Special Session, 78th General Assembly, Verbatim Transcript, at 7.

The intention was that the Federal government would "take over" the previous responsibility for providing aid to the aged, blind and disabled to the extent that they were entitled to receive assistance under the Federal program where supplemental State programs (SSP) were mandated under sections 3-13 and 3-15 of the Illinois Public Aid Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 23, pars. 3-13, 3-15). See Dixon v. Quern (N.D. Ill. 1982), 537 F. Supp. 983, 987.

While participation in SSP is optional with the States, Illinois, of course, participates in SSP, and it has made the legislative statement that "the Federal Government should meet its obligation to provide financial aid to those aged, blind or disabled persons eligible under Article III hereof so as to assure those persons a standard of living compatible with health and well-being, * * *. The Illinois Department shall institute a State program to fully supplement the Federal Supplemental ...


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