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08/24/87 Sandra Wynn, v. Gregory L. Coler

August 24, 1987

SANDRA WYNN, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT

v.

GREGORY L. COLER, DIRECTOR, ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC AID, ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FOURTH DISTRICT

512 N.E.2d 1066, 159 Ill. App. 3d 719, 111 Ill. Dec. 525 1987.IL.1225

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Vermilion County; the Hon. Matthew A. Jurczak, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE McCULLOUGH delivered the opinion of the court. SPITZ, P.J., and KNECHT, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE MCCULLOUGH

Following the termination of her Aid to Families with Dependent Children benefits, and the denial of her request for renewed AFDC benefits, plaintiff Sandra Wynn appealed the termination and denial of benefits to the Illinois Department of Public Aid (Department). Following a decision adverse to her, she filed a complaint for administrative review in the Vermilion County circuit court. She now appeals the circuit court's order which affirmed the Department's decision.

At the administrative hearing held May 16, 1986, Wynn stated that she last received an AFDC check in December 1985. Ms. Jolley, a public aid caseworker, testified that on January 14, 1986, the Wynn family's AFDC benefits were terminated for a period of seven months because of the family's receipt of lump sum social security disability benefits in the amount of $5,779.

Ralph Edwards, also a public aid caseworker, testified that Wynn filed a new application for AFDC benefits on March 6, 1986. This application was denied because of the previous determination that Wynn was ineligible for benefits for a period of seven months because her assets exceeded the allowable amount.

Wynn further testified that when the retroactive lump sum social security payment was received, her husband used some of his share to buy a car, and she used some of her share to buy a car, a washer, a dryer and clothing. She also used some of her share to pay bills. Furthermore, her husband used part of his share to buy two stereos. All of the money had been spent by February 21, 1986.

Wynn's husband left the family home on February 21, 1986. However, he still receives mail at that address. Wynn has filed for a divorce, but she and her husband attend family counseling sessions at the request of the Department of Children and Family Services.

In a decision filed June 5, 1986, the Department upheld the termination of Wynn's AFDC benefits and the denial of her application for renewed benefits. With respect to the denial of Wynn's application for renewed AFDC benefits, the Department found that any changes in the circumstances of Wynn's household did not affect her family's period of ineligibility for AFDC benefits.

Several statutes, administrative regulations and policy statements are central to the contentions of the parties of this appeal. The Illinois Administrative Procedure Act (Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 127, par. 1001 et seq.) provides in pertinent part:

"'Rule' means each agency statement of general applicability that implements, applies, interprets, or prescribes law or policy, but does not include (a) statements concerning only the internal management of an agency and not affecting private rights or procedures available to persons or entities outside the agency, (b) informal advisory rulings issued pursuant to Section 9, (c) intra-agency memoranda or (d) the prescription of standardized forms." Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 127, par. 1003.09.

"No agency rule is valid or effective against any person or party, nor may it be invoked by the agency for any purpose, until it has been made available for public inspection and filed with the Secretary of State as required by this Act. However, no agency shall assert the invalidity of a rule which it has adopted pursuant to this Act when an ...


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