New York Department of Social Services v. Dublino

PETITIONER: New York Department of Social Services
LOCATION: Allegheny County District Court

DOCKET NO.: 72-792
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1972-1975)

CITATION: 413 US 405 (1973)
ARGUED: Apr 17, 1973 / Apr 18, 1973
DECIDED: Jun 21, 1973

Dennis R. Yeager - for appellees
Jean M. Coon - for appellants

Facts of the case


Media for New York Department of Social Services v. Dublino

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 17, 1973 in New York Department of Social Services v. Dublino

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 18, 1973 in New York Department of Social Services v. Dublino

Warren E. Burger:

Number 72-792.Mr.

Yeager, you may proceed whenever you are ready.

Dennis R. Yeager:

Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court.

This case does not involve a question of the perfection of the Federal Work Incentive Program.

In 1967, Congress enacted for the first time a compulsory work program for all AFDC recipients which it required each of the states to include in its plan of aid to families with dependent children.

When it enacted that program, it described the program in the introductory statutory material as being designed to cultivate in individuals the sense of dignity, self-worth and confidence that flows from being a wage earning member of society.

In 1971, the State of New York elected to enact its own compulsory work program applicable also to AFDC recipients which established the presumption of employability for such recipients and which was designed to and to a certain extent did achieve maximum welfare role reductions.

One administrator in the State of New York characterized the results under the program as follows.

“Last month, the weekend of October 5, we closed a hundred cases.

I haven’t really gotten to closing codes for all of these cases.

I would think that the employment section is having a greater impact on the right of closing.

We are closing a very great proportion of cases on the basis of failure to comply on the employment procedures.

That seems to be reflective of a somewhat different purpose than the purpose which Congress had in mind when it enacted the statute designed to cultivate a sense of dignity, self-worth and confidence.”

It’s also worthy of note that that quotation is not exceptional --

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

What's closing cases?

What's that?

Dennis R. Yeager:

Closing cases?

Well, Your Honor, in a study that was done by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare and the Department of Labor of the Administration of this program in the State of New York, it was found that what they were -- I’m sorry, not an -- it wasn’t a study, excuse me, in a -- in the stipulation to fact in the case, it appears that approximately 11,000 jobs were found while approximately 13,000 case closings occurred as the result of failures to comply not as the result --

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

Does that mean you terminate benefits or what?

Dennis R. Yeager:

Terminating benefits.

And now --

William J. Brennan, Jr.:


Dennis R. Yeager:


That’s correct Your Honor.

Except -- that is as to the individual who is refusing to take part.

If there's some other individual in the family who is still eligible for AFDC, they would continue to receive their share of the benefits.

Potter Stewart:

But it wasn’t an integral part of this program the requirement that the welfare recipients come personally and collect their checks?

Dennis R. Yeager:

That’s correct Your Honor.

Potter Stewart:

And didn’t this -- at least some of those closings -- weren’t at least some of those closings attributable to the failure of the people to come personally to pick up their checks rather than to the work program?

Dennis R. Yeager:

That would be correct.