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11 N.J.A.R. 140

Union County Board of Social Services; A., E. v
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Citation: 11 N.J.A.R. 140
Decision Date: 1988
Synopsis: Petitioner appealed respondent's denial of an application for A FDC benefits on behalf of a minor child, S.H., because of insufficient degree of blood relationship between petitioner and the child. The matter was transmitted to the Office of Administrative Law for a hearing. Petitioner stated when she applied for AFDC that she was a third cousin to S.H. The application was denied because, under N.J.A.C. 10:81-3.1 l(a)l, a third cousin is not considered a parent-person and is not eligible to receive AFDC for a child. At the hearing, the administrative law judge determined on the basis of evidence that E.A. and S.H. were actually first cousins once removed, rather than third cousins. Their relationship was of the fifth degree. N.J.A.C. 10:8-3.11(a)1 provides that a relative may be recognized as a parent person for the purpose of receiving AFDC on behalf of a child living with a relative if the relationship is one of those listed in the regulation. A first cousin is among the relatives listed. The New Jersey regulation also encompasses relatives of preceding generations denoted by the prefixes 'grand' and 'great.' However, federal regulations construe as eligible relatives those denoted by the prefix 'greatgreat' as well. The administrative law judge concluded that the New Jersey regulation must be interpreted as if the prefix 'great-great' were included, since eligibility must be measured by federal standards. A great-great aunt would be in the fifth degree of kinship, the same degree as a first cousin once removed. Therefore, the administrative law judge concluded that petitioner was eligible to apply as a parentperson for AFDC benefits on behalf of S.H. A first cousin once removed and persons of preceding generations as denoted by the prefix great-great have equal eligibility to be designated a parentperson because they are both of the fifth degree of kinship. The denial of petitionc?s application for AFDC assistance was reversed. The administrative law judge ordered that petitioner be afforded an opportunity to complete an application for benefits and, if petitioner is found to be eligible, benefits shall be issued retroactive to the date of the original application. Upon review, this initial decision was adopted by the Division of Public Welfare.
Rule(s) Cited: 10:81-3.11(a) 1