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1 N.J.A.R. 448

S., R. v. Gloucester City Welfare Department
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Citation: 1 N.J.A.R. 448
Decision Date: 1979
Agency: DIVISION OF PUBLIC WELFARE
Synopsis: Petitioner received benefits under the General Public Assistance Law, N.J.S.A. 44:8-107, through a voucher system in which recipients were not paid directly, but rather submitted vouchers. The local welfare director denied payment under the General Assistance Program for petitioner's hospitalization for the removal of cancerous tissue and reconstructive surgery. The petitioner argued additionally that the State benefit level, established in N.J.A.C. 10:85-4.1, is a mandatory benefit level and he should receive benefits at that level regardless of the amount of vouchers he may have submitted in a given month. The administrative law .judge found that, although N.J.A.C. 10:35-5.2 provides that payment for hospitalization is within the discretion of most local welfare directors, this discretion must accommodate the purposes of Super. 276 had established a bottom level of medical assistance below which discretion could not be exercised. The administrative law judge found that the local director's decision was not in keeping with the general purpose of the statute and that the decision would deny petitioner the level of medical care to which he was entitled. Accordingly, the local welfare agency was directed to pay the hospital costs associated with petitioner's surgery. As to the issue of whether the local agency may, by using a voucher system, provide benefits at a level lower than maximum monthly reimbursement level established by the State, the administrative law judge principle that N.J.S.A. 44:8-24 permits the establishment of a uniform statewide definition of 'need' contained in N.J.A.C. 10:85-4.1. Accordingly, while the local director could not be required to pay more than the statewide level, payments and benefits at a level lower than the statewide standard were unacceptable and the vouchering system could not be used to thwart the intent of the statute and regulations. State of New Jersey 449 R.S.v. Gloucester City Welfare Department
Rule(s) Cited: 10:35-5.2 
Statute(s) Cited: 44:8-24 44:8-107