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Report to Federal Board
In every State that has passed an old-age assistance law, the State agency is required to report to the Federal Social Security Board except that in the following States there is no provision: Arizona, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, West Virginia, and Alaska.
Provision for Reimbursement to Federal Government
The following State laws provide that 50 percent of whatever is recovered be paid to the United States Covernment: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Wisconsin, Wyoming, District of Columbia, and Hawaii. The following State laws have no provision with reference to reimbursement to the Federal Government: Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Utah, Alaska, Washington, and West Virginia.
Liens on Property of Applicant
Out of the 43 State laws examined, in 9 States-Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Alaska-the law contains no provision with reference to liens. The other 34 States have various provisions in their laws for a lien on applicant's property.
Eleven States-Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Maryland, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, Wisconsin, Wyoming, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia-provide for a lien on applicant's property for the total amount of aid granted with interest at 3 percent.
Four States-Maine, Montana, Utah, and Hawaii-provide for a lien on applicant's property for the total amount of aid granted with 5 percent interest.
Three States-Mississippi, New Hampshire, and New Jersey-provide for a lien by the State for the total amount of aid granted without interest.
Three States-Connecticut, Ohio, and Vermont-the State is given a specific claim against applicant for amount of aid granted with interest at 4 percent.
In seven States Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Nevada, and Wisconsin-the law provides that as a condition of the granting of aid, the county governing body may require the applicant to transfer his property to such agency.
In Arizona the law provides double recovery if the property of applicant exceeds the amount allowed in the law.
In Arkansas the total amount of aid granted is a second-class claim and applicant has no exemptions. The Arkansas law provides that, in the case of a surviving spouse, the estate is not to be settled until the death, remarriage, or failure to occupy homestead by the surviving spouse.
The California law provides for a recovery by the State of the total amount of applicant's property not exempt from execution.
The four States-Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, and Rhode Island-a lien is allowed for the total amount of aid given but is not enforceable against the surviving spouse who is not more than 15 years younger than applicant and does not remarry.
The law of Michigan provides for a lien by the State for the total amount of aid given applicant plus 32 percent, while Maine's law provides for a lien for the total amount of aid granted applicant without interest, and in Nevada a lien is allowed for the total amount of aid granted applicant, but it is provided that the lien should not be enforced while property is occupied by spouse, a dependent, or the recipient himself.
The State of Washington law provides for a lien by the State for the total amount of aid granted, plus 6 percent interest, if spouse is able to support recipient, while in the State of New Hampshire, recovery is permitted against spouse, son, or daughter of recipient.
In New Jersey the law provides that the county agency may file with court or register of deeds a certificate showing amount of aid given, which becomes a legal claim against both the person and his estate, and has the force of a judgment with priority over all unsecured claims; and in the State of Minnesota local authorities may attach property of recipient during his lifetime.
In Alabama the State has a lien against applicant's property for the total amount of aid granted, subject to dower, homestead, and personal-property exemptions of a surviving widow.
Texas is the only State that does not provide for recovery of money legally paid to pensioner and provides for recovery only in the case of misrepresentation, the law containing a provision that if recipient, at death, was possessed of property or money in excess of that allowed by the law, total amount of assistance in excess of that which he was entitled to can be recovered plus 6 percent interest and all costs.
Fifteen states Arkansas, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Wyoming, and Hawaii-provide a double recovery for all aid granted applicant in the case of misrepresentation either as to the value of his property or his income.
Unique or Special Provisions
Some of the States have unique or special provisions pertaining to the granting of old-age assistance, among which are the following: Arkansas, where the law provides for an investigation of the needs of each applicant; each applicant is to be examined under oath and no approval given unless each fact set forth in the application is approved by two creditable and disinterested witnesses having personal knowledge of the facts; a public hearing is held on each application; and no new application may be filed by the applicant within 12 months after disallowance.
California and one or two other States separate real from personal property.
Florida gives assistance to legitimate dependents of recipient who may be unable to care for themselves.
Illinois and one or two other States have a provision that residence may not be established for the purpose of qualifying.
In Iowa granting power may permit applicant to take up residence outside of State, for reasons of infirmity of age, health, or economic necessity, in a privately supported benevolent or fraternal institution, or in a privately supported hospital or sanitarium, except institutions for feeble-minded and insane, or in the household of a relative or friend.
In Nevada payment of old-age assistance grants may be made to the governing authorities of any charitable, benevolent, or fraternal institution in the State.
In New Jersey county welfare board may file with court or register of deeds a certificate showing amount of aid given, which becomes a legal claim against both the person and his estate and has the force of a judgment with priority over all unsecured claims.
In New York ownership of an insurance policy in any amount does not bar applicant from receiving aid, but public welfare department may take a lien against it.
In Ohio insurance policy of applicant in an amount over $250 must be placed under trusteeship of division.
In Oregon the amount of old-age assistance granted is a claim against the recipient and his estate, and also against persons liable for his support.
In Pennsylvania the board must conduct its investigation through an investigator, who must swear before the board to a complete report on all matters stated in the application.
In Rhode Island applicant may be required to sell his property; and as to any real property not required to be sold, the applicant may be required to give a mortgage to the general treasurer and to his successors in office, to secure repayment of any aid given under the act; and also to give a power of attorney to the chief of the division of old-age securities to manage such property and to pay its income thereof to the applicant.
Texas is the only State that has not provided for a recovery of money legally paid to recipient and only provides recovery in the case of misrepresentation as to value of property or income.
In West Virginia applicant must submit an agreement to grant the State a lien on all his property as a condition of assistance, and must assign life-insurance policies; but the lien must not be enforced against the real estate occupied by surviving spouse unless such person is a widow who remarries, or unless there is a threatened or actual transfer of the property.
Mr. McLOGAN. I want to call attention to the fact that the program refers to "old-age pensions." The report of the committee refers to "old-age assistance laws." That was done purposely, so that the subject might be distinguished from old-age benefits as provided by the Social Security Act and administered entirely by the Federal Government.
It is the opinion of your committee that it would be unwise to recommend to the different States any so-called "model old-age assistance bill." It is the thought of the committee, after a careful examination of the provisions contained in the different State laws, that the better way to approach the subject matter would be through a recommendation to the different States that such provisions as are deemed desirable be embodied in any new bill or in any amendment to the present old-age assistance laws.
The report which I have just presented is an analysis of the old-age assistance laws of 44 States, showing what States have and have not been approved by the Social Security Board, which State laws are mandatory or optional, and also giving each and every requirement and provision on citizenship, residence, social conditions, limitations on property and income, maximum allowance, funeral expenses, administrative agencies, source of funds, the matter of a fair hearing before a State department, report to Federal Social Security Board, reimbursement to the Federal Government, liens on property of applicant, and unique or special provisions, together with the names of the States where the laws contain such provisions.
Your committee recommends that a round-table discussion be held, where members of the organization who are interested in taking part in the discussion can consider the different provisions, and that such round table report to the convention the provisions deemed to be desirable and advantageous, with a recommendation that such provisions be embodied in any new law or amendments to existing laws by each of the States and Territories. The committee believes that any recommendation made prior to a round-table discussion of the subject matter would be premature.
I appreciate that the time of this convention is short, and I do not know whether it will be possible to have a round-table discussion. If it is impossible, I hope that before the State legislatures meet a committee can get together and go over these provisions and make such recommendations. Personally, I think that coming here, or any place else, and reading a lot of reports avail us very little beyond what we get out of the discussions. But for practical purposes I think this body must take some action and make recommendations to the States. Then I think that should be followed up by some agent of the association, some individual who will appear before the committees of the legislatures of the different States and give them a picture of this organization, its make-up, etc., and impress upon them that this association makes certain recommendations after thorough deliberation. My experience has been that when you can do that the road is made much easier for the enactment of provisions into law.
Chairman DAVIE. At this time it is an unusual pleasure to introduce to you Maj. C. R. Newcombe, of the Workmen's Compensation Board of Manitoba, Canada.
Major NEWCOMBE. About 15 years ago I happened to be traveling down the Winnipeg River. The evening had come and we were canoeing along, very tired, when a fine big island loomed up ahead of We wanted the guide to pull in there for supper, but he refused to land there, so we paddled on for about 4 miles more until we found a place. It was not until a couple of years afterwards that I found out why that Indian guide would not pull in to that island. One day I asked him and he told me that it was a "ghost" island. He said that for hundreds of years his people had traveled along there, and that at that island they used to turn off the old folks of the band who could no longer take their part in the chase. They were given a little bundle of food and marooned on the island, and they left their bones there.
In our workmen's compensation work we have established what in the army we used to call an "ambulance column." We have felt that we have progressed a little further than our Indian friends and should make some better provision for the aged than marooning them on an island. We have been trying in Manitoba to administer some scheme of old-age pensions to take care of the dependent and brokendown who have been following the human trail for 70 long years. We have been administering an old-age pension law for more than 8 years and in our small Province small in population (only 700,000 people), though not in area-we have already expended on old-age pension some 14 million dollars. Our annual bill at the present time amounts to between 2 and 3 million dollars. A Federal old-age pensions act was passed by the Parliament in Ottawa in 1927, the Provinces coming in on it by way of a contract with His Majesty the