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AGO 1952 No. 323 - June 12, 1952
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

AID TO THE BLIND ‑- CONFORMITY WITH THE FEDERAL REQUIREMENTS ‑- EFFECTIVE DATE OF FILING RULES AND REGULATIONS

The State Department of Social Security can submit new plan material which disregards the first $50 of earned income in the aid to the blind program in order to conform with the Federal Security Act.

Rules and regulations filed on June 2, 1952, can become effective as of July 1, 1952.

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                                                                   June 12, 1952

Honorable Roderic Olzendam
Director
Department of Social Security
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 323

Dear Sir:

            This is in answer to your oral request for an Attorney General's opinion on the following questions:

            1. Can the State Department of Social Security disregard the first fifty dollars of earned income in the Aid to the Blind Program in order to conform with the recent amendment to the Federal Security Act?

            2. May the rules and regulations relating to such income which were filed on June 2, 1952, become effective as of July 1, 1952?

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            Your first question is concerned with the problem of what action the State Department of Social Security can take in view of the fact that the Administrator of the Federal Security Agency, Mr. Oscar R. Ewing, by a telegram dated June 11, 1952, advised the Department of Social Security in part as follows:

            "* * * Section 1002 (A) (8) Federal Social Security Act requires that effective July 1 1952 a state plan in order to be approvable as a basis for [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] received Federal grants must provide that in determining need the first $50 per month of earned income shall be disregarded.  According failure of state to provide for such disregarding effective July 1 1952 will cause state plan for aid to the blind to fail to conform with the Social Security Act as of that date."

            RCW 74.08.260 (§ 17, chapter 6, Laws of 1949) provides as follows:

            "If any plan of administration of this chapter submitted to the federal security agency shall be found to be not in conformity with the federal social security act by reason of any conflict of any section, portion, clause or part of this chapter and the federal social security act, such conflicting section, portion, clause or part of this chapter is hereby declared to be inoperative to the extent that it is so in conflict, and such finding or determination shall not affect the remainder of this chapter."

            Inasmuch as the state plan in the program for Aid to the Blind has been found to be out of conformity with the Federal Security Act, it is the opinion of this office that the State Department of Social Security can now submit new plan material to the Federal Security Agency which will allow the county welfare departments to disregard the first fifty dollars of earned income in granting assistance to recipients of Aid to the Blind.

            Your second question is concerned with whether or not the rules and regulations filed by the State Department of Social Security on June 2, 1952, can be effective as of July 1, 1952.  RCW 74.08.090 (§ 10, chapter 6, Laws of 1949) authorizes the Department to make rules and regulations not inconsistent with the provisions of the public assistance laws and provides that such rules and regulations shall be filed with the Secretary of State thirty days before their effective date.  There has been no interpretation by our Supreme Court of that provision of the law with regard to whether the language is to be construed as mandatory or directory.  However, it has been the position of this office that the requirement that the rules be filed thirty days before their effective date is directory rather than mandatory and in the absence of any authoritative judicial determination to the contrary, we reaffirm that interpretation.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            Accordingly, you are advised that rules and regulations filed by the Department of Social Security June 2, 1952, to permit the exemption of the first fifty dollars earned income in the Aid to the Blind program in order to conform with the Federal Security amendment can be effective as of July 1, 1952.

Very truly yours,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

JANE DOWDLE SMITH
Assistant Attorney General

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