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AGO 1951 No. 422 - January 11, 1951
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

SOCIAL SECURITY ‑- EFFECTIVE DATE IN PAYING GRANTS

The effective date for grants under Initiative 178 is the date of application.

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                                                                 January 11, 1951

Honorable Roderic Olzendam, Director
Department of Social Security
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 49-51 No. 422

Dear Sir:

            You have requested the opinion of this office on the following question:

            Does the Department of Social Security have legal authority to establish an effective date for grants different from the date of application under Initiative 178?

            Our conclusion may be summarized as follows:

            The effective date for grants under Initiative 178 is the date of application.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            Section 5, chapter 6, Laws of 1949 (§ 9998-33e Rem. Supp. 1949 subsection (a) (4) provides:

            "That upon approval of an application, the grant shall be paid as of the date of application, * * *"

            Section 7, chapter 6, Laws of 1949 (§ 9998-33g Rem. Supp. 1949) provides that:

            "Whenever the Department or an authorized agency thereof receives an application for a grant an investigation and record shall be promptly made  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] of the facts supporting the application.  The Department shall be required to approve or deny the application within thirty days after the filing thereof and shall immediately notify the applicant in writing of its decision:  Provided, That if the Department is not able within thirty days, despite due diligence, to secure all information necessary to establish his eligibility, the Department is charged to continue to secure such information and if such information, when established, makes applicant eligible, the Department shall pay his grant from date of application."

            The question with which you are concerned is whether or not the provisions of Initiative 178, (chapter 1, Laws of 1951) authorize the Department to commence paying a grant on some day other than the day of application.  Section 5 of chapter 6, Laws of 1949, supra, was amended by section 6 of Initiative 178 and the provision providing that grants shall be paid as of the date of application was deleted from the amending act.  However, the provisions of section 7, chapter 6, Laws of 1949, supra, relating to the investigation of eligibility by the Department were not changed by Initiative 178.  Accordingly, the Department is still required to pay grants from the date of application if it takes more than thirty days to determine the eligibility of a particular applicant.  In view of the ambiguity on this point we believe there is no clear expression of legislative intent that the effective date of grants was to be changed to some day other than the day of application.  It is our opinion that an absurd conclusion would be reached were a ruling made that under the provisions of Initiative 178, supra, a grant shall be paid from the date of application only in the event that the Department requires more than thirty days to determine eligibility.  In order to be consistent and to treat all recipients and applicants equitably and uniformly the effective date for the payment of grants should be the same in all cases.

            Accordingly, you are advised that it is the opinion of this office that the effective date for grants under Initiative 178 is the date of application.

Very truly yours,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

JANE DOWDLE
Assistant Attorney General

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