Levels of Departmental Compliance Related to Timeliness of Fair Hearings Under the Federal Food Stamp Act of 1964

By Dustin Bennett, Albany Government Law Review

 

I.            Introduction

            Statutes are created to set the law on a given topic that the government wishes to control, and are created for individuals as well as for governmental agencies to follow. In pursuit of enforcing these statutes, different agencies within the Executive Branch set regulations creating guidelines for the proposed class or classes to follow. State agencies and departments fall into one of the classes that may be required to follow these promulgated regulations.

            The Federal Food Stamp program,[1] which is an important part of federal benefits law, is one of these statutes. The department that deals with this law the most is the Department of Social Services (DSS), known under different titles depending on the state and administered at the county (or other jurisdictional) level. Regulations that departments such as DSS regularly face, to comply with these laws, are regulations regarding timeliness of benefits and hearing appeals.[2]  The departments deal with so many individual cases that some cases inevitably fall through the cracks. However, according to the regulation, all cases must be dealt with within a specified period of time.[3]  This has caused a dilemma for state departments. In determining the level to which an agency must comply with the regulation, case law has been created causing a circuit split on which level is sufficient. Most courts that have ruled on this issue have held that the departments must “strictly comply” with the federal regulation,[4] meaning every case has to be dealt with within that regulation-created period of time. One circuit has ruled in favor of only requiring “substantial compliance,”[5] but this compliance level has yet to be completely defined and implemented.

            This article will give a brief overview of the case law regarding which level of compliance is currently required within the circuits, and why there may be such a back-and-forth concerning which level is the correct level. In conclusion, this article will explain why substantial compliance should be the preferred compliance level.

Continue reading “Levels of Departmental Compliance Related to Timeliness of Fair Hearings Under the Federal Food Stamp Act of 1964”

The Supreme Court and The Individual Healthcare Mandate

By Beth Ensell, Albany Government Law Review

On March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordability Care Act (PPACA) into law.  The law added a provision to the U.S. Tax Code, which requires every citizen, national, or alien lawfully in the United States, to maintain “minimum essential coverage” for themselves and their dependents, subject to penalty.[1]  This has been dubbed the “individual mandate” and touted by PPACA naysayers as “socialized medicine.”[2]  The provision also remains the focus of several ongoing lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of PPACA.[3] Continue reading “The Supreme Court and The Individual Healthcare Mandate”

Dissolution of Out-of-State Civil Unions in New York: Dickerson v. Thompson

By Rebekah Addy, Albany Government Law Review

    Introduction        

On July 24, 2011, the New York Legislature enacted the Marriage Equality Act, which permits marriage between persons of the same-sex and provides that valid same-sex marriages entered into outside of New York will be recognized and treated the same as in-state marriages.[1]  The New York State Bar Association (“NYSBA”) “has long supported the new law” stating that it is a “triumph for equality” granting “important protections and legal rights” to same-sex couples.[2]  However, NYSBA president Vincent E. Doyle III also noted that “many areas of the law are unclear” and “there are many open issues about how the law will be applied.”[3]  In light of that recognition, NYSBA produced a Marriage Equality FAQ brochure developed by a panel of legal experts, dated July 18, 2011, seeking to help “couples, attorneys and others navigate the new legal landscape.”[4] Continue reading “Dissolution of Out-of-State Civil Unions in New York: Dickerson v. Thompson”

The Obama Administration Rescinds Old Regulations Affecting Provider Conscience Laws

By Melissa Dizon, Albany Government Law Review Class of 2011

Introduction

On February 18, 2011 the United States Department of Health and Human Services announced its new rule regarding health care and conscience clauses.[1]  The new rule replaces a controversial rule that the Bush Administration issued in 2008, during George W. Bush’s  last days in office.[2]  The new rule ensures that the law protects health care providers who object to performing or assisting an abortion, while eliminating confusion of the previous rule that the definition of abortion also included contraception.[3]  This is undoubtedly a point for the pro-choice faction, but one can imagine it will spark the conscience clause debate anew.

Continue reading “The Obama Administration Rescinds Old Regulations Affecting Provider Conscience Laws”