The Constitutional Right to Timely Processing of Welfare Applications


By means of public assistance legislation, the federal government cooperates with the states to assist individuals with low incomes. One such form of assistance is Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). The statute which authorizes this program requires that support be furnished with reasonable promptness to qualified individuals. Yet despite the clearly stated law, some state agencies remain unable or unwilling to process applications within the specified time period. This delay on the part of the state denies some applicants the benefits they are otherwise entitled to receive. The purposes of this Note will be: 1) to show that such a denial constitutes a deprivation of a property right protected by the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment, and 2) to suggest some possible remedies to redress the deprivation of this right.

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