Each of the following examples presents a brief summary of the court opinion, followed by a client’s fact situation. For each client fact situation, parts A through G, determine the following:
1. What are the fact similarities and differences between the court opinion and the client’s situation?
2. Is the court opinion on point? Why or why not?
3. If the opinion is on point, what will the probable decision be in regard to the question raised by the client’s facts?
Court Opinion: State v. Jones. Mr. Jones, a first-time applicant for general relief funds, was denied relief without a hearing. The denial was based on information in Mr. Jones’s application indicating that his income was above the threshold maximum set by the agency regulations. The regulation provides that when an applicant’s income, or the financial support provided to an applicant plus income, exceeds $12,000 a year, the individual may be denied general relief funds. The regulation is silent about the right to a hearing.
Mr. Jones’s application reflected that the gross income from his two part-time jobs exceeded by $2,000 the maximum allowable income for eligibility. He believed there were special circumstances that would allow him to be eligible for general relief. His demand for an appeal hearing to explain his special circumstances was denied.
The court held that the due process clause of the state constitution entitles a first-time applicant for general relief funds to a hearing when special circumstances are alleged. The question in the following three fact situations is whether the client is entitled to a hearing.
Client’s Facts: Tom lives at home with his parents. He has a part-time job. He does not pay rent or utilities. He uses the money from his job to attend school, and he has very little left over. His application for general relief was denied. The written denial stated that the combination of the support provided by his parents and his part-time income exceeded the maximum allowable income. His application for an appeal hearing was denied.
Client’s Facts: In the last session of the state legislature, the legislature passed legislation providing that when applicants for general relief are denied relief based on information provided in the application, they are not entitled to an appeal hearing. The purpose of the legislation is to cut costs.
Mr. Taylor, a first-time applicant for general relief funds, was denied benefits based solely on his application. He believes that he has special circumstances that entitle him to benefits. His request for an appeal hearing was denied.
Client’s Facts: Client has been receiving general relief funds for the past year. Last week, he received notice that his relief would be terminated due to information received from his employer indicating that he had received a raise, and his income is now over the statutory maximum. His request for an appeal hearing on the termination of relief was denied.
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