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Resisting a Right to Relief: States, Responsible Relative Laws, and Old Age Assistance

  • Susan Stein-Roggenbuck (a1)

Abstract:

Efforts to modernize public assistance via the Social Security Act of 1935 met significant opposition from states. One manifestation of that resistance was state responsible relative laws in the Old Age Assistance program. Responsible relative laws enforced support by adult children as an eligibility requirement; applicants with children deemed able to provide support were either denied aid, or the grant awarded was reduced. These laws are an example of parent dependency policies that sought to enforce or encourage family members, particularly adult children, to support parents in need. States sought to ensure that all financial resources were exhausted before public funds were spent on OAA. Responsible relative laws were an arena of public assistance that remained under state discretion, and many states used them to control costs and contest federal efforts to modernize relief programs and limit state and local authority.

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1. Pakula, Matthew, “A Federal Filial Responsibility Statute: A Uniform Tool to Help Combat the Wave of Indigent Elderly,” Family Law Quarterly 39, no. 3 (2005–6): 862.

2. Baker, Beth, “Paying for Mom: Little-Known Laws Force Families to Fund Parents’ Care,” AARP Bulletin Today, 10 January 2009, electronic.

3. Wade Scott, W. and Sharp, Erica L., “The Wolf at the Door: Filial Responsibility Under Delaware Law,” Widener Law Review 20 (2014): 244–45.

4. Pearson, Katherine C., “Re-Thinking Filial Support Laws in a Time of Medicaid Cutbacks: Effect of Pennsylvania’s Recodification of Colonial-Era Poor Laws,” Pennsylvania Bar Association Quarterly 76 (October 2005): 162, 166.

5. Britton, Ann, “America’s Best Kept Secret: An Adult Child’s Duty to Support Aged Parents,” Western Law Review 26 (1989–90): 351; Pakula, “A Federal Filial Responsibility Statute”; Ross, Allison E., “Taking Care of Our Caretakers: Using Filial Responsibility Laws to Support the Elderly Beyond the Government’s Assistance,” Elder Law Journal 16 (2008).

6. Old Age Insurance was created under the original 1935 Social Security Act, and is the program commonly referred to as Social Security today. The 1939 amendments expanded benefits to include survivors, and the name changed to Old Age and Survivors Insurance.

7. Andrew Achenbaum, W., Social Security: Visions and Revisions (Cambridge, 1986), 2122.

8. Ibid., 22.

9. Katznelson, Ira, When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America (New York, 2005), 4243; Achenbaum, Social Security: Visions and Revisions, 23; Poole, Mary, The Segregated Origins of Social Security: African Americans and the Welfare State (Chapel Hill, 2006), 3845.

10. Achenbaum, Social Security: Visions and Revisions, 42. OAA benefits varied greatly by state. Mississippi’s average grant was $25 in 1948, while California averaged more than $60. Berkowitz, Edward, America’s Welfare State: From Roosevelt to Reagan (Baltimore, 1991), 5657.

11. OAA operated in all states, as well as Washington, D.C., and the territories of Alaska and Hawaii, in 1938. The percentage varied by states, from a low of 7.2 percent in New Hampshire to a high of 54.5 percent in Oklahoma. Final Report of the Advisory Committee on Social Security (Washington, D.C., 1938), 16.

12. Katz, Michael B., The Price of Citizenship: Redefining the American Welfare State (Philadelphia, 2008), 45.

13. Bond, Floyd et al., Our Needy Aged: A California Study of a National Problem (New York, 1954), xvii–xviii.

14. Achenbuam, Social Security: Visions and Revisions, 39, 45, Schorr, Alvin L., Filial Responsibility in the Modern American Family (Washington, D.C., 1960), 22; Berkowitz, Edward and McQuaid, Kim, Creating the Welfare State: The Political Economy of Twentieth-Century Reform (Lawrence, Kans., 1992), 177–78; Mugge, Robert H., “Concurrent Receipt of Public Assistance and Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance,” Social Security Bulletin 23, no. 12 (December 1960): 12, 14.

15. Haber, Carole and Gratton, Brian, Old Age and the Search for Security: An American Social History (Bloomington, 1994), 44, 65, 87.

16. Achenbuam, Social Security: Visions and Revisions, 24–25.

17. Grossman, Joanna and Friedman, Lawrence M., Inside the Castle: Law and Family in Twentieth-Century America (Princeton, 2011), 17.

18. Strach, Patricia and Sullivan, Kathleen S., “The State’s Relations: What the Institution of Family Tells Us About Governance,” Political Research Quarterly 64, no. 1 (2011): 95.

19. The 1962 total also matched funds provided for medical care for OAA recipients up to $15. Cohen, Wilbur J. and Ball, Robert M., “Public Welfare Amendments of 1962 and Proposals for Health Insurance for the Aged,” Social Security Bulletin 25, no. 10 (1 October 1962): 1314; Achenbaum, Social Security: Visions and revisions, 22.

20. Gareth Davies and Martha Derthick argue that race was not the key reason that southern states participated in OAA at lower rates. Instead, southern states lacked the necessary funds to offer OAA benefits and also rejected federal authority; the funding partnership favored wealthier states. See Davies, and Derthick, , “Race and Social Welfare Policy: The Social Security Act of 1935,” Political Science Quarterly 112, no. 2 (1997): 227, 229–30.

21. Tani, Karen M., States of Dependency: Welfare, Rights, and American Governance, 1935–1972 (New York, 2016), 39–42, 4851.

22. Abbott, Edith, “Poor Law Provision for Family Responsibility,” Social Service Review 12, no. 4 (December 1938): 599602; Lee, Art, “Singapore’s Maintenance of Parents Act: A Lesson to Be Learned from the United States,” Loyola of Los Angeles International and Comparative Law Journal 17, no. 3 (1994–95): 674–75; Kline, Terrance A., “A Rational Role for Filial Responsibility Laws in Modern Society?” Family Law Quarterly 26 (1992–93): 204–5.

23. Strach and Sullivan, “The State’s Relations,” 95.

24. Abbott, “Poor Law Provision for Family Responsibility,” 599.

25. See Willrich, Michael, City of Courts: Socializing Justice in Progressive-Era Chicago (New York, 2003), and Igra, Anna R., Wives Without Husbands: Marriage, Desertion, and Welfare in New York, 1900–1935 (Chapel Hill, 2007).

26. Lowe, Robert C., State Public Welfare Legislation (Washington, D.C., 1939), 6367.

27. Generally, some southern and plains states were less likely to have such laws. Figure 1 details the states that had support laws in 1952. Both Arkansas and Alabama eliminated their support laws in 1955, and Delaware did so in 1963. Schorr, Filial Responsibility in the Modern American Family, 23; Eppler, Elizabeth, “Old-Age Assistance: Plan Provisions on Children’s Responsibility for Parents,” Social Security Bulletin 17, no. 4 (April 1954): 5.

28. Rosenbaum, Michael, “Are Family Responsibility Laws Constitutional?” Family Law Quarterly 1, no. 4 (December 1967): 58; Britton, “America’s Best Kept Secret,” 352–53, 360–64.

29. The 1965 Medicaid Law, an amendment to the SSA, prohibited the consideration of relatives’ support, except for a spouse, for the granting of medical care. Many scholars attribute the decline in responsible relative enforcement to what was the first federal prohibition of responsible relative enforcement, although it only applied in this specific context. But while many make that claim, few offer direct evidence for a causal relationship. Some states, including California, continued to enforce these laws in the 1970s. For example, see Lee, “Singapore’s Maintenance of Parents Act,” 680–81; Moskowitz, Seymour, “Filial Responsibility Statutes: Legal and Policy Considerations,” Journal of Law and Policy 9 (2000–2001): 714–15; Kline, “A Rational Role for Filial Responsibility?” 199.

30. Letter from Executive Director Oscar M. Powell, 11 February 1941, “To State Agencies Administering Approved Public Assistance Plans,” 2; Social Security Administration (SSA) Records, Records of Welfare Organizations and Topics, RG 47.8, Bureau of Public Assistance, State Letters, Box 1 Folder 1, National Archives, College Park, Md. (hereafter cited as NA-CP).

31. Ibid., 2.

32. “Public Assistance Goals for 1947: Recommendations for Improving State Legislation.” Social Security Bulletin 9, no. 12 (December 1946): 14.

33. “State Bureau of Social Security: OAA, ADC, and AB Correspondence,” 1 April to 1 October 1943, SSA Records, Records of Welfare Organizations and Topics, RG 47.8, Correspondence, Michigan, Box 50, Folder 600, NA-CP.

34. Coll, Blanche D., Safety Net: Welfare and Social Security, 1929–1979 (New Brunswick, N.J., 1995) 83.

35. Letter to Mrs. Estilla Kunkel of Los Angeles, 30 April 1943; Folder 3941; see also Letter to Mr. J. A. Essex, 15 April 1943, 1, Earl Warren Papers, Administrative Files, California State Archives, Sacramento (hereafter cited as CSA).

36. Minutes, California Department of Social Welfare Board, Box 2, Folder 35, 12 April 1941, 23, Records of the State Social Welfare Board, Series 1, CSA.

37. “Pensions or Old Age Assistance?” Public Welfare in Indiana 50, no. 12 (December 1940): 11.

38. “Maryland—Fifth Annual Report of the Review of Public Assistance Administration, July 1, 1944–1945,” 8; Records of Welfare Organizations and Topics, RG 47.8, Bureau of Public Assistance, Correspondence, Md., Box 45, Folder 620.62/03, NA-CP.

39. Mitchell, Daniel J. B., “The Lesson of Ham and Eggs: California’s 1938 and 1939 Pension Ballot Propositions,” Southern California Quarterly 82, no. 2 (Summer 2000): 193218; Mitchell, Daniel J. B., Pensions, Politics, and the Elderly (New York, 2000), esp. chap. 2; Amenta, Edwin, Caren, Neal, and Olasky, Sheera Joy, “Age for Leisure? Political Mediation and the Impact of the Pension Movement on U.S. Old Age Policy,” American Sociological Review 70, no. 3 (June 2005): 516–38.

40. The initiative passed in 1944, but it resulted in few changes due to the earlier legislative action. “Current Activity Report for the Period August 1, 1944 to September 30, 1944,” 4–7; Records of Welfare Organizations and Topics, RG 47.8, Correspondence, Nevada, Box 63, Folder 623.1, NA-CP.

41. Quoted in Report of the Senate Interim Committee on Social Welfare, Part One (California, 1951), 11. Original source quoted was from a flyer presenting arguments in favor of the amendment. The flyer was distributed and signed by several pension advocacy groups. “Ballot Recommendations: Factual Analysis of Six Propositions,” Tax Digest 26, no. 8 (August 1948): 311; see also Bond et al., Our Needy Aged, 81–91. Washington passed a referendum in 1948 liberalizing OAA benefits, including the elimination of the responsible relative laws and the property lien. As in California, such changes were reversed a year later. Yarnell, Allen, “Pension Politics in Washington State, 1948,” The Pacific Northwest Quarterly 61, no. 3 (July 1970): 154–55.

42. “Current Activities Report, November 10, 1948,” 2–4, SSA Records, Records of Welfare Organizations and Topics, RG 47.8, Correspondence, Washington, D.C., Box 104, Folder 632.1/03, NA-CP; Yarnell, “Pension Politics in Washington State, 1948,” 147, 154.

43. Barnett, John V., Recovery of Public Funds in Old Age Assistance (Indiana State Chamber of Commerce, 1950), 8.

44. By the 1940s, a few legislatures relaxed or eliminated their responsible relative laws, but the ideology of family responsibility remained strong. Texas and Utah eliminated relatives’ investigations from their OAA programs in 1941; Washington repealed its law in 1949. “Social Security in 1941,” Social Security Yearbook 1941 (Washington, D.C., 1942), 104; Epler, “Old-Age Assistance: Plan Provisions,” 5.

45. State Letter No. 47, “’Relatives’ Responsibility’ Provisions of State Plans Affecting Eligibility for Public Assistance,” 2; Records of the SSA, Records of Welfare Organizations and Topics, RG 47.8, State Letters, Policies and Regulations Relating to Public Welfare Programs, 1942–71, Box 1, Folder 4, NA-CP.

46. Bond et al., Our Needy Aged, 153–54; Berman, Jules H., “State Public Assistance Legislation 1949,” Social Security Bulletin 12, no. 12 (December 1949): 8; Epler, “Old Age Assistance,” 4–5.

47. “Current Activities Report, February 10, 1947,” 3, SSA Records, Records of Welfare Organizations and Topics, RG 47.8, Correspondence, South Dakota, Box 92, Folder 623.1, NA–CP.

48. Minutes, Indiana Department of Public Welfare, 8 July 1938, 563, Box 1, Indiana State Archives, Indianapolis (hereafter cited as ISA).

49. Report of the Senate Interim Committee on Welfare, Part One (California, 1951), 34–35.

50. Report of the Senate Interim Committee on Welfare, Needed Revisions in Social Welfare Legislation (California, 1951), 10.

51. Official Report of the Indiana Welfare Investigation Commission (Indianapolis, 1944).

52. Ibid., 22.

53. Minutes, Indiana Department of Public Welfare, 12 June 1940, 1070; 1 December 1940, 1150–51, Box 1, ISA.

54. “Statement by State Board of Public Welfare to the Governor and Members of the 84th General Assembly,” 2 December 1944, Records of Welfare Organizations and Topics, RG 47.8, Correspondence, Indiana, Box 34, Folder 660 (1943), 11, NA–CP.

55. “Recipients AND or VERSUS Responsible Relatives,” Public Welfare in Indiana 55, no. 5 (May 1945): 9.

56. Newspaper clippings, Indianapolis Times, 21 August 1945, SSA Records, Records of the Social Security Board, RG 47.3, Correspondence, Box 34, Folder 660 1943; Minutes, Indiana Department of Public Welfare, 30 April 1945, 2154, Box 7, ISA.

57. Chapter 82, “An Act to Establish Liability for support of parents,” Laws of the State of Indiana 1947, Vol. I (Indianapolis, 1947), 249–51; “Action on Recommendations of the Indiana Welfare Investigation Commission,” Public Welfare in Indiana 58, no. 8 (August 1948): 12.

58. Quoted in Dorothy Nierengarten, “We Don’t Believe in Relative Responsibility,” Public Welfare 8, no. 5 (May 1950): 102–3.

59. “Current Activities Report, June 3, 1947,” SSA Records, Records of the Social Security Board, RG 47.3, Correspondence, Maine, Box 43, Folder 620.62/03, 2–3; “Current Activities Report, September 26, 1947,” SSA Records, Records of the Social Security Board, RG 47.3, Correspondence, Maine, Box 43, Folder 620.62/03, 5, NA-CP.

60. Stevens, David H. and Springer, Vance G., “Maine Revives Responsibility of Relatives,” Public Welfare 6, no. 7 (July 1948): 123–25.

61. “Current Activities Report, January 21, 1948,” SSA Records, Records of Welfare Organizations and Topics, RG 47.8, Correspondence, South Dakota, Box 92, Folder 623.1, 5, NA-CP.

62. “Current Activities Report, May 6, 1947,” SSA Records, Records of the Social Security Board, RG 47.3, Correspondence, South Dakota, Box 92, Folder 623.1, 4; “Current Activities Report, February 10, 1947,” SSA Records, Records of Welfare Organizations and Topics, RG 47.8, Correspondence, South Dakota, Box 92, Folder 623.1, 3, NA-CP.

63. The state senate voted to repeal the property lien law on a 25–17 vote; the state house voted for repeal on a 77–10. Journal of the Indiana State Senate During the Regular Session of the Eighty-Second Session of the General Assembly (Fort Wayne, 1941), 1152; Journal of the House of Representatives of the State of Indiana, Eighty-Second Session of the General Assembly (Indianapolis, 1941), 1103.

64. “New Rules for Old Age Assistance,” Public Welfare in Indiana 51, no. 5 (May 1941): 3.

65. State of Indiana, Annual Report of the Department of Public Welfare and the Divisions of Supervision of State Institutions, for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1941 (Indianapolis, 1941) 289; State of Indiana, Annual Report, for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1942, 725; Barnett, Recovery of Public Funds, 5.

66. “Welfare Lien and Recovery of Old Age Assistance,” Public Welfare in Indiana 57, no. 5 (May 1947): 6–7. The state board minutes recorded no statements concerning the property lien laws.

67. “Current Activities Report—December 1, 1946 to February 28, 1947,” 4 March 1947, 9. SSA Records, Records of the Social Security Board, RG 47.3, BPA Correspondence, Indiana, Box 32, Folder 623.1/03; Survey of county welfare directors, 1944, County Welfare Directors’ Association, Folder Indiana Association of County Directors, 1942–61, 4, Indiana Public Welfare Records, Box 1, Indiana State Library.

68. “Action on Recommendations of the Indiana Welfare Investigation Commission,” Public Welfare in Indiana 58, no. 8 (August 1948): 12; Official Report of the Indiana Welfare Investigation Commission, 14.

69. Emphasis in original text. Barnett, Recovery of Public Funds, 4.

70. “Old Age Lien Passes Senate,” Indianapolis Star, 26 February 1947, 17.

71. “Old Age Assistance Lien and Recovery Provision,” Public Welfare in Indiana 58, no. 8 (August 1948): 5. South Dakota’s department of public welfare also supported the lien provisions as a deterrent on applications. South Dakota Department of Social Security Annual Report, For the Period July 1, 1939–June 30,1940 (Pierre, 1940), 9.

72. Bond, Our Needy Aged, 166.

73. South Dakota Department of Social Security, Annual Report, for the Period July 1, 1939 to June 30, 1940 (1940), 9.

74. Report of the Senate Interim Committee on Social Welfare, Part Five (California Senate, 1953) 25.

75. Ibid., 26.

76. “Liens, Claims on Estates, etc,” 10 January 1966, Department of Social Welfare Records, Coded Files, R350.130, Box 176, Folder 27, 1, CSA.

77. Lowe, State Public Welfare Legislation, 63–67, 92–95.

78. Bond, Our Needy Aged, 165.

79. Berman, Jules H., “Legislative Changes in Public Assistance,” Social Security Bulletin 10, no. 11 (November 1947): 10; Yarnell, “Pension Politics in Washington State,” 154.

80. “Current Activity Report,” 4 November 1948, 4; SSA Records, Records of Welfare Organizations and Topics, RG 47.8, BPA, Correspondence, Utah, Box 98, Folder 620.62/03; Berman, Jules H., “State Public Assistance Legislation, 1949,” Social Security Bulletin 12, no. 12 (December 1949): 8.

81. Bond, Our Needy Aged, 166–69. Most states would not seek a claim against the estate if the recipient left a surviving spouse or dependent children who resided in the home.

82. “Old Age Assistance Lien and Recovery Provision,” 5.

83. Barnett, Recovery of Public Funds in Old-Age Assistance, 6–7.

84. Public Act 262 of 1947, Local and Public Acts of the Michigan Legislature, 394; Michigan Social Welfare Commission, Fifth Biennial Report, July 1946–June 1948 (Lansing, 1948), 17, 20.

85. Tani, States of Dependency, 160–69 (164).

86. State Letter, 7 May 1941, “Standards for Safeguarding Information Concerning Applicants and Recipients of Public Assistance,” 1, Records of Welfare Organizations and Topics, RG 47.8, BPA, State Letters, Box 1, Folder 1.

87. Ibid., 1–2. Ohio was one state that clashed with federal officials, in part over the use of public assistance lists for political purposes, in the early stages of the Social Security Act. Federal officials provided the governor’s office in Utah with lists of recipients in 1943; they suspected he used them for political purposes but could not prove anything. Utah welfare officials also battled the Church of Latter Day Saints, who sought lists of recipients to ensure that its members were not receiving public aid. Coll, Safety Net, 28–29; “Current Activity Report,” 22 December 1944, 1–2; October 19, 1944, 1–2; 20 July 1944, 4; 5 April 1944, 6; 22 May 1943, 5; Records of Welfare Organizations and Topics, RG 47.8, BPA, Correspondence, Utah, Box 98, Folder 620.62/03, NA-CP.

88. If a recipient requested a fair hearing on a decision on the case, all materials submitted in the hearing were available to the recipient. Letter from Azile Aaron, Public Assistance Representative, to Ralph Fisher, Committee on Old-Age Pensions, California, 26 March 1943; Memo from Azile Aaron to Mary Austin, SSB, 3 April 1943; Memo to Arthur Miller, Regional Attorney from the Office of the General Counsel, 24 April 1943; SSA Records, Records of Welfare Organizations and Topics, BPA, Correspondence, RG 47, California, Box 9 Folder 610, NA-CP.

89. Bond et al., Our Needy Aged, 172.

90. “On the Welfare Front . . . ,” Public Welfare in Indiana 51, no. 12 (December 1941): 5; Tani, States of Dependency, 164–65.

91. House Bill 119, approved by Senate on 12 February 1943 and signed by the governor on 2 March. Journal of the Indiana State Senate During the Regular Session of the Eighty-Third Session of the General Assembly (Indianapolis, 1943), 374, 672.

92. Official Report of the Welfare Investigation Commission, 23.

93. “Statement by State Board of Public Welfare,” 12.

94. The states included Indiana, Illinois, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Oklahoma. Berman, Jules H., “State Public Assistance Legislation, 1951,” Social Security Bulletin 14, no. 12 (December 1951): 8.

95. “Message from the Governor,” 5 March 1951, Journal of the Indiana State Senate During the Regular Session of the Eighty-Seventh Session of the General Assembly (Indianapolis, 1951), 850.

96. The Senate voted 26–24 and the House 61–29. Journal of the Indiana State Senate, 855, 857; Journal of House of Representatives, Indiana, 1058.

97. Berman, “State Public Assistance Legislation, 1951,” 8; Letter to Hunt from the SSB, 25 April 1951; SSA Records, Records of the Office of Commissioner, RG 47.3.1, Box 26, Binder 3/51 to 5/51, NA-CP; Tani, States of Dependency, 166.

98. Memo to the Deputy Commissioner, Records of the Social Security Board, from the Office of the General Counsel, 25 April 1951; Letter from Maurice Hunt, Administrator, Indiana DPW, to Arthur Altmeyer, 17 April 1951; Letter to Hunt from the SSB, 25 April 1951, SSA Records, Records of the Office of Commissioner, RG 47.3.1, Box 26, Binder 3/51 to 5/51, NA-CP.

99. A U.S. District Court ruling upheld the SSA’s decision in September. Berman, “State Public Assistance Legislation, 1951,” 8; Oscar R. Ewing, Federal Security Administrator, 31 July 1951, American Public Welfare Association Records, Box 22, Folder 7, Social Welfare History Archives (hereafter cited as SWHA), University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; “Resume of Jenner Amendment and Its Effects,” Federal Security Agency, 1953, APWA Records, Box 22, Folder 6, SWHA.

100. “Indiana Loses Suit for Relief Grants,” New York Times, 8 September 1951, 10.

101. “Board Statement on Effects of Loss of Federal Reimbursement on Public Assistance Programs,” Public Welfare in Indiana 61, no. 8 (August 1951): 3.

102. Indiana Chamber of Commerce, Where Do We Go from Here in Public Welfare Financing? (August 1951), 3.

103. “Statement by State Board of Public Welfare,” 4.

104. Ibid., 5.

105. State Letter 166, 8 November 1951, “Section 618 of the Revenue Act of 1951,” SSA Records, Records of Welfare Organizations and Topics, RG 47.8, BPA, State Letters, Box 2, Folder 3; Tani, States of Dependency, 167–68.

106. “Indiana Loses Suit,” 10.

107. Letter from Robert Bahannan Jr. to APWA, 21 June 1951, APWA Records, Box 22, Folder 7, SWHA.

108. State Letter No. 166, 8 November 1951, “Section 618 of the Revenue Act of 1951.”

109. Annual Report of the Federal Security Agency, 1952 (Washington, D.C., 1953), 47.

110. State Letter 166, 8 November 1951, “Section 618 of the Revenue Act of 1951.”

111. Monthly Bulletin, Department of Health Education and Welfare, January 1956, 1, APWA Records, Box 22, Folder 6, SWHA.

112. Berman, Jules H., “State Public Assistance Legislation, 1952,” Social Security Bulletin 17, no. 1 (January 1954): 910.

113. New York Department of Social Welfare, “A Review of the Experience of Three States That Adopted 1951 Legislation on Public Inspection of Public Assistance Rolls,” February 1953, APWA Records, Box 22, Folder 6, SWHA; Tani, States of Dependency, 168–69.

114. Lucy Freeman, “Relief Lists Held Futile in Indiana,” New York Times, 10 March 1952, 25.

115. Annual Report of the Federal Security Agency, 1952 (Washington, D.C., 1953), 47; Tani, States of Dependency, 168.

116. Narayanan, Usha, “The Government’s Role in Fostering the Relationship between Adult Children and Their Elder Parents,” Elder Law Journal 4 (1996): 385–86; Patrick, Renae Reed, “Honor Thy Father and Mother: Paying the Medical Bills of Elderly Parents,” University of Richmond Law Review 19 (1984–85): 7178; - Kline, Terrence A., “A Rational Role for Filial Responsibility Laws in Modern Society?” Family Law Quarterly 26, no. 3 (Fall 1992): 199200; Maureen Murphy, M., Family Responsibility Laws (Washington D.C., 1985), 25.

117. Berkowitz, Edward D. and DeWitt, Larry, The Other Welfare: Supplemental Security Income and U.S. Social Policy (Ithaca, 2013), 1–2, 5356; Lopes, James L., “Filial Support and Family Solidarity,” Pacific Law Journal 6 (1975): 513; Rigby, Donald E., “State Supplementation Under Federal SSI Program,” Social Security Bulletin 37 (November 1974): 2426.

118. Schorr, Alvin, Thy Father and Thy Mother…”: A Second Look at Filial Responsibility and Family Policy (Washington D.C., 1980), 28. California strengthened its filial responsibility laws under Governor Ronald Reagan in 1971, but the law was repealed in 1975. The law did not amend the civil or criminal code, which still included provisions for responsible relatives, but enforcement by the Department of Social Welfare ceased. Chapter 1136, Article 8, Statutes of California, Regular Session, 1975, 2812–13; “Big Victory Won!” Senior Citizens Sentinel 35, no. 4 (November 1975): 1.

120. Pakula, “A Federal Filial Responsibility Statute,” 871.

121. Edelstone, Sharon Frank, “Filial Responsibility: Can the Legal Duty to Support Our Parents Be Effectively Enforced?” Family Law Quarterly 36, no. 3 (Fall 2002): 514.

I would like to thank Gene Burns, Andrea Freidus, and the anonymous reviewers for the Journal of Policy History for their comments on this project. I also thank Kasey Wilson of the Michigan State University Map Library, who designed both maps. Archivists at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland, the California State Archives, and the Indiana State Archives provided valuable assistance in locating sources.

Keywords

Resisting a Right to Relief: States, Responsible Relative Laws, and Old Age Assistance

  • Susan Stein-Roggenbuck (a1)

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