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Old-Age Assistance

Posted on:3/20/2012
All states now have an Old-Age Assistance program. All public assistance programs under the Social Security Act must meet certain standard Federal requirements.


The person must be in need. The public assistance programs under the Social Security Act are not "pension" programs to persons who reach a certain age or have a specified physical condition, and persons must be without substantial resources as defined by the state. In determining need, the state must consider all income and resources.


The program must be in operation on a state-wide basis. This Federal requirement resulted in extending public assistance to every area and in making it available to persons no matter where they resided in the state. In addition, this requirement effected state-wide standards of assistance as the test of need and as the basis for paying assistance.


The program must be administered by a single state agency or, if administered by local agencies, the state agency must have authority to supervise the local administration of the state's programs and to establish rules, regulations, and standards binding upon the local administration. This "single state agency" concept has resulted in strengthening state public welfare departments. The concept means that a program, e.g., old-age assistance, can be administered or supervised only by one agency.


The new program of Medical Assistance to the Aged was placed in Title I of the Social Security Act (the title governing Old-Age Assistance) and, if established, must be administered by the same agency that administers Old-Age Assistance. However, other agencies might handle the other public assistance programs. In practice, practically all states have all the Federally aided assistance programs administered by one state department, or if administered locally, then supervised by one state department.

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