Anderson v. Edwards, 514 U.S. 143, 6 (1995)

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Opinion of the Court

See, e. g., Dandridge v. Williams, 397 U. S. 471, 473-474 (1970) (sustaining a Maryland AFDC regulation under which "the standard of need increases with each additional person in the household, but the increments become proportionately smaller").

The situation of respondent Verna Edwards and her relatives illustrates the operation of these two rules. Initially, Mrs. Edwards received AFDC assistance on behalf of her granddaughter, for whom she is the sole caretaker.2 As a one-person AU, the granddaughter was eligible to receive a "maximum aid payment" of $341 per month prior to September 1991. See n. 1, supra. Later, Mrs. Edwards began caring for her two grandnieces, who are siblings. Pursuant to the federal family filing unit rule, the grandnieces are grouped together in a two-person AU, which was eligible to receive $560 per month in benefits prior to September 1991. See ibid. Because none of these children received any outside income, Mrs. Edwards received $901 per month in AFDC assistance on behalf of the three girls. In June 1991, however, Mrs. Edwards received notice that pursuant to the California Rule, her granddaughter and two grandnieces would be grouped together into a single three-person AU, which was eligible to receive only $694 per month. See ibid. The California Rule thus reduced AFDC payments to the Edwards household by $207 per month.

On behalf of themselves and others similarly situated, Mrs. Edwards, her three relatives, and other respondents brought this action against petitioners, the state officials charged with administering California's AFDC program, in the Dis-Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code Ann. 11450(a)(1) (West Supp. 1994), as modified by 11450.01(a), (b) and 11450.015(a).

2 Mrs. Edwards does not receive AFDC assistance for herself. As explained in the text, the family filing unit rule requires parents to apply for assistance along with their children. But apart from this rule, caretaker relatives need not apply for assistance along with the needy children for whom they care, although they may do so.

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