Anderson v. Edwards, 514 U.S. 143, 12 (1995)

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Opinion of the Court

Perhaps respondents are arguing that the regulations simply forbid California to combine the incomes of all needy children in a household—whether by grouping them into the same AU or otherwise. But whatever are the limits that federal law imposes on States' authority in this regard, the combination of incomes effected by the California Rule is authorized by the AFDC statute itself, which provides that a state agency "shall, in determining need, take into consideration any . . . income and resources of any child or relative claiming [AFDC assistance]." 42 U. S. C. 602(a)(7)(A) (1988 ed. and Supp. V). In light of the "great latitude," Dandridge, 397 U. S., at 478, and the "broad discretion," Shea, 416 U. S., at 253, that States have in administering their AFDC programs, this statute is reasonably construed to allow States, in determining a child's need (and therefore how much assistance she will receive), to take into consideration the income and resources of all cohabiting children and relatives also claiming AFDC assistance.

The availability regulations are addressed to an entirely different problem, namely, the counting of income and resources controlled by persons outside the AU for the purpose of determining the amount of assistance to be provided to the AU. The regulations were adopted to implement our decisions in three AFDC cases. See 42 Fed. Reg. 6583-6584 (1977) (citing King v. Smith, 392 U. S. 309 (1968); Lewis v. Martin, 397 U. S. 552 (1970); Van Lare v. Hurley, 421 U. S. 338 (1975)). In all three cases, the State had counted as available to the AU income that was not actually or legally available because it was controlled by a person who was not a member of the AU and who was not applying for AFDC assistance. See King, supra, at 311 (a " 'substitute father,' " defined as any able-bodied man who cohabited with the mother of the needy children in or outside her home); Lewis, supra, at 554 ("an adult male person assuming the role of spouse to the mother," such as a common-law husband, or a

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