parent is not using the funds for the benefit of the child, 42 U.S.C. §§ 605, 608(a)(1). Only if the state provides other care and assistance can it withhold AFDC aid from a needy, dependent child. 42 U.S.C. § 604(b).
Defendants urge, however, that the regulation fulfills the purpose of the Social Security Act because the state must preserve its limited AFDC fund so that each eligible recipient may receive the assistance to which he is entitled. This argument is not compelling. At issue is not the legitimacy of the state's interest in preserving its funds, protecting all welfare recipients or recovering money rightfully due; at issue is the validity of the methods which the state employs to achieve these admittedly valid goals.
Pennsylvania has at its disposal methods, consistent with the Social Security Act, by which it can recover excess payments. It may institute criminal prosecution against a recipient who has fraudulently obtained a duplicate payment and, upon conviction, obtain restitution, a fine and/or imprisonment. It may also file a civil action, obtain a judgment, and satisfy the judgment when the recipient is able to pay. The state may not, however, seek to protect its interests by a method which violates the Act when it has available other legitimate means.
Nor can the regulation be upheld on the ground that immediate restitution through reductions in current AFDC grants is the only method of insuring that there are sufficient funds to provide for all welfare recipients. The record does not support defendants' argument that existing civil and criminal remedies, which delay actual recovery, are ineffective because AFDC funds will be so diminished in the interim by the number of people obtaining duplicate payments that other recipients will be deprived of assistance.
Finally, defendants submit that the regulation is in harmony with the Social Security Act because recoupment of overpayments from subsequent grants is recognized as a valid method of adjustment in another chapter of the Act.
This argument is without merit. In prescribing this method of recoupment, Congress specifically limited its application to the provisions of the "Federal Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance Benefits" subchapter of the Social Security Act. No comparable provisions were inserted into the AFDC subchapter of the Act. In view of these facts and the completely different purposes to be served by the two subchapters, it cannot reasonably be inferred that Congress intended that overpayments of AFDC assistance be adjusted by recoupment from subsequent grants.
Since the challenged regulation is inconsistent with the statutory requirement that AFDC assistance be furnished with reasonable promptness to all eligible individuals, the Pennsylvania regulation is void and may no longer be enforced. Accordingly, it is ordered that defendants be enjoined from seeking restitution of duplicate assistance payments by reducing current grants of AFDC aid to plaintiffs and their class.
It is unnecessary to decide the constitutional questions raised regarding the procedures by which the regulation is implemented in view of our holding that the regulation itself is invalid.
The parties will submit a proposed order in accordance with the terms of this opinion.