the mail disbursement procedure which would be avoided by in-hand disbursement on demand. (N.T. 104, 108)
16. No new investigative procedures relating to possible fraudulent applications have been instituted by the Department or local offices since April, 1969, nor are investigations now more lengthy than before April, 1969. (N.T. 89-90)
17. In Delaware County, a one-office operation with an assistance caseload of the same size and group characteristics as a Philadelphia District Office, same-day disbursement in-hand creates no particular administrative problems or abuses. (N.T. 82-3, 86)
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
We note initially that we have jurisdiction of plaintiff's equal protection claim under the Civil Rights Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1343(3) and (4) and 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and of the claim of incompatibility with the Federal Social Security Act and regulations pursuant to pendent jurisdiction. Rosado v. Wyman, 397 U.S. 397, 90 S. Ct. 1207, 25 L. Ed. 2d 442 (April 6, 1970); King v. Smith, 392 U.S. 309, 88 S. Ct. 2128, 20 L. Ed. 2d 1118 (1968). Also, we reject the defendants' assertion that this action has been rendered moot because the named plaintiff Adens was given her December emergency check pursuant to our temporary restraining order, because we have determined that the issue here is one of importance that is "capable of repetition, yet evading review." Southern Pacific Terminal Co. v. I.C.C., 219 U.S. 498, 31 S. Ct. 279, 55 L. Ed. 310 (1911); United States v. W.T. Grant Co., 345 U.S. 629, 73 S. Ct. 894, 97 L. Ed. 1303 (1953). Both parties agree that there are approximately 1,000 applications for emergency relief per day and that applicants suffer undue hardship if their check is delayed. Therefore, even though the individual plaintiff Adens may have received her emergency check on one occasion, other plaintiffs of the class which she represents may be affected by similar delays in the future, and in such circumstances it is appropriate for us to hear the case to provide any relief necessary to the entire class. Kelly v. Wyman, 294 F. Supp. 887 (S.D.N.Y. 1968); Hawkins v. Board of Control of Florida, 162 F. Supp. 851 (N.D. Fla. 1958).
We will consider the statutory question first because if the plaintiffs are correct on this question there is no occasion to reach the constitutional issue. Dandridge v. Williams, 397 U.S. 471, 90 S. Ct. 1153, 25 L. Ed. 2d 491 (1970). A brief review of the statute, regulations and legislative history is a necessary prelude. In the Social Security Act of 1950, primarily in response to complaints that states had established waiting lists in administering their Aid For Dependent Children's (AFDC) programs,
Congress provided in 42 U.S.C. § 602(a)(10) that any state plan for aid to needy families with children in order to qualify (and therefore make the state program eligible for federal aid) must provide that such aid "be furnished with reasonable promptness". In 1967, Congress authorized in Sections 603(a)(5) and 606(e) federal payment to the states of 50% of the "payments or care" and 75% of the "services" provided as temporary emergency assistance to needy families with children pursuant to an approved state plan. In the Senate Report on the Bill, No. 744 (1967) as quoted in 2 U.S. Code Congressional and Administrative News, Vol. II, p. 3002 (1967) the Committee recognized the pressing need for immediate action on assistance applications for temporary emergency aid:
"The committee understands that the process of determining AFDC eligibility and authorizing payments frequently precludes the meeting of emergency needs when a crisis occurs. In the event of eviction, or when utilities are turned off, or when an alcoholic parent leaves children without food, immediate action is necessary. * * * The families do not have to be receiving, or eligible upon application to receive, AFDC (although they are generally of the same type), but they must be without any available resources and the payment or service must be necessary in order to meet an immediate need that would not otherwise be met. * * *" (Italics ours.)
The secretary has recognized the necessity for prompt action reflected in this report in regulations recently promulgated which require inter alia that state plans for emergency assistance in order to qualify must "provide that emergency assistance will be given forthwith." 34 Fed. Reg. 393 (Jan. 10, 1969), 45 C.F.R. Section 233.120(a)(5).
It is clearly the intent of these statutes and regulations that in view of the crisis nature of the circumstances in which emergency assistance is provided for, such assistance must be furnished immediately and without any undue delay. We think that the present system of centralized mailing of emergency checks utilized by the Department of Public Welfare in Philadelphia is inconsistent with the federal requirement that emergency checks be given to recipients immediately upon determination of eligibility. The state has failed to show that the central mailing system serves any conceivable function other than to delay the payment of funds without which recipients are placed in what the defendants admit is a condition of undue hardship: no money is saved, because recipients are paid ultimately anyway; and it is admitted that no extra investigation is made to detect fraudulent applications under the central mailing system.
Having concluded that the system of central mailing of relief checks is incompatible with the requirements of the federal Social Security Act, we are empowered to grant an injunction against further payment of federal funds to the state assistance program unless the state within a reasonable time develops a plan conforming with federal standards. As the Supreme Court recently stated with regard to a New York plan under § 402 of the Social Security Act:
"New York is, of course, in no way prohibited from using only state funds according to whatever plan it chooses, providing it violates no provision of the Constitution. It follows, however, from our conclusion that New York's program is incompatible with § 402, that petitioners are entitled to declaratory relief and an appropriate injunction by the District Court against the payment of federal monies according to the new schedules, should the State not develop a conforming plan within a reasonable period of time." Rosado v. Wyman, 397 U.S. 397, 90 S. Ct. 1207, 25 L. Ed. 2d 442 (1970).