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Goldberg v. Kelly

Citation. 397 U.S. 254, 90 S. Ct. 1011, 25 L. Ed. 2d 287, 1970 U.S.
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Brief Fact Summary.

New York residents were receiving financial aid under a state program. The state chose to terminate certain benefits without providing the recipients notice.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

Generally, a qualified recipient of public aide has a legitimate property interest in the continuance of such benefits.


New York City residents were receiving aid under the Aid to Families with Dependent Children or the Home Relief Program. The state decided to terminate support to certain families. At the time there was no requirement of prior notice or a hearing of any kind.


Did the state violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment when it terminated assistance payments to recipients without holding an evidentiary hearing?


Yes. Persons receiving public assistance have a legitimate property right interest in it. Therefore, at least an administrative hearing should be held to determine assistance eligibility before it is completely withdrawn.


Welfare laws should be left to the legislature and not forced into the constructs of the United States Constitution (Constitution). Welfare is a charity program which the state should be free to regulate as it sees fit.


Because the recipients rely on the assistance for their livelihood, the majority assigns a property right to the monies. It regards this aide as an “essential” component to the recipient’s life and is not a form of charity.

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