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MANSFIELD v. WEINBERGER

July 30, 1975

Juanita MANSFIELD et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
Casper W. WEINBERGER, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CORCORAN

 CORCORAN, District Judge.

 In this action plaintiffs complain that a six-month duration-of-separation Social Security eligibility requirement for individuals separated from their spouses violates the due process and equal protection guarantees of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. *fn1"

 The Court's jurisdiction is invoked pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1361; the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 701-706; and 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g), (h), 1383(c)(3).

 The matter is now before the Court on the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment. *fn2"

 The Court concludes that plaintiffs' claims for prospective relief are moot. Further, finding a rational justification for the challenged statute, we hold that plaintiffs' claims for retroactive benefits are without merit.

 I

 Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a public assistance program for needy blind, aged and disabled persons administered by the Social Security Administration of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Title XVI of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1381 et. seq. The program is generally divided into two segments: (1) a federal payment and, in some instances, (2) a state supplement. 42 U.S.C. § 1382e. *fn3" For purposes of determining eligibility and the amount of the payment under SSI, "eligible individuals" who have "eligible spouses" (hereinafter "a couple") are treated differently than other "eligible individuals." Thus, a couple, each of whom is eligible for SSI benefits in his or her own right, receives a combined payment that is less than the sum of what each would receive if single and living alone. When a couple receiving SSI benefits separate, however, under the statutory classification of 42 U.S.C. § 1382c(b), *fn4" the statute at issue here, the couple continue to be treated as a couple for SSI benefits until they have lived apart for more than six months. As a practical matter, this means that each spouse will receive only half of a couple's payment rather than each receiving a full individual payment until six months after their separation. 20 C.F.R. § 416.1001(a), 39 Fed.Reg. 23258 (1974).

 II

 In the present case, because of the statutory prohibition of the "six-month rule," the Social Security Administration denied to each of the named plaintiffs *fn5" a full individual's payment after that plaintiff separated from her husband.

 Plaintiffs complain that the "six-month rule" is a conclusive presumption that does not allow either spouse to make a factual showing of the genuine termination of their marriage relationship prior to the elapsing of statutorily-imposed six months unless one of the exceptions exists. This results, according to them, in a denial of due process and equal protection of the law.

 III

 As the Supreme Court has consistently held, the federal courts are limited by Article III of the Constitution to the resolution of actual cases or controversies. See e. g., Preiser v. Newkirk, 422 U.S. 395, 95 S. Ct. 2330, 45 L. Ed. 2d 272 (1975). There must be "concrete legal issues, presented in actual cases, not abstractions." Golden v. Zwickler, 394 U.S. 103, 108, 89 S. Ct. 956, 959, 22 L. Ed. 2d 113 (1969). Similarly, "pleadings must be something more than an ingenious exercise in the conceivable." United States v. SCRAP, 412 U.S. 669, 688, 93 S. Ct. 2405, 2416, 37 L. Ed. 2d 254 (1973). As the Supreme Court noted in DeFunis v. Odegaard, 416 U.S. 312, 316, 94 S. Ct. 1704, 1705, ...


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