KNEBEL V. HEIN, 429 U. S. 288 (1977)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Knebel v. Hein, 429 U.S. 288 (1977)

Knebel v. Hein

No. 75-1261

Argued November 29, 1976

Decided January 11, 1977*

429 U.S. 288


Federal and state regulations that disallow a deduction for transportation expenses in connection with a job training program for purposes of computing the income of food stamp recipients held not to conflict with the Food Stamp Act of 1964 or to deny equal protection or due process. Pp. 292-297.

(a) Though under the Act's broad delegation of authority, the Secretary of Agriculture might have defined income in a variety of ways, his decision to adopt a definition of income including wages, welfare payments, training allowances, and other monetary receipts, with a 10% standardized deduction of the wages or training allowance (including tuition grants and travel allowances), and only a few specific deductions, is a valid exercise of his statutory authority. The availability of alternatives does not render the Secretary's choice invalid. Pp. 429 U. S. 293-295.

(b) Allowing a specific deduction for items such as transportation expenses would significantly increase administrative costs as well as risks of disparate treatment. P. 429 U. S. 295.

(c) Nothing in the Act requires that deductions include all necessary nonfood expenditure. Pp. 429 U. S. 295-296.

(d) The regulations embody no conclusive presumption; they merely represent the reasonable judgments that (1) recipients of state travel allowances should be treated like other trainees and wage earners, and (2) the standard 10% deduction, coupled with the 30% ceiling on coupon purchase prices, provides an acceptable mechanism for dealing with ordinary expenses such as commuting. Pp. 429 U. S. 296-297.

402 F.Supp. 398, reversed.

STEVENS, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.

Page 429 U. S. 289

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