California Department of Human Resources v. Java (1971)

Unemployment insurance benefits must be paid promptly after the initial hearing, and not withheld pending an employer’s appeal from the initial eligibility determination.

Citation: 402 U.S. 121 (1971)
Date decided: Apr 26, 1971
Longer case name: California Department of Human Resources Development et al., Appellants, v. Judith Java et al.
Law type: Civil
Jurisdiction level:Federal
State of origin: California
Topic(s):Unemployment compensation
Lists:Important cases
Attorneys:Stephen P. Berzon (Legal Aid Society of Alameda County) argued the cause for appellees pro hac vice. With him on the brief was Kenneth F. Phillips
Others involved:Briefs of amici curiae urging affirmance were filed by C. Lyonel Jones, Ed J. Polk, Don B. Kates, Jr., and Joseph A. Matera for California Rural Legal Assistance et al.; by J. Albert Woll, Laurence Gold, and Thomas E. Harris for American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations; by Stephen I. Schlossberg, John A. Fillion, and Jordan Rossen for the International Union, UAW; and by the Employment Project, Center on Social Welfare Policy and Law.
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Case Importance

Prevented delays in paying unemployment insurance benefits.

Case Details

(The syllabus is not part of the opinion, but is a summary prepared by the court reporter as a convenience.)


Section 303(a)(1) of the Social Security Act requires a method of administration “reasonably calculated to insure full payment of unemployment compensation when due.” In light of the intent of Congress to make payments available at the earliest stage of unemployment as is administratively feasible, in order to provide a substitute for wages, the language “when due” must be construed to mean when benefits are allowed as a result of a hearing of which both parties have notice and at which they are permitted to present their respective positions. California’s initial interview provides such a hearing, and, accordingly, enforcement of § 1335 of the California Unemployment Insurance Code, providing for the withholding of insurance benefits upon an employer’s appeal from the initial eligibility determination, must be enjoined, because it conflicts with the requirement of § 303(a)(1) of the Social Security Act. Pp. 402 U. S. 124-135.

317 F. Supp. 875, affirmed.

Last modified: 2022-12-26 09:51
Case internal grade: A | Case internal status: OK |
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