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What is the Washington State Dept. of Social and Health Services v. Guardianship Estate of Keffeler case

The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services v. Guardianship Estate of Keffeler case dealt with the use of Social Security benefits to reimburse the state for providing public assistance.

In this case, the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) was appointed as the representative payee for certain Social Security recipients who were in the state's care. DSHS then used the Social Security benefits received on behalf of these individuals to reimburse itself for the costs of providing them public assistance, such as Medicaid and foster care. The guardianship estate of one such recipient, Keffeler, challenged this practice, arguing that it violated the Social Security Act's anti-attachment provision, which prohibits the garnishment or attachment of Social Security benefits.

The Supreme Court ultimately ruled in favor of DSHS, holding that the state's use of the Social Security benefits to reimburse itself did not violate the anti-attachment provision. The Court reasoned that DSHS was acting pursuant to its role as a representative payee appointed by the Social Security Commissioner, and that the reimbursement was therefore permissible under the Act.

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