Widowed, paralyzed on her entire left side, and disbetic, Louise M. Crump, 43, lives alone in a Southeast Washington housing project.
Last month, the D.C. Department of Human Resources implemented a new money-saving precedure that temporarily cut off Mrs. Crump's only income, a $163.90 monthly General Public Assistance (GPA) check.
GPA, the city-funded program for disabled indigents, historically has continued to support recipients until they were determined inelibible in a twice yearly review by DHR workers. The new procedure, which took effect April 1, requires recipients to prove their continued eligibility.
The termination of the GPA benefits also led to Mrs. Crumps removal from the federally-supported Medicaid and food stamp programs. She was hospitalized after falling into a deabetic coma, and unable to protest the actions, Mrs. Crump said in court papers filed last week.
In her affidavit filed in a federal suit protesting DHR's termination of benefits to several hundred GPA recipients, Mrs. Crump said she had "only $12 on hand and about $6 worth of food stamps."
"I do have a chicken and hope that will tide me over until my check somehow comes to me," Mrs. Crump, a disabled nurse's aide, said.
She is one of four persons named in the class aciton suit filed by Neighborhood Legal Services Program lawyers.
NLSP attorney Gerald Von Kroff charged in the suit that DHR illegally denied recipients their means of livelihood without due process or opportunity to protest.
U.S. District Court Judge Oliver Gasch last week granted a temporary restraining order blocking further terminations of benifits until the case is heard.
The suit was filed just after DHR's announcement that it has eleminated a massive backlog of 900 pending applicaitons in its larger welfare program, the federal Aid to Families With Dependent Children.
Five city officials, including Mayor Walter E. Washington and acting DHR director Albert P. Russo were found in contempt for failing to process the AFDC application in the 45 days that federal law mandates.
Von Kroff's brief characterized the GPA terminations as devastating in light of DHR's administrative difficulties, which caused the huge backlog of welfare applications.
The GPA terminations began during a time when DHR was carrying out a reorganization to escape a contempt judgement on the AFDC suit and the agency's ability to promptly requalify GPA cases was weakened, the suit charged.
About half of all GPA recipients were notified in February that unless they proved continued eligibility by March 1, their April checks would be withheld.
The City Council approved the new DHR policy on GPA eligibility on the basis of estimates that half of the program's annual $13 million budget could be saved by removing ineligible recipients.
In a September, 1976, letter to the Council, the mayor noted the potential $6.8 million savings and pointed out that the Council already had cut that amount from the GPA budget for fiscal year 1977.
The NLSP suit also protested the loss of food stamp and Medicaid benefits to persons who remained qualified for those programs, as a firect result of their GPA termination.
The suit names the mayor, Russo and DHR officials Bertrell Hallum, payments assistance chief; Malone Broome, head of hte eligibility bureau, and Jacqueline Johnson, assistant director for state agency affairs.
Judge Gasch has scheduled a hearing on the case for Friday.