"SPECIAL" FEDERAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR
NEEDS ARISING FROM UNEMPLOYMENT
RELIEF POLICIES of the Roosevelt administration from the very first, but particularly since 1935, have been based on the assumption that, although the federal government had a certain degree of responsibility for needy unemployable persons, it had a peculiar responsibility for needy persons who were unemployed and presumably employable.
Upon signing the first federal relief act of his administration, President Roosevelt, in May, 1933, stressed the fact that the appropriation authorized by Congress was for "unemployment relief."1 When Harry Hopkins spoke before the National Conference of Social Work in June, 1933, he explained:
. . . the intent of this act is that relief should be given to the heads of families who are out of work and whose dependency arises from the fact that they are out of work; single men and women who are out of work, and to transient families, as well as the transient men and women roaming about the country. Those are the persons for whom relief is intended. I am not going to hide behind the cloak of the intent of Congress as to what federal funds can be used for. It is my belief that the people who fought for this bill, who tried to get this money, were trying to get it for relief for the unemployed, and not for a number of other perfectly fine and worthy social objectives.2
One month later, regulations issued by the FERA prescribed that relief administered under the federal relief act was for "needy unemployed persons and/or their dependents."3____________________
"There has been some intimation that in a number of States many widows with