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Agency power to make rules that affect substantial individual rights and obligations carries with it the responsibility not only to remain consistent with the governing legislation, FMC v. Seatrain Lines, Inc., 411 U. S. 726 (1973); Dixon v. United States, 381 U. S. 68, 381 U. S. 74 (1965); Brannan v. Stark, 342 U. S. 451 (1952), but also to employ procedures that conform to the law. See NLRB v. Wyman-Gordon Co., 394 U. S. 759, 394 U. S. 764 (1969) (plurality opinion). No matter how rational or consistent with congressional intent a particular decision might be, the determination of eligibility cannot be made on an ad hoc basis by the dispenser of the funds.

 

The Administrative Procedure Act was adopted to provide, inter alia, that administrative policies affecting individual rights and obligations be promulgated pursuant to certain stated procedures so as to avoid the inherently arbitrary nature of unpublished ad hoc determinations. See generally S.Rep. No. 752, 79th Cong., 1st Sess., 12-13 (1945); H.R.Rep. No.1980, 79th Cong., 2d Sess., 21-23 (1946). That Act states in pertinent part: 'Each Agency shall separately state and currently publish in the Federal Register for the guidance of the ...

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