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September 17, 2002

Social Security's New Home School Flow Chart

The Social Security Administration pays out "student benefits" to full time students whose parent has died. Normally, these benefits end when a child turns eighteen, but a student who is still in high school can collect benefits even after his or her eighteenth birthday. While it is easy to collect these student benefits for children in traditional schools, home schoolers have had more challenges.

For some years, the Social Security Administration has permitted home schoolers to receive benefits in some cases. The agency used a fuzzy test involving several different factors. New documents from the Social Security Administration indicate that the agency has a much better defined policy in place now. Under this new policy, a home school family completes Form SSA-1372 to document full time attendance. The Social Security Administration then examines its own legal precedents to determine whether home schooling has been recognized in the state where the student lives. If the family can prove that they have met the state requirements for home schooling, the child should be eligible for social security benefits.

If you know a home schooler who is currently collecting student benefits and who may still be in school after the age of eighteen, these new forms and guidelines could make a big difference.

 Other Resources

SSA Home Schooling Memo