In recent years, there has been some question as to the eligibility of children involved in home education to receive child’s benefits under the Social Security Code. Families choosing to homeschool their children should have no fears concerning their ability to receive benefits under the current law. These families are completely protected under §404.367 of the Social Security Code.
This section states, “You may be eligible for child’s benefits if you are a full-time elementary or secondary school student.” The code then institutes qualifications as to who can be considered a full-time elementary or secondary student, stating that one has to “attend a school which provides elementary or secondary education as determined under the law of the state or other jurisdiction in which it is located.” Home school children are said to be in compliance with this regulation if they (a)(1) “… are instructed in elementary or secondary education at home in accordance with the home school law of the State or other jurisdiction in which [they] reside.” Furthermore, home school students must carry (b) “… a subject load which is considered full-time for day students under standards and practices set by the State or other jurisdiction in which [they] reside.” (The full text of §404.367 is available on-line.
According to Social Security Administration Policy RS 00205.275, student benefits are payable if: the student is a full time student; the state in which the home school is located recognizes home schools as an educational institution; the home school is in compliance with state requirements for home schools; and the student meets all other requirements for benefits. This policy goes on to say, “The child’s home school instructor must submit evidence that state requirements for home schooling are met. The home schooling instructor is the certifying school official for FTA purposes on Form SSA-1372, Student’s Statement Regarding School Attendance.” (Form available here.)
The state of Texas recognizes home schools as private schools and the only requirement for them is to pursue a curriculum that meets the basic educational goals of reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics and a study of good citizenship. For Texas students, evidence of complying with state law would simply be a list of the courses being taught. (Click here for a legal opinion by counsel to the SSA concerning Texas State Law Requirements for Home Schooling.)
If you have trouble claiming benefits from state or federal agencies because of your home school status, you may call the THSC Association at (806) 744-4441.