Senior Living

/

Health

Social Security and You: There's a Reason for All the Rules

Tom Margenau on

Sometimes readers take me to task for not explaining a particular facet of the law when I write a column about some Social Security topic or another. I usually respond by pointing out that if I tried to cover every "if, and or but" associated with whatever Social Security topic I am trying to explain, my column would fill up half the newspaper or website in which it appears. And I recently came across a good example of this.

A reader asked me when benefits to his daughter would end. He is getting retirement benefits and has one minor daughter left at home collecting dependent benefits on his record. I responded by saying this: "Student benefits end when the child reaches age 18 but can continue until 19 if the child is still in high school."

But then out of curiosity, I checked the Social Security Administration rule book about this issue. And that rule book went on for about 10 pages answering the same question I answered in that one sentence!

It started out by going over the general policy (essentially my one-sentence answer), but then it went on and on and on to cover all the possible exceptions that could occur. Here is just a brief summary. (In the sections below, "FTA" means full-time attendance.)

No. 1: Student graduates and benefits terminate before age 19.

James attained age 18 in March and graduated from a secondary level program in May. He has no plans to continue attendance in a secondary level program, so his benefits terminate in June.

 

No. 2: Student graduates before age 19 and continues in FTA in a secondary level course. Her student benefits terminate before age 19.

Emily attains age 18 in April and graduates from a secondary school in June. She is on vacation in July and August and plans to continue FTA at a secondary school September through December. Her benefits terminate in January because she is no longer in FTA.

No. 3: Student graduates before age 19 and continues in FTA in a secondary level course. Her student benefits terminate at age 19.

Emily attains age 18 in April and graduates from a secondary school in June. She continues in FTA in a secondary level course in September, planning to attend through June. She receives benefits based on her FTA in a secondary level program through March. Her benefits terminate in April, the month she attains age 19, because she already graduated from secondary school.

...continued

swipe to next page
 

Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus
 

Comics

Cathy Dan Wasserman Mother Goose & Grimm Free Range Herb and Jamaal Barney Google And Snuffy Smith