The Owens v. Schweiker Acquiescence Ruling (AR 86-17(9)) was rescinded on 11/27/98 because, by means of
a regulations change, SSA changed its policy concerning which version of State law
to apply in death cases. (See GN 00306.075). SSA now incorporates the Owens court's holding on a nationwide basis when the version of State law in effect at
the time we render our final decision on the claim is the version most beneficial
to the child. Since the AR is no longer in effect, we have deleted the pertinent processing
instructions but retained the following background information for historical purposes.
Any questions about how cases were processed under Owens should be directed to the Applications, Adjudication, and Relationship Team of the
Office of Program Benefits, Division of Eligibility and Enumeration Policy.
The following is for informational purposes only:
In the case of Owens v Schweiker , 692 F.2d 80 (9th Cir. 1982), the court ruled that we must apply the version of
the law of intestate succession in effect in the State of the worker's last domicile
at the time of the determination or decision on the child's claim. When the Court
of Appeals decided the Owens case, SSA regulations implementing section 216(h)(2)(A) of the Social Security Act
required adjudicators to apply the version of that State's law in effect at the time
of the NH's death.
The Owens AR was effective from 5/21/86 until 11/27/98, and applied at all adjudicative levels
within the Ninth Circuit. It applied in all determinations or decisions issued on
or after May 21, 1986 regardless of the month of entitlement if, at the time of the
determination or decision, the claimant was residing in the Ninth Circuit, which includes
Alaska, Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Northern Mariana
Islands, Oregon, and Washington.
Benefits paid as a result of applying the AR are not terminated simply because the
beneficiary no longer resides in the Ninth Circuit. All deductions, suspensions and
nonpayment events listed in RS 00203.030 apply to the beneficiaries entitled under this ruling.