In evaluating the use of benefits, it is important to note that foreign cases can
present special situations. Due to unique family customs in foreign countries, the
term “proper use” may have a broader meaning than when applied to domestic cases. In foreign countries,
it is not unusual for only one member of a large household to be entitled to Social
Security benefits. In some cultures, these households are quite large and encompass
more than those living in the same house. They include individuals in the beneficiary's
immediate family (i.e., parents, sisters and brothers), as well as distant relations
and unrelated individuals. The Social Security benefits often represent a substantial
part, if not all, of the income to the household.
In such cases, Social Security benefits are often merged with any other income and
used indiscriminately for all members of the household. No attempt is made to segregate
the beneficiary's funds for his/her use to meet any special expenses, or to conserve
funds. His/her current needs are met in the same proportion and manner as other members
of the household.
The degree to which the beneficiary derives social or psychological support from such
an extended or kinship family structure is difficult to measure. It is unrealistic
to attempt to establish the value of the benefits derived by the beneficiary as a
member of a communal family household where all members customarily share and share
alike. It is equally unrealistic to expect that the beneficiary's funds would be held
separate to meet only his/her needs or to provide him/her with a standard of living
significantly different from his household group.