TN 5 (09-98)

RS 01310.030 Claimant and Child Under Age 16 Not Living Together

A. POLICY - GENERAL

A claimant does not have a child in care on a continuing basis, even if the conditions in RS 01310.030D. are met, if they are not living together and any one of the following apply:

  • the claimant is mentally disabled (regardless of whether or not confined in an institution);

  • a court order has removed the child from the claimant's custody and control (see RS 01310.030D.5. if the claimant retains the right to control of the child);

  • the claimant and the claimant's spouse are separated or divorced and the claimant has lost or relinquished the right to control of the child (see RS 01310.030D.1.b. NOTE and RS 01310.030D.7. for benefits on a month by month basis);

  • the child is under the jurisdiction of a court-appointed guardian (of the child's person) other than the claimant; or

  • the claimant has relinquished the right to custody and control of the child to some other person or agency (see RS 01310.030D.4.a. for benefits on a month by month basis).

B. POLICY - TEMPORARY SEPARATION

The claimant has the child in care if the separation is expected to end within 6 months from the date it began, provided the child customarily lives with the claimant and is in the claimant's care when they live together.

Follow instructions in RS 01310.030E.

C. POLICY - SEPARATION INDEFINITE OR IN EXCESS OF 6 MONTHS

If the claimant and child are not living together and the separation will be for an indefinite period or is not expected to end within 6 months, the child is in the claimant's care only under the conditions described in RS 01310.030D.

D. POLICY - TYPE OF SEPARATION

1. Child Away at School

a. General

The claimant is exercising parental control and responsibility during such separation (and child is considered in care) if:

  • the claimant supervises the child's activities and participates in the important decisions about the child's physical and mental needs;

  • the child spends an annual vacation of 30 consecutive days or more with the claimant, unless it is not feasible for the child to return home or to remain with the claimant for that length of time, during the vacation; and

  • where the claimant is separated from the child's other parent, the school authorities look to the claimant when they have a question concerning the child's welfare and care, and the child normally returns to the claimant during vacations.

b. Assumption

Assume the required supervision and participation by the claimant (RS 01310.030D.1.a. first bullet) if the child is not under the exclusive control and jurisdiction of the school. In the usual boarding, military or prep school situation, the child is not under the exclusive control and jurisdiction of the school.

NOTE: If the claimant has lost or relinquished the right to custody and control of the child, the child is in the claimant's care only during the time the child is with the claimant on vacation, provided the vacation period is at least 30 consecutive days and the claimant supervises the child's activities and participates in important decisions about the child's physical and mental needs.

2. Employment of Claimant

The claimant is exercising parental control and responsibility only if the claimant:

  • supervises the child's activities;

  • participates in the important decisions about the child's physical and mental needs; and

  • makes regular and substantial contributions to the child's support as defined in RS 01301.005.

3. Physical Illness or Disability

A claimant may be separated from a child because of either individual's physical illness/disability. The claimant is exercising parental control and responsibility if the claimant supervises the child's activities and participates in the important decisions about the child's physical and mental needs.

4. Child in Job Corps

a. Child is Resident Job Corps Enrollee

If the child returns home only during vacation periods, the child is not living with the claimant while at the center. By signing the consent statement, the claimant has relinquished control and custody of the child to the Job Corps. If the child returns home during vacation periods, the child may be in the claimant's care for those periods if the conditions in RS 01310.025 are met.

b. Child is Non-Resident Job Corps Enrollee

When the child returns home to the claimant either weekends or evenings, the child is in the claimant's care if, while the child is home, the claimant exercises parental control and responsibility for the welfare of the child.

5. Court Order Removing Child

If the claimant alleges that the child is still under his/her control despite the separation, secure a certified copy of the court order and complete development required by RS 01310.030E. If the order merely removed the child from the claimant's custody but not from the claimant's control, and if the claimant supervises the child's activities and participates in the important decisions about the child's physical and mental needs, the child is in the claimant's care.

6. Joint Custody

Where the claimant and the claimant's ex-spouse have joint custody of the child and the child is with the claimant's ex-spouse, the child is in the claimant's care if the claimant exercises parental control and responsibility when the child is with the other parent. Otherwise, the child is in the claimant's care only when they are together for a period of at least 30 consecutive days.

7. Child in Sole Custody of Separated or Divorced Parent

If the child is in the sole custody of a separated or divorced parent, other than the claimant, but the claimant has not lost or relinquished the right to control of the child, the child may be in the claimant's care if the claimant supervises the child's activities and participates in the important decisions about the child's physical and mental needs. If the claimant has lost or relinquished the right to control, the child is in the claimant's care only if the child spends 30 or more consecutive days with the claimant and the claimant supervises the child's activities and participates in important decisions about the child's physical and mental needs.

E. PROCEDURE

1. General

In every case where the claimant and an entitled child are separated, regardless of the expected length of the separation, obtain Forms SSA-781, (Certificate of Responsibility for Welfare and Care of Child Not in Applicant's Custody) and SSA-788 (Statement of Care and Responsibility for Beneficiary). Obtain both forms except where the child is away at school (see RS 01310.030E.6.) or living alone (see RS 01310.030E.7.).

Per GN 00301.286D.4.b. the SSA-781 and SSA-788 are excluded from the electronic evidence documentation process. See GN 00301.322 regarding retention of paper material.

2. Circumstances Surrounding the Separation

Corroborate the claimant's statement on the SSA-781 as to the reason for the separation by obtaining a statement from the person with whom the child is living. Where necessary, obtain facts to ascertain whether the claimant is exercising parental control and responsibility. The FO should submit its own report and recommendation in every case where the claimant is separated from the child.

3. Length of Separation Temporary

a. Completing SSA-781

If the separation is to be temporary, the SSA-781 should indicate the expected duration of the separation and, if the separation will end on a definite date, that ending date. If the ending date has not been definitely set, the SSA-781 should so indicate.

b. Instructing Claimant

Tell the claimant to notify the Program Center (PC) in writing as soon as the probable ending date is known. Also, tell the claimant to notify the PC immediately when the child returns to live with the claimant so that payments will not be stopped after 6 months.

c. Diary

Diary the case for suspension at the end of the 1st 6 months following the month the separation began.

4. Benefit Suspension/Continuation

When the temporary separation has ended, the claimant must send notice. If payment depends on the claimant having a child in care, suspend the claimant's benefits at the end of the first 6 months after the start of the separation, unless notice is given that the separation has ended. If there is any doubt to the truthfulness of the claimants notification that the child has returned, make a personal contact to determine whether they are living together.

5. Separation Continues

If the separation continues beyond the 6-month period, follow the instructions in RS 01310.030D. in determining whether the claimant has the child in care.

6. Child at School

If the child is away at school, obtain an SSA-788 from an authorizing school official, in addition to an SSA-781 from the claimant. If the child is attending college (while under age 16), in lieu of the SSA-788, obtain a statement from the child showing contributions by the claimant, whether the child spends vacations with the claimant, and whether the claimant writes or gives instructions in any way.

7. Child Living Alone

In addition to the SSA-781 from the claimant, obtain a statement from the child as indicated in RS 01310.030E.6.


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http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0301310030
RS 01310.030 - Claimant and Child Under Age 16 Not Living Together - 05/01/2008
Batch run: 01/27/2009
Rev:05/01/2008