TN 43 (08-08)

SI 00501.020 Student - SSI

A. Introduction

There are certain SSI exclusions that may apply to a child who is also a student. One of the exclusions is the student earned income exclusion (SEIE) described in SI 00820.510.

Effective April 1, 2005, Section 432 of the Social Security Protection Act extended the SEIE to any individual under the age of 22 who is a student. These individuals no longer need to meet the SSI definition of “child”. Individuals who are married and/or head of a household may now qualify for the SEIE provision.

The policy regarding the application of the student child definition for other exclusions has not changed.

See Details:

B. Definition of a student child

A student child is an individual who is:

  • neither married nor head of a household;

  • under age 22; and

  • regularly attending school, college, or training designed to prepare him/her for a paying job.

NOTE: Effective December 18, 2006, home schooling is considered a form of regular school attendance.

C. Policy for using the definition of a student for purposes of the SEIE

1. Effective 04/01/05

A student for purposes of the SEIE is an individual (including a deemor or member of a couple) who is:

  • under age 22; and

  • regularly attending school, college, or training designed to prepare him/her for a paying job.

For information related to the student earned income exclusion, see SI 00820.510.

2. Prior to 04/01/05

A student for purposes of the SEIE is an individual who meets the definition of student child. See SI 00501.020B in this section.

D. Policy for regular student attendance

1. General requirements

Regular attendance means the individual takes one or more courses of study and attends classes:

  • in a college or university for at least 8 hours per week under a semester or quarter system;

  • in grades 7 - 12 for at least 12 hours per week;

  • in a course of training to prepare him/her for a paying job for at least 15 hours per week if the course involves shop practice, or 12 hours per week if it does not involve shop practice (This kind of training includes anti-poverty programs, such as the Job Corps and government-supported courses in self-improvement.); or

  • for less than the amount of time indicated above for reasons beyond the student's control, such as illness, if the circumstances justify the reduced credit load or attendance.

EXAMPLE: School attendance less than the required hours

A disabled individual is forced to limit vocational school attendance to one day per week due to the unavailability of transportation. Although the student is enrolled for attendance of less than 12 hours per week, he qualifies as regularly attending school because the lack of transportation is a circumstance beyond his control.

2. Home-Schooled students

Effective 12/18/06, an individual may be a student regularly attending school when he/she is instructed at home:

  • in grades 7 – 12 (See SI 00501.020F.3. in this section);

  • for at least 12 hours per week (See SI 00501.020H.4. in this section); and

  • in accordance with the home school law of the State or other jurisdiction in which he/she resides (See SI 00501.020H.7. to determine whether the home schooling is in accordance with the home school law of the State or other jurisdiction of the individual’s residence).

NOTE: Prior to 12/18/06, an individual who was being home-schooled, but was not homebound, did not meet the definition of a student.

3. Homebound students

An individual may be a student regularly attending school when he/she:

  • must stay home because of a disability;

  • studies a course or courses given by a school (grades 7 - 12), college, university, or government agency; and

  • has a home visitor or tutor from school who directs the studying or training.

E. Policy for periods of nonattendance

1. Vacation

An individual remains a student when classes are out if he/she actually attends classes regularly just before the time classes are out and:

  • tells SSA that he/she intends to resume attending regularly when school reopens; or

  • actually does resume attending regularly when school reopens.

2. Absence due to a recommendation of a teacher or counselor

A student's counselor or teacher may believe the student needs to stay out of class for a short time during the course or between courses to enable him/her to continue study or training. Consider the individual to be a student regularly attending school, college, or training to prepare him/her for a paying job if he/she is in a course:

  • designed to prepare disabled people for work; or

  • to prepare the individual for a job that is specially set up for people who cannot work at ordinary jobs.

3. Attendance in the last month of school

An individual is a student regularly attending school for the month in which he/she completes or stops the course of study or training.

F. Policy for school attendance

1. General

Attendance at any school (other than an elementary school, but including vocational school/training), college, or university is acceptable to satisfy the student requirement.

2. Elementary school attendance (Grades 1 - 6)

Attendance at an elementary school does not satisfy the student requirement.

3. School attendance in grades 7 - 12

The individual meets the requirement if he/she is:

  1. taking the standard academic or vocational high school course at a school, college, or training facility;

  2. receiving instruction in a standard academic or vocational high school course at home; or

  3. taking a course of study that is not part of, or equivalent to, the regular high school curriculum (e.g., a special course for self-help skills), but that does meet the following criteria:

    • the special course is designed to prepare the individual for a paying job, and

    • meets the required attendance hours. (See SI 00501.020D.1. in this section.)

    NOTE: If the instruction is received at home, it must be in accordance with the home school law of the State or other jurisdiction of residence. (See SI 00501.020 H.7.a. in this section.)

4. Examples

a. Enrollment in special course of study

A 19-year-old student is attending a public high school. The student does not attend regular classes but receives special training to meet personal needs such as combing hair, dressing, and eating.

This individual is not a student for SSI purposes despite attendance at a secondary school facility because the course is not part of the secondary school curriculum and is not designed to prepare the individual for a paying job.

b. Student in a training course

A student in the AAA Workshop for the Blind goes to school 20 hours per week. She spends 15 hours per week learning various office skills and 5 hours per week learning personal grooming skills. At the conclusion of the course, she will be able to use office skills for a paying job (sheltered or in the competitive job market).

The 15 hours per week spent on learning office skills meets the required attendance hours and qualifies her as a student for SSI purposes.

G. Procedure when a student changes intent to return to school

When a student changes intent to return to school, determine that the individual is no longer a student effective with the month the intent changed.

EXAMPLE: Jane Lett is a 19-year-old enrolled in a vocational course. She completes one-half of the course in June. She plans to return to school for the second half in late August.

In October, the field office (FO) discovers that she did not return to school. Effective August 1, she loses her student status.

H. Procedure for development and documentation of school attendance

1. General

Develop school attendance in the following situations:

  • whenever an applicant/recipient/deemor age 18 up to age 22 alleges being a student;

  • for any individual under age 18 (but at least grade 7) only if he/she expects to earn over $65 in a month; or

  • for an individual age 18 to 22 that could be included in the parent-to-child and spouse-to-spouse deeming computations (i.e., an ineligible child).

    NOTE: Prior to 06/16/08, an ineligible child could be considered a student only until attainment of age 21.

2. Developing school attendance

Obtain the following information from the applicant/recipient:

  • name and address of the school, institution, or instructor (in home schooling situations) furnishing the training;

  • name and telephone number of the person to contact for verification, if necessary; and

  • information on the course or courses of study, dates of enrollment, number of hours of attendance, and other activities of the individual.

3. School enrollment

  1. Verify enrollment by:

    • examining a school record such as an ID card, tuition receipt, or other comparable evidence;

    • contacting the school or agency, but only if the individual does not have the evidence; or

    • reviewing documentation proving the home schooling is in accordance with the home school law of the State or other jurisdiction of residence.

  2. Document the claimant’s file/electronic claims file with the enrollment information. If you contact the school or agency, accept either a written statement from the contact or an oral statement.

  3. Record the evidence submitted on EVID and verification received orally on the DROC screen in MSSICS (GN 00301.285). Be sure to include the date of contact, contact person’s name, and telephone number.

4. Student's allegation of the number of hours of attendance

If the allegation of attendance meets the regular attendance standards in this section at SI 00501.020D.1., accept the student's allegation of the number of hours of attendance without requesting school certification of attendance. If the student alleges a reduced credit load or attendance due to circumstances beyond his or her control, obtain an explanation from the student and document the information in MSSICS on the appropriate screen.

5. Special Education

If a student indicates he/she is enrolled in special education for the disabled that does not satisfy the standard academic or vocational training requirements, develop to determine whether the individual meets the school attendance requirements (e.g., the course contains training to prepare him/her for a paying job) as described in this section at SI 00501.020F.3.

6. Vocational or technical training

If a student indicates he/she is enrolled in vocational or technical training, develop to determine if the vocational or technical training is designed to prepare the individual for gainful employment. Absent evidence to the contrary, accept the school’s or agency’s allegations that the course or program contains training to prepare him/her for a paying job as described in this section at SI 00501.020F.3.

7. Home schooling

a. Regular school attendance is in the form of home schooling

If regular school attendance is in the form of home schooling and the individual meets the first two criteria of a home schooled student described in this section at SI 00501.020D.2., then you must determine whether the home schooling is in accordance with the home school law of the of the State or other jurisdiction in which the individual resides.

To determine whether a legal precedent opinion (LPO) exists for the State or other jurisdiction in which the home school is located, refer to PS 08005.000. Depending on the State requirements, this evidence may include:

  • a copy of the certificate of intent;

  • documentation that State-mandated tests were taken;

  • the education level of the home school teacher;

  • a list of the courses being taught; or

  • a copy of the attendance log or chart.

b. A Legal Precedent Opinion (LPO) exists in PS 08005.000 for the State or other jurisdiction in which the home school is located

Review the existing LPO in PS 08005.000 to determine whether the home schooling is in accordance with the law of the State or other jurisdiction of residence; and to determine the type of documentation needed to prove the home-schooling meets the requirements of the law. Request the appropriate documentation regarding the requirements specified in the LPO.

c. Legal Precedent Opinion (LPO) does not exist for the State or other jurisdiction in which the home school is located

If an LPO does not exist in PS 08005.000, then obtain an opinion following the procedures in GN 01010.815 “FO’s Initial Request for Legal Opinion”.

Upon receipt of the opinion,

  • Document the claimant’s file or electronic claims record following the procedures in GN 01010.810 “Legal Precedent Opinions”;

  • Review the LPO to determine the type of documentation needed; and

  • Request the appropriate documentation based on the requirements specified in the LPO.

d. If documentation specified in the LPO is not submitted

Determine that the home schooling is not in accordance with the home school law of the State or other jurisdiction of residence.

Document the claimant’s file/electronic claims record accordingly.

I. References


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0500501020
SI 00501.020 - Student - SSI - 07/26/2012
Batch run: 07/26/2012
Rev:07/26/2012