You have requested our opinion as to when Akira M~ acquired the status of being the
"child" of deceased number holder (NH) Rane M~, SSN ~, for purposes of an award of
child's insurance benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act. For the reasons
stated below, we believe Akira would be considered the NH's child as of the date of
Based on your memorandum and the copies of documents you have provided, we find the
relevant facts of this matter to be as follows. Akira was born to Ma'ani E. R~ (Ma'ani),
who was unmarried, on April 17, 1998. During the probable period of conception, she
was cohabiting off and on with both the NH (with whom she had another child, born
in 1995, who is currently receiving benefits) and Brandon B~ (Brandon). When Akira
was born, the NH was incarcerated. Since Brandon assumed the child was his, he attended
the birth and apparently agreed to have his name appear on the birth certificate.
Two weeks later, Ma'ani and Brandon placed Akira with Ma'ani's parents, the R~s, who
have continued to care for him since then.
On August 8, 1998, the NH died in Colorado. Before his death, he purportedly told
the R~s that Akira was his child. In 1999, when the NH's mother (who was caring for
his first child) started "making claims" on Akira, the R~s arranged for genetic testing
to ascertain who the boy's father was. Based on test results showing a 99.88 percent
probability that the NH was the father, the Juvenile Court in La Plata County, Colorado,
issued an "Order Re: Declaration of Paternity" on December 8, 1999, finding that the
NH was Akira's father. In addition, pursuant to the court's order, a new birth certificate
was issued on February 4, 2000, naming the NH as Akira's father and changing Akira's
last name from B~ to M~.
As pertinent here, Colorado law of intestate succession provides that "an individual
is the child of his or her birth parents regardless of their marital status. The parent
and child relationship may be established under the 'Uniform Parentage Act,' article
4 of title 19, C.R.S. [Colorado Revised Statutes]."
C.R.S. § 15-11-114(1). Under C.R.S. § 19-4-116(1), an "order of the court determining
the existence or nonexistence of the parent and child relationship is determinative
for all purposes." Paragraph (2) of this section states that if the court's order
varies from the child's birth certificate, "the court shall order that a new birth
certificate be issued under section 19-4-124," as was done here. Finally, C.R.S. §
14-4-124(2) provides that "[t]he fact that the father and child relationship was declared
after the child's birth shall not be ascertainable from the new certificate . . .
Based on the court's order regarding Akira's paternity and the above-described statutes,
we conclude that Akira's status as the child of the NH dates back to his birth, even
though the actual paternity determination was not made until December 1999.