You asked for the effective date of Claimant, Jessica L~' entitlement to child's survivor
benefits based on the account of the wage earner (WE) Frank L~.
Based on the application filed on September 2, 1998, Claimant is entitled to child's
survivor benefits beginning with the month of May 1998.
SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE
The WE died domiciled in California on May 9, 1998. Claimant's mother filed an application
for child's insurance benefits on Claimant's behalf on September 2, 1998.
Following denials at the initial and reconsideration levels, the claimant requested
a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). The ALJ held a hearing on February
18, 2000, at which Claimant's mother and another witness testified. In a decision
issued on March 31, 2000, the ALJ found that Claimant was entitled to child's survivor
benefits on the WE's account because she established the parent-child relationship
under California intestacy law. 42 U.S.C. 416(h)(2)(A); California Probate Code section
Social Security regulations, not California law, provide the date of entitlement to
benefits. A person inherits intestate from a parent under California law when she
can show the parent-child relationship as required under the California Probate Code.
Here, the ALJ found that Claimant satisfied California law. The filing date of the
Social Security application determines when the Social Security Administration begins
paying monthly benefits. 20 C.F.R. section 404.321(a) (1999).
Under 20 C.F.R. section 404.621(a)(ii), a claimant may receive child's survivor benefits
up to six months before the month she files the application if she files after the
month she could have been entitled to them. The benefits begin with the first month
in which she meets all of the requirements for entitlement.
To meet all of the requirements for entitlement to child survivor benefits on a wage
earner's account, a claimant must file an application and show that the wage earner
has died fully or currently insured, that she is the child of the wage earner, that
she was dependent on the wage earner (a natural child is deemed dependent), that she
is unmarried and that she is under age 18. 42 U.S.C. section 402(d)(1); 20 C.F.R section
In this case, Claimant's mother filed the application for survivor benefits for Claimant
on September 2, 1998, after Claimant became entitled to benefits. Claimant met all
the requirements for entitlement to benefits on May 9, 1998, the date the WE died
fully insured under the Social Security Act. Claimant was the natural child of the
WE, and accordingly, was deemed dependent on the WE. Claimant was born in 1984, and
thus was under the age of 18. Claimant's mother reported that Claimant was unmarried.
Because benefits can begin up to six months before the date of filing the application
(September 2, 1998) and can begin no earlier than the month in which the claimant
meets all the requirements of entitlement (May 1998), Claimant became entitled to
benefits in the month of May 1998.
Claimant is entitled to benefits beginning in May 1998.