PR 01120.024 Massachusetts
A. PR 04-273 (Massachusetts) Effective Date of Child Relationship - Massachusetts
DATE: June 18, 2004
DNA test results performed on the child claimant, mother, and NH's parents showing a 99.98% probability that the NH was the child's father provide clear and convincing evidence of paternity. The child has inheritance rights under Massachusetts law but is not legitimated. The parent-child relationship is effective with the date the test results were certified.
This is in response to your request for an opinion concerning the effective date of a parent-child relationship under Massachusetts law. The materials you submitted indicate that on May 20, 2004, Aileen B~ filed for surviving child benefits on behalf of Tahycha L. V~, who was born on March 29, 1997. The wage earner, Danny V~, died on December 13, 2003 while domiciled in Massachusetts. There is no indication that the wage earner and the child's mother were ever married, and there was no acknowledgement of paternity by the wage earner.
Ms. B~ provided as proof of paternity the results of DNA testing performed on the mother, the child and the wage earner's parents, certified on April 5, 2004, which concluded that there was a 99.98% probability that Danny V~ was the child's father. For the following reasons, it is our opinion that a parent-child relationship cannot be found to have existed prior to the DNA results certified on April 5, 2004.
Under POMS GN 00306.520, the DNA testing provides clear and convincing evidence that the wage earner was the child's father. The lack of a court finding of paternity is irrelevant, since SSA will apply the same standard of proof to determine paternity that a state court would use. See 20 C.F.R. 404.355(b)(2). Based upon the clear evidence of paternity, the child would be allowed to inherit from the wage earner under Massachusetts law. However, the DNA results do not legitimate the child, and would have no retroactive effect under state law. Accordingly, a parent-child relationship cannot be established prior to April 5, 2004, the date the test results were certified. POMS GN 00306.055.