You have requested our opinion as to the validity of a "decree of adoption" in the
State of Nevada under which an adult claimant for child's insurance benefits was adopted
by another adult, the wage earner upon whose record the claimant is seeking benefits.
The claimant, Alan V~, was twenty-eight years old and married in August 1993 when
a "decree of adoption" was issued by a Nevada state district court pursuant to which
the claimant was adopted by the wage earner, Thomas W. G~. The claimant's mother had
been married to the wage earner since November 1989. The claimant applied for child's
insurance benefits as a disabled adult child on the account of the wage earner on
July 7, 1995. He submitted a Nevada divorce decree dated July 18, 1995 indicating
that he had been divorced from his wife effective that date.
It is our opinion that the "decree of adoption" is valid under Nevada law. Pursuant
to sections 127.190 and 127.200 of the Nevada Revised Statutes, any adult can adopt
"any other adult person younger than himself" provided the parties agree to the adoption
and the spouse of the adoptee consents to the adoption. The decree of adoption here
specifies that the claimant's spouse had consented to the adoption, and there does
not appear to be any other basis to question the validity of the adoption decree.
(We assume, of course, that the wage earner is older than the claimant.)
Accordingly, SSA should consider the Nevada adoption decree to be valid and to process
the claim for child's insurance benefits pursuant to the controlling standards.!