TN 53 (06-17)

PR 07905.011 Florida

A. PR 17-092 Eligibility for Childhood Insurance Benefits as a Full-Time Student Based on Enrollment at Ogburn Online School

Date: February 9, 2017

1. Syllabus

Ogburn Online School is an educational institution under Florida law. It is a private, accredited online school for grades K-12.

2. Opinion

QUESTION

You asked whether Ogburn Online School (Ogburn), an online entity located in Florida, is an educational institution for determining if the claimant, a Mississippi resident, is eligible for child's insurance benefits (CIB) as a full-time secondary school student. You also asked whether the claimant in full-time attendance.

OPINION

Ogburn is an educational institution under Florida law. The claimant also meets state and Federal standards for full-time attendance for determining his eligibility for CIB.

BACKGROUND

According to the information provided, C~ (Claimant) was receiving CIB on the earnings record of his father, M~, the number holder. The Social Security Administration (SSA) terminated Claimant’s CIB in December 2016 following his eighteenth birthday on December XX, 2016. Claimant seeks CIB beyond the age of eighteen, alleging full-time attendance as a secondary school student at Ogburn.

On October 10, 2016, Claimant completed a Student's Statement Regarding School Attendance form (Form SSA-1372), providing a Mississippi mailing address. Claimant indicated he was in full-time attendance at or through Ogburn, located in Fernandina Beach, Florida. Claimant reported that the school year began on November 9, 2015, ended on November 15, 2016, and he expected to graduate in December 2017. Claimant reported he made his schedule each week and averaged 25 hours per week. Claimant also reported he was not disabled, married, or receiving payment from an employer to attend school. F~, an Ogburn Administrative Coordinator, completed and signed the Certification of School Official page of Form SSA-1372 and affirmed the information Claimant provided was correct. F~ also affirmed that Ogburn’s course of study was at least 13 weeks in duration. The undersigned attorney also contacted another administrator with Ogburn, who stated that Ogburn monitors student attendance through their login history, coursework completion, and all assignments are time stamped. The administrator also stated that students must complete ten live sessions with instructors, whereby the students can see the instructor online and can ask questions of the instructor with a microphone or through an instant message interface. Ogburn's website states that students have ten months to complete a grade level. See Ogburn Online School, Grading Scale & Grading Policies, http://www.ogburnonlineschool.com/grading-scale-policy/ (last visited Feb. 1, 2017).

According to Ogburn’s website, Ogburn is a private, accredited, online school for grades K-12. See Ogburn, Ogburn Online High School, http://www.ogburnonlineschool.com/ (last visited Feb. 6, 2017). Ogburn’s website states that Ogburn is accredited by: The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI), AdvancED – The Unified organization of the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI), Accreditation International (Ai), The Middle School Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA CESS), The Association of Independent Schools of Florida (AISF), and The National Council for Private School Accreditation (NCPSA). See Ogburn Online School, Accreditation, http://www.ogburnonlineschool.com/accreditation/ (last visited Jan. 30, 2017).

DISCUSSION

To be eligible for CIB on the earnings record of an individual entitled to old-age insurance benefits, a claimant who is 18 years or older and not disabled must be a "full-time elementary or secondary school student." See Social Security Act (Act) § 202(d)(1)(B)(i), (d)(7)(A); see 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.350(a)(5), 404.367 (2016); Program Operations Manual System (POMS) RS 00205.001.A. A claimant may qualify as a "full-time elementary or secondary school student" if he or she attends an educational institution, i.e., a school that provides elementary or secondary education (twelfth grade or below) as determined under the law of the state in which the school is located. See Act § 202(d)(7)(A), (d)(7)(C); 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(a), (e); POMS RS 00205.001.A; POMS RS 00205.200.A.

A claimant also must attend school full time to qualify as a "full-time elementary or secondary school student." See Act § 202(d)(7)(A); 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(b), (c); POMS RS 00205.001.A; POMS RS 00205.300.A. A claimant attending an online school is in full-time attendance if he or she is attending an educational institution and meets both state and Federal standards for full-time attendance. See POMS RS 00205.295.B; POMS RS 00205.300.A. A claimant meets the state standards for full-time attendance if a qualifying educational institution considers the individual to be a full-time student based on the institution's standards and practices. See Act § 202(d)(7)(A); 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(b); POMS RS 00205.300.B; POMS RS 00205.350.C.1. A claimant meets the Federal standards if he or she is scheduled to attend school at the rate of at least 20 hours per week, enrolled in a noncorrespondence course, and enrolled in a course of study lasting at least 13 weeks. See Act § 202(d)(7)(A); 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(b), (c); POMS RS 00205.300.C.

Educational Institution under Florida Law

Ogburn is located in Fernandina Beach, Florida. Therefore, we look to Florida law to determine whether Ogburn is a school that provides elementary or secondary education. See Act § 202(d)(7)(C)(i); 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(a); POMS RS 00205.200.A. Florida law requires regular school attendance for children ages six through sixteen. See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1003.21(1) (West 2016). A child is in regular school attendance under Florida law if he or she attends a public school; a parochial, religious, or denominational school; a private school supported in whole or in part by tuition charges or by endowments or gifts; a home education program; or a private tutoring program. See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1003.01(13) (citing Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1003.21).

The evidence shows that Ogburn qualifies as a private school under Florida law. Ogburn is a private accredited online school for grades K-12. See Ogburn, Ogburn Online High School, http://www.ogburnonlineschool.com/ (last viewed Feb. 6, 2017). Florida law does not regulate the establishment of private schools in Florida. See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.42; State v. M.M., 407 So. 2d 987, 990 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1981). However, private schools in Florida must register and file an annual survey with the Florida Department of Education. See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.42(2)(b); Fla. Dep’t of Educ., K-12 Private Schools, General Requirements, http://www.fldoe.org/schools/school-choice/private-schools/general-requirements.stml (last viewed Feb. 6, 2017); Fla. Dep’t of Educ., K-12 Private Schools, Annual Survey, http://www.fldoe.org/schools/school-choice/private-schools/annual-survey.stml (last viewed Feb. 6, 2017). Private schools in Florida also must keep attendance records to demonstrate compliance with Florida's compulsory attendance requirements and must meet certain health and safety requirements. See Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 1002.42(4)-(6), 1003.23(2); Fla. Dep’t of Educ., K-12 Private Schools, Detailed Requirements for Private Schools, http://www.fldoe.org/schools/school-choice/private-schools/requirements-for-private-schools.stml (last viewed Feb. 6, 2017).

The Florida Department of Education’s website contains a database of private schools in the State. See Fla. Dep’t of Educ., Fla. Private Schools Directory, http://www.floridaschoolchoice.org/information/PrivateSchoolDirectory/Default.aspx (last viewed Jan. 30, 2017). The website states the "[i]nformation contained in this database was submitted by private schools as part of the annual survey requirement found in section 1002.42, Florida Statutes." Fla. Dep’t of Educ., Fla. Private Schools Directory, http://www.floridaschoolchoice.org/information/PrivateSchoolDirectory/Default.aspx (last viewed Jan. 30, 2017). Ogburn is listed as a private school in Florida within the Nassau County school district, where it is located. See id. Additionally, the evidence presented demonstrates that Ogburn meets Florida requirements for a private school. Ogburn’s website states the school is a private online school that issues high school diplomas. See Ogburn Online School, Graduation Requirements, http://www.ogburnonlineschool.com/graduation-requirements/ (last visited Feb. 1, 2017). Ogburn’s website also indicates that it charges tuition, making it supported "in whole or in part" by tuition charges. See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1003.01(13)(c); Ogburn Online School, Frequently Asked Questions, http://www.ogburnonlineschool.com/frequently-asked-questions/ (last visited Feb. 1, 2017). Accordingly, the evidence establishes that Ogburn is an educational institution under Florida law for determining whether Claimant is a full-time elementary or secondary school student. See Act § 202(d)(7)(A), (d)(7)(C); 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(a); POMS RS 00205.001.A; POMS RS 00205.200.A.

Full-Time Attendance

The evidence also shows that Claimant’s instruction through Ogburn satisfies the requirements for full-time attendance. See Act § 202(d)(7)(A); 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(b), (c); POMS RS 00205.300.A. Claimant meets the state full-time attendance standards because F~, an Ogburn Administrative Coordinator, indicated Claimant is a full-time student based on Ogburn’s standards and practices. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(b); Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1003.01(13); POMS RS 00205.300.B; POMS RS 00205.350.B, C.1. Claimant meets the Federal standards for full-time attendance because he reported, and F~ confirmed, that he attends Ogburn at least 20 hours per week; the evidence does not indicate that Ogburn’s courses are correspondence courses; and F~ indicated that Ogburn’s course of study lasts at least 13 weeks. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(b), (c); POMS RS 00205.295.B; POMS RS 00205.300.C.

CONCLUSION

Ogburn is an educational institution under Florida law. Further, Claimant is in full-time attendance based on his instruction through Ogburn.

Sincerely,

Mary Ann Sloan

Regional Chief Counsel

By: Natalie K. Jemison

Assistant Regional Counsel

B. PR 17-050 Eligibility for Child’s Insurance Benefits as a Full-Time Elementary or Secondary School Student Based on Attendance at Florida Unschoolers -- Florida

Date: February 15, 2017

1. Syllabus

Florida Unschoolers, a private umbrella school for home educators that provides elementary through secondary education, is an educational institution under Florida law.

2. Opinion

QUESTION

You asked whether Florida Unschoolers, an entity located in Florida, is an educational institution for determining the beneficiary’s eligibility for child’s insurance benefits (CIB) as a full-time elementary or secondary school student. You also asked whether the beneficiary meets the full-time attendance (FTA) requirements.

OPINION

Florida Unschoolers is an educational institution under Florida law. Additionally, based on the available information, the beneficiary is in full-time attendance at Florida Unschoolers for determining her eligibility for child’s insurance benefits.

BACKGROUND

According to the information provided, C~ (Beneficiary) currently receives CIB on the earnings record of S~ and seeks to continue receiving CIB as a full-time student. On October XX, 2016, Beneficiary completed a Student’s Statement Regarding School Attendance form (Form SSA-1372) on which she provided a Florida mailing address. Beneficiary indicated that she was in full-time attendance at Florida Unschoolers, which she described as a private high school located in Hobe Sound, Florida. Beneficiary also reported that she attends Florida Unschoolers 40 hours per week and is expected to graduate on July 31, 2018. Beneficiary stated she is not disabled, married, or receiving payment from an employer to attend school. She attached a Master Record Sheet showing she was taking courses in math, English, word building, literature and creative writing, science, social studies, bible, physical education, and foods. J~, a parent, is listed as her academic advisor.

N~, the Director at Florida Unschoolers, completed and signed the Certification of School Official page of Form SSA-1372 and indicated that the information Beneficiary provided was correct according to Florida Unschoolers’ records. N~ also indicated that Florida Unschoolers’ course of study was at least 13 weeks in duration and that Florida Unschoolers operated on a quarterly/semester basis.

According to its website, Florida Unschoolers in a private umbrella school for “unschoolers and other home educators” in Florida and is listed in the Florida Department of Education (DOE) Website Directory of Private Schools under Martin County. See Welcome, https://sites.google.com/site/floridaunschoolers/ (visited Feb. 7, 2017). Florida Unschoolers does not charge tuition but does accept donations or gifts to support its expenses. See Tuition and Fees, https://sites.google.com/site/floridaunschoolers/tuition-and-fees (visited Feb. 9, 2017). To enroll a child, his/her parent or guardian must provide an information sheet, a birth certificate, a health examination, and an immunization record. See Enrollment, https://sites.google.com/site/floridaunschoolers/enrollment (visited Feb. 7, 2017). Attendance is reported online each quarter and each child must report 180 days of attendance, although “what ‘counts’ as a day” is “completely up to [the parent or guardian].” FAQ -- Attendance & General, https://sites.google.com/site/floridaunschoolers/faq----attendance-general (visited Feb. 7, 2017). If no attendance report is received, the child’s enrollment will be terminated. See Attendance -- Streamlined Reporting, https://sites.google.com/site/floridaunschoolers/attendance----streamlined-reporting (visited Feb. 9, 2017). Florida Unschoolers provides an Annual Data Survey to the State DOE every year with basic information about the school and students. See FAQ -- Attendance & General, https://sites.google.com/site/floridaunschoolers/faq----attendance-general (visited Feb. 7, 2017).

Parents, guardians, or students are not required to provide any particular information regarding the student’s education. See id. The parents, guardian, and/or student can, but are not required to, keep any particular log or portfolio and no testing or evaluation is required. See id. Florida Unschoolers students do not have to use a standard curriculum and do not have to break learning or thinking into school subjects. See This is not public school, https://sites.google.com/site/floridaunschoolers/notes-for-parents/this-is-not-public-school (visited Feb. 7, 2017). Florida Unschoolers students may take courses through Florida Virtual School (FLVS), an online program that is affiliated with Florida Unschoolers. See For parents of middle-school and high-school-aged students, https://sites.google.com/site/floridaunschoolers/notes-for-parents/for-parents-of-middle-school-and-high-school-aged-students (visited Feb. 7, 2017). Florida Unschoolers also encourages its parents, guardians, and/or students to go online and look at samples of curriculum or educational websites in determining how to educate the student. See Now What? For new unschoolers/homeschoolers, https://sites.google.com/site/floridaunschoolers/notes-for-parents/now-what (visited Feb. 7, 2017).

The Florida DOE’s database/directory of private schools lists Florida Unschoolers as a private school providing elementary through secondary education (K-12) located in Martin County. See Fla. Dep’t of Educ., Fla. School Choice, Office of Indep. Educ. & Parental Choice, Fla. Private Schools Directory, http://www.floridaschoolchoice.org/Information/PrivateSchoolDirectory (visited Feb. 3, 2016).

DISCUSSION

To be eligible for CIB on the earnings record of an insured person entitled to old-age or disability insurance benefits, or who has died, a beneficiary who is 18 years or older and not disabled must be a “full-time elementary or secondary school student.” See Social Security Act (Act) § 202(d)(1)(B)(i); 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.350(a)(5), 404.367 (2016), Program Operations Manual System (POMS) RS 00205.001.A. A beneficiary may qualify as a “full-time elementary or secondary school student” if he or she attends an educational institution, i.e., a school that provides elementary or secondary education (twelfth grade or below) according to the law of the state or jurisdiction where the school is located. See Act § 202(d)(7)(A), (d)(7)(C); 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(a); POMS RS 00205.001.A; POMS RS 00205.200.A.

A beneficiary also must attend school full time to qualify as a “full-time elementary or secondary school student.” See Act § 202(d)(7)(A); 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(b), (c); POMS RS 00205.001.A; POMS RS 00205.300.A. A beneficiary meets the state standards for full-time attendance if a qualifying educational institution considers the beneficiary to be full time based on the institution’s standards and practices. See Act § 202(d)(7)(A); 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(b); POMS RS 00205.300.B; POMS RS 00205.350.C.1. A beneficiary meets the Federal standards if he or she is scheduled to attend school at the rate of 20 hours per week, enrolled in a noncorrespondence course, and enrolled in a course of study that is at least 13 weeks in duration. See Act § 202(d)(7)(A); 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(b), (c); POMS RS 00205.300.C. The regulations and POMS do not appear to define “noncorrespondence course” or “correspondence course.” However, the POMS defines “correspondence school” as “a school that teaches by mailing lessons and exercises to the student. Upon completion, the student returns the exercises to the school for grading.” POMS RS 00205.330.A.

Florida Unschoolers is located in Hobe Sound, Florida. Therefore, we look to Florida law to determine whether Florida Unschoolers qualifies as an educational institution. See Act § 202(d)(7)(C)(i); 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(a); POMS RS 00205.200.A. Florida requires regular school attendance for children ages six through sixteen. See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1003.21(1) (West 2016). A child is in regular school attendance if he attends: a public school; a parochial, religious, or denominational school; a private school supported in whole or in part by tuition charges or by endowments or gifts; a home education program; or a private tutoring program. See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1003.01(13) (citing Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1003.21).

Under Florida law, a private school “is a non-public school defined as an individual, association, copartnership, or corporation . . . that designates itself as an educational center . . . that provides instructional services that meet the intent of” Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1003.01(13). Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.01(2); see also Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.42(1). Attendance at a private school satisfies the attendance requirements of Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1003.01(13) and 1003.21(1). See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.42(7). Florida statutes do not regulate the establishment of private schools in Florida. See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.42(2)(h); State v. M.M., 407 So. 2d 987, 990 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1981). However, private schools in Florida must register and file an annual data survey form with the Florida DOE certifying that its owner has complied with certain State requirements. See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.42(2)(b); Fla. Dep’t of Educ., Detailed Requirements for Private Schools, http://www.fldoe.org/schools/school-choice/private-schools/requirements-for-private-schools.stml (visited Feb. 6, 2017). The Florida DOE uses the information provided by the annual survey to organize, maintain, and update a database of private schools in Florida. See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.42(2)(a), (b). Private schools in Florida also must keep attendance records to demonstrate compliance with Florida’s compulsory attendance requirements and must meet certain health and safety requirements. See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.42(4)-(6); Fla. Dep’t of Educ., Detailed Requirements for Private Schools, http://www.fldoe.org/schools/school-choice/private-schools/requirements-for-private-schools.stml (visited Feb. 6, 2017).

The information available demonstrates that Florida Unschoolers is a private school under Florida law. Florida Unschoolers’ website states it is a private school. See Welcome, https://sites.google.com/site/floridaunschoolers/ (visited Feb. 7, 2017). The Florida DOE’s database/directory of private schools lists Florida Unschoolers as a private school providing elementary through secondary education (K-12) located in Martin County. See Fla. Dep’t of Educ., Fla. Private Schools Directory, http://www.floridaschoolchoice.org/Information/PrivateSchoolDirectory (visited Feb. 3, 2016). Florida Unschoolers does not charge tuition, but does accept donations or gifts to support its expenses and is affiliated with FLVS that provides online courses. See Tuition and Fees, https://sites.google.com/site/floridaunschoolers/tuition-and-fees (visited Feb. 9, 2017). Florida Unschoolers also keeps attendance, health, and immunization records consistent with the requirements for private schools. See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.42(4)-(6); Enrollment, https://sites.google.com/site/floridaunschoolers/enrollment (visited Feb. 7, 2017). Thus, Florida Unschoolers is a private school and an educational institution under Florida Law.

Information from Beneficiary and Florida Unschoolers’ website also indicates Beneficiary meets the state and federal standards for full time attendance. Beneficiary reported, and a Florida Unschoolers’ official confirmed, that she attends school 40 hours per week and the official certified that Florida Unschoolers’ course of study was at least 13 weeks in duration. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(b), (c); POMS RS 00205.300.C. The Florida Unschoolers’ official also confirmed Beneficiary’s statement that she is in full time attendance. See POMS RS 00205.300.B; POMS RS 00205.350.C.1 (providing the agency accepts the school official’s statement that the school considers the student is in full time attendance according to its standards and practices for day students). In fact, Beneficiary would not be enrolled in Florida Unschoolers if she were not meeting its attendance requirements. See Attendance -- Streamlined Reporting, https://sites.google.com/site/floridaunschoolers/attendance----streamlined-reporting (visited Feb. 9, 2017). Florida Unschoolers also is not a correspondence school and there is nothing indicating Beneficiary is taught by mailed lessons or exercises that she returns to the school for grading. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(b), (c); POMS RS 00205.300.C; POMS RS 00205.330.A. Thus, the available information indicates Beneficiary is in full-time attendance.

CONCLUSION

As a private school, Florida Unschoolers is an educational institution under Florida law. Also, Beneficiary’s attendance at Florida Unschoolers meets both federal and state standards for full-time attendance. Thus, the information provided establishes Beneficiary is a full-time elementary or secondary school student for determining his eligibility for CIB.

Sincerely,

Mary Ann Sloan

Regional Chief Counsel

By: Laura Verduci

Assistant Regional Counsel

C. PR 16-075 Eligibility for Child’s Insurance Benefits as a Full-Time Elementary or Secondary School Student Based on Instruction through YouthBuild Lakeland – Florida

Date: January 28, 2016

1. Syllabus

YouthBuild is not an educational institution under Florida law. YouthBuild students spend roughly half their time in classroom instruction and the other half in on-site construction.

2. Opinion

QUESTION

You asked whether YouthBuild Lakeland (YouthBuild) in Florida is an educational institution for determining whether the beneficiary, a Florida resident, qualifies for child’s insurance benefits (CIB) as a full-time elementary or secondary school student. You also asked whether the beneficiary meets the full-time attendance (FTA) CIB requirement.

OPINION

YouthBuild is not an educational institution under Florida law. Additionally, the beneficiary is not in FTA for determining his eligibility for CIB as a full-time student.

BACKGROUND

According to the information provided, D~ (Beneficiary) currently receives CIB on the earnings record of J~ and seeks to continue receiving CIB as a full-time student. On November XX, 2015, Beneficiary completed a Student’s Statement Regarding School Attendance form (Form SSA-1372) on which he provided a Florida mailing address. Beneficiary reported that he previously attended Lake Gibson Senior High School from August 20, 2011, through February 20, 2015. Beneficiary reported that in September 2015, he began attending YouthBuild, which is located in Lakeland, Florida. Beneficiary indicated he was scheduled to attend 36 hours a week at YouthBuild. He indicated he expected to graduate in March 2016. He also reported that he was not disabled, married, or receiving payment from an employer to attend school.

R~, an academic instructor at YouthBuild, completed and signed the Certification of School Official page of Form SSA-1372 and indicated that the information Beneficiary provided was correct. R~ also indicated that YouthBuild’s course of study lasts at least 13 weeks and that YouthBuild operated on a yearly basis. K~, a Title II Claims Representative in the Lakeland, Florida, Field Office, indicated that she spoke to an employee at YouthBuild, who reported YouthBuild is a federally funded grant program but not accredited through the State of Florida.

According to its website, YouthBuild USA’s 260 programs “are sponsored and managed by local nonprofits, community colleges, and public agencies. Their primary funding source is the US Department of Labor (DOL) through the authorized federal YouthBuild program administered by the Employment and Training Administration at DOL.”[1] With respect to the educational component of the YouthBuild USA programs, the website states:

All students spend roughly half their time in supportive, individualized classrooms working toward their high school diploma or its equivalent. The other half of their time is spent mastering the skills and industry-recognized certifications they need to succeed in high demand careers through hands-on work experience and certification processes.

They acquire basic skills, including literacy and math skills, technical skills related to computers and financial management, and behavioral skills for school, work and life.[2]

YouthBuild’s website indicates it was founded in 2007 and uses a six-month program of classroom instruction in preparation for the GED exam with hands-on training in construction working on a Habitat for Humanity site.[3]

DISCUSSION

To be eligible for CIB on the earnings record of an insured person entitled to old-age or disability insurance benefits, or who has died, a claimant who is eighteen years or older and not disabled must be a “full-time elementary or secondary school student.” See Social Security Act (Act) § 202(d)(1)(B)(i); 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.350(a)(5), 404.367 (2015);[4] Program Operations Manual System (POMS) RS 00205.001.A. To qualify as a “full-time elementary or secondary school student,” the beneficiary must attend an educational institution, i.e., a school that provides elementary or secondary education (twelfth grade or below) according to the law of the State or jurisdiction where the school is located. See Act § 202(d)(7)(A), (d)(7)(C); 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(a); POMS RS 00205.001.A; POMS RS 00205.200.A.

Certain preparatory and postsecondary schools, such as colleges, community colleges, vocational schools, and technical schools, may be educational institutions if the State or other local jurisdiction approved them to provide education at the secondary level or below. See POMS RS 00205.200.B.2; POMS RS 00205.250.A; POMS RS 00205.340.B. The determining factor is the course of study. POMS RS 00205.250.A. A secondary or postsecondary school offering a GED program is an educational institution if the program is an approved secondary level program under the law of the State or other jurisdiction where the school is located. POMS RS 00205.340.B. Therefore, an individual in a GED program can qualify as an elementary or secondary school student if the school providing the GED program is an educational institution. See POMS RS 00205.340.A.

YouthBuild’s GED program is located in Lakeland, Florida. Therefore, we look to Florida law to determine whether YouthBuild’s GED program qualifies as an educational institution. See Act § 202(d)(7)(C)(i); 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(a); POMS RS 00205.200.A. Florida requires regular school attendance for children ages six through sixteen. See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1003.21(1) (West 2015).[5] A child is in regular school attendance if he attends: a public school; a parochial, religious, or denominational school; a private school supported in whole or in part by tuition charges or by endowments or gifts; a home education program; or a private tutoring program. See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1003.01(13) (citing Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1003.21).

YouthBuild Lakeland is not listed as a public school in the State of Florida. Fla. Dep’t of Educ., Public Schools/Districts, List of Schools in Polk District, https://app2.fldoe.org/publicapps/Schools/schoolmap/flash/schoolreport.asp?id=53. As such, we must determine whether YouthBuild is a private school under Florida law. Florida law defines a private school as a non-public school that provides instructional services that meet the intent of Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1003.01(13). See Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 1002.01(2), 1002.42(1). Attendance at a private school satisfies the attendance requirements of Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 1003.01(13) and 1003.21(1). See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.42(7).

Florida statutes do not regulate the establishment of private schools in Florida. See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.42(2)(h); State v. M.M., 407 So. 2d 987, 990 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1981). However, private schools in Florida must register and file an annual data survey form with the Florida Department of Education certifying that its owner has complied with certain State requirements. See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.42(2)(b); Fla. Dep’t of Educ., Detailed Requirements for Private Schools, http://www.fldoe.org/schools/school-choice/private-schools/requirements-for-private-schools.stml (last visited Jan. 13, 2016). The Florida Department of Education uses the information provided by the annual survey to organize, maintain, and update a database of private schools in Florida. See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.42(2)(a), (b). Private schools in Florida also must keep attendance records to demonstrate compliance with Florida’s compulsory attendance requirements and must meet certain health and safety requirements. See Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 1002.42(4)-(6); Fla. Dep’t of Educ., Detailed Requirements for Private Schools, http://www.fldoe.org/schools/school-choice/private-schools/requirements-for-private-schools.stml (last visited Jan. 13, 2016).

The Florida Department of Education’s website contains a database of private schools in the State. See Fla. Dep’t of Educ., Fla. Private Schools Directory, http://www.floridaschoolchoice.org/Information/PrivateSchoolDirectory (last viewed Jan. 13, 2016). The website states the “[i]nformation contained in this database was submitted by private schools as part of the annual survey requirement found in section 1002.42, Florida Statutes.” Id. YouthBuild is not listed as a private school in the State of Florida within the Polk County school district, where it is located, see id., and, therefore, is not a private school under Florida law based on available information.

YouthBuild also does not appear to meet the criteria of a private tutoring program under Florida law. See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.43. Among the requirements for a private tutoring program is that the program must make regular reports on attendance of students. See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.43(1)(b). The information provided does not indicate YouthBuild makes regular reports on attendance to the State. Additionally, the information provided does not indicate that persons teaching at YouthBuild hold valid Florida certificates to teach the subjects or grades in which Beneficiary receives instruction. See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.43(1)(a). Thus, YouthBuild is not an educational institution under Florida law. See Act § 202(d)(7)(A), (C)(i); 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(a); POMS RS 00205.001.A; POMS RS 00205.200.A.

A beneficiary also must be in FTA to qualify as a “full-time elementary or secondary school student.” See Act § 202(d)(7)(A); 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(b), (c); POMS RS 00205.001.A; POMS RS 00205.300.A. A claimant is in FTA if he or she is attending an educational institution and meets both State and Federal standards for FTA. See Act § 202(d)(7)(A); 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(a), (b), (c); POMS RS 00205.300.A. A claimant meets the State FTA standards if a qualifying educational institution considers the claimant to be a full-time student based on the institution’s standards and practices. See Act § 202(d)(7)(A); 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(b); POMS RS 00205.300.B; POMS RS 00205.350.C.1. A claimant meets the Federal FTA standards if he is scheduled to attend school for at least twenty (20) hours per week, is enrolled in a non-correspondence course, and is enrolled in a course of study that lasts at least thirteen (13) weeks. See Act § 202(d)(7)(A); 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(b), (c); POMS RS 00205.300.C.

Because YouthBuild is not an educational institution, Beneficiary’s studies through YouthBuild do not satisfy the requirements for FTA. See Act § 202(d)(7)(A); 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(a), (c); POMS RS 00205.295.B; POMS RS 00205.300.A. Furthermore, the YouthBuild USA website states that the students spend roughly half their time in classroom instruction and the other half is spent in on-site construction. Youthbuild, We Educate, https://www.youthbuild.org/what-we-do/we-educate. Beneficiary reported that he spends thirty-six (36) hours per week at YouthBuild Lakeland. If Beneficiary is truly spending half his time in the classroom, then he is spending only eighteen (18) hours per week in the classroom, which is less than the twenty hours per week required to meet Federal FTA standards. See Act § 202(d)(7)(A); 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(c); POMS RS 00205.300.C.

CONCLUSION

YouthBuild Lakeland is not an educational institution under Florida law, and because YouthBuild Lakeland is not an educational institution, Beneficiary is not in FTA. Therefore, Beneficiary is not a full-time elementary or secondary school student for determining his continued eligibility for CIB.

Sincerely,

Mary Ann Sloan

Regional Chief Counsel

By: Jennifer McMahon

Assistant Regional Counsel

D. PR 13-084 Eligibility for Child’s Insurance Benefits as a Full-Time Elementary or Secondary School Student Based on Enrollment in A Beka Academy Virtual Home School Program

DATE: May 21, 2013

1. Syllabus

A Beka Academy (A Beka) is an accredited, comprehensive virtual distance-learning program for Kindergarten through grade 12 that is located in Pensacola, Florida. A Beka does not qualify as an educational institution because it does not meet the requirements of regular school attendance under Florida law. Thus, it is not an educational institution for SSA purposes.

However, the claimant resides in Georgia and would be considered a full-time student because her use of A Beka’s course materials in her home schooling program along with the other information provided meets the requirements of Georgia’s home study program law. Therefore, claimant qualifies as an elementary or secondary school student based on her instruction in secondary education at home under the home school law of Georgia.

2. Opinion

QUESTION

For determining a claimant’s eligibility for child’s insurance benefits (CIB) as a full-time student, you asked whether A Beka Academy (A Beka), an entity located in Florida, qualifies as an educational institution. You also asked whether the claimant, a resident of Georgia, is a full-time student based on home schooling.

Opinion

A Beka does not qualify as an educational institution for determining the claimant’s eligibility for CIB as a full-time student because A Beka does not meet the requirements of regular school attendance under Florida law. However, the claimant is a full-time student because she is in a home study program meeting the requirements of Georgia law.

Background

Mary (Claimant) currently receives CIB on the earnings record of decedent Peter (NH). Claimant turned eighteen years of age on April . In a Student Statement Regarding School Attendance form, Claimant indicated she lives in Perry, Georgia, and attends A Beka, an entity located in Pensacola, Florida. She indicated the type of school program is a high school and home school. Claimant reported she had attended Perry High School in Perry, Georgia through December 19, 2012. She also reported the school year would end July 29, 2013, and she attends thirty hours of class per week. Claimant further indicated she was not married or disabled and was not being paid by an employer to attend school.

Claimant’s mother reported that she is the facilitator of the home education program and that Claimant learns from discs approximately 35 minutes in length with lesson work to complete 50 minute segments. Claimant’s mother confirmed that she has a high school diploma. Claimant’s mother also reported she submitted a declaration of intent to use a home study program to the State of Georgia Board of Education and she keeps attendance records to submit to the state at the end of the year.

According to its website, A Beka provides all the materials for teaching and participants submit their coursework to A Beka for evaluation. See A Beka Academy, Accredited Program (visited May 13, 2013) http://www.abekaacademy.org/Homeschool/AccreditedProgram.aspx. The A Beka “accredited virtual homeschool program” in which Claimant participates provides an eleventh grade curriculum consisting of one semester each on life management and the New Testament and full year courses in English, U.S. History, mathematics, science, and an elective course such as Spanish. See A Beka Academy, ABA High School Course Offerings (visited May 10, 2013) http://www.abekaacademy.org/Homeschool/PlanOfStudyProg1Prog2.aspx. A Beka’s program is designed for 90 lessons per semester for a 180 lesson calendar with five lessons per semester designated for supplemental activities to enhance the learning experience such as field trips and special events. See A Beka Academy, Frequently Asked Questions, General Academics (visited May 10, 2013) http://www.abekaacademy.org/FAQ/GeneralAcademic.aspx#Lesson. Also, according to an A Beka official and its website, A Beka makes nationally standardized tests available to students and it provides progress reports and report cards after each grading period. See A Beka Academy, Accredited Program (visited May 13, 2013) http://www.abekaacademy.org/Homeschool/AccreditedProgram.aspx. A Beka’s transcript clerk also confirmed Claimant’s enrollment in its virtual homeschool program for the second semester of the eleventh grade and that she is enrolled in six courses equivalent to 30 hours per week. The transcript clerk further confirmed that Claimant was enrolled in Perry High School prior to her enrollment with A Beka and that her semester would end on July 29, 2013. A Beka’s transcript clerk provided information about its accreditation by the Florida Association of Christian Colleges and Schools and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement.

Discussion

To be eligible for CIB on the earnings record of an individual who has died, an individual who is eighteen years or older and not disabled must be a “full-time elementary or secondary school student.” Social Security Act (Act) § 202(d)(1)(B)(i), (d)(7)(A); see 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.350(a)(5), 404.367 (2013);All references to the Code of Federal Regulations are to the 2013 version.

Program Operations Manual System (POMS) RS 00205.001(A). To qualify as a “full-time elementary or secondary school student,” an individual must attend an educational institution, i.e., a school that provides elementary or secondary education (grade 12 or below) according to the law of the State or jurisdiction where the school is located. See Act § 202(d)(7)(A), (d)(7)(C); 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(a), (e); POMS RS 00205.001(A); POMS RS 00205.200(A). An individual also may qualify as an elementary or secondary school student if he or she receives instruction in secondary education at home under the home school law of the State or other jurisdiction where the Claimant resides. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(a)(1); POMS RS 00205.275(A). A home schooled individual must meet the federal standards for full-time attendance and meet the requirements of State law in the State in which the home school is located. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(b); POMS RS 00205.275(B).

Educational Institution Under Florida Law

A Beka is located in Pensacola, Florida. Therefore, we look to Florida law to determine whether A Beka qualifies as an educational institution. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(a); POMS RS 00205.200(A). Florida requires regular school attendance for children ages six through sixteen. See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1003.21(1) (West 2013). All references to the Florida Code are to the West 2013 version, unless otherwise indicated.

A child is in regular school attendance if she attends a public school; a parochial, religious, or denominational school; a private school supported in whole or in part by tuition charges or by endowments or gifts; a home education program; or a private tutoring program. See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1003.01(13). Florida law defines public K-12 schools to include institutions such as charter schools, kindergarten classes, elementary, middle and high school grades, special classes and virtual instruction programs that are authorized by law to be operated under the control of district school boards as well as lab schools operated under the control of state universities. See Fla. Stat. Ann. 1000.04(1). Florida law defines a private school as a non-public school that provides instructional services that meet the intent of Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1003.01(13) on regular school attendance. See Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 1002.01(2), 1002.42(1). Attendance at a private school satisfies the attendance requirements of Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 1003.01(13) and 1003.21(1). See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.42(7).

A Beka is not listed as a public school in Escambia County (the county in which Pensacola is located). See Escambia County School District, Schools (last visited May 10, 2013) http://www.escambia.k12.fl.us/Contact.asp?type=schools. As such, we look to see if A Beka is a private school under Florida law. We note that a private school includes a parochial, religious, denominational, for-profit or nonprofit school. See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.01(2); Fla. School Choice | Opening a Private School in Florida (visited May 13, 2013) http://www.floridaschoolchoice.org/Information/Private_Schools/opening_a_private_school.asp. We do not separately address whether A Beka is a parochial, religious, denominational, for-profit or nonprofit school because, as explained below, A Beka does not meet the requirements applicable to all private schools. Florida statutes do not regulate the establishment of private schools in Florida. See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.42; State v. M.M., 407 So. 2d 987, 990 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1981). However, private schools in Florida must register and file an annual survey with the Florida Department of Education. See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.42(2)(b); Fla. Dep’t of Educ., Office of Indep. Educ. & Parental Choice, General Requirements for Private Schools (visited May 10, 2013) http://www.floridaschoolchoice.org/Information/Private_Schools/general_requirements.asp; Fla. Dep’t of Educ., Office of Indep. Educ. & Parental Choice, Private School Annual Survey (visited May 10, 2013) http://www.floridaschoolchoice.org/Information/Private_Schools/annual_survey_info.asp. Private schools in Florida also must keep attendance records to demonstrate compliance with Florida’s compulsory attendance requirements and must meet certain health and safety requirements. See Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 1002.42(4)-(6), 1003.23(2); Fla. Dep’t of Educ., Office of Indep. Educ. & Parental Choice, General Requirements for Private Schools (visited May 10, 2013) http://www.floridaschoolchoice.org/Information/Private_Schools/general_requirements.asp.

The annual survey must include a notarized statement from the owner of the private school certifying that each of the private school’s employees has been fingerprinted and undergone a criminal background check. See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.42(2)(b), (c). The Florida Department of Education uses the information provided by the annual survey to organize, maintain, and update a database of private schools in Florida. See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.42(2)(a), (b). The Florida Department of Education does not use the annual survey or database to “accredit” private schools; rather, the database of private schools exists solely as a “service to the public, and not to regulate, control, approve, or accredit private educational institutions.” Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.42(2)(h). The public may access the database of private schools via the Florida Department of Education’s website. See Fla. Dep’t of Educ., Office of Indep. Educ. & Parental Choice, Fla. Private Schools Directory (visited May 10, 2013) http://www.floridaschoolchoice.org/Information/PrivateSchoolDirectory. The website states the “[i]nformation contained in this database was submitted by private schools as part of the annual survey requirement found in section 1002.42(2)(b)” and reiterates that “inclusion of a school’s information in the database does not imply approval or accreditation by the Department of Education.” Florida Department of Education, Office of Independent Education & Parental Choice, Private School Information for Parents (visited May 10, 2013) http://www.floridaschoolchoice.org/Information/Private_Schools/default.asp?whichView=parent; see Fla. Dep’t of Educ., Office of Indep. Educ. & Parental Choice, Private School Accreditation (visited May 10, 2013) http://www.floridaschoolchoice.org/Information/Private_Schools/accreditation.asp.

A Beka is not listed as a private school in the Escambia school district area. See Fla. Dep’t of Educ., Office of Indep. Educ. & Parental Choice, Fla. Private Schools Directory (visited May 10, 2013) http://www.floridaschoolchoice.org/Information/PrivateSchoolDirectory/. As such, it does not appear that A Beka met the requirements of submitting the survey information to be considered a private school in Florida, which would have led to it being listed on the above site.

A Beka also does not appear to meet the criteria of a private tutoring program. See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.43(1). Among the requirements for a private tutoring program is that the program must make regular reports on attendance of students. See Fla Stat. Ann. § 1002.43(1)(b). However, the information provided indicates that A Beka does not keep attendance records; Claimant’s mother does. Additionally, there is no information provided to indicate that persons tutoring Claimant hold valid Florida certificates to teach the subjects or grades in which Claimant receives instruction. See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.43(1)(a). Thus, Claimant has not demonstrated that A Beka is an educational institution because she has not shown it is a school that provides elementary or secondary education (grade 12 or below) as determined under Florida law. See Act § 202(d)(7)(A), (C)(i), (C)(ii); 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(a), (e); POMS RS 00205.001(A); POMS RS 00205.200(A).

Furthermore, we believe that A Beka is a correspondence school. Attendance at a correspondence school, one that teaches students by mailing lessons and exercises to a student, who returns the materials for grading, is generally not sufficient to satisfy the full-time attendance requirements. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(b); POMS RS 00205.330(A). According to A Beka’s website, A Beka provides all necessary materials and the student’s work is returned to A Beka for evaluation. See A Beka Academy, Accredited Program (visited May 13, 2013) http://www.abekaacademy.org/Homeschool/AccreditedProgram.aspx.

Home Schooling Under Georgia Law

Because Claimant resides in Georgia, we next turn to whether Claimant is home schooled under Georgia law. The information provided suggests Claimant is home schooled in accordance with Georgia law. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(a)(1); POMS RS 00205.275(A). Parents or guardians may teach their children in a home study program meeting the following requirements: (1) the parent, parents, or guardian must submit a declaration of intent to use a home study program to the Department of Education within 30 days after the establishment of a home study program and by September 1 annually thereafter; (2) the declaration must include certain enrollment and address information; (3) the parent or guardian providing instruction must possess at least a high school diploma or G.E.D., although the parent or guardian may employ a tutor who holds a high school diploma or G.E.D. to provide instruction; (4) the home study program must provide a basic academic educational program, defined to include reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science; (5) the home study program must provide instruction 180 school days per year with each school day consisting of at least four and one-half school hours, unless the child is physically unable to comply; (6) attendance records must be kept and submitted annually to the Department of Education; (7) students must be subject to an appropriate nationally standardized testing program administered in consultation with a person trained to administer such tests at least every three years beginning in third grade; and (8) the home study program instructor must write an annual progress report. Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-690(c). All references to the Georgia Code are to the West 2013 version, unless otherwise indicated. Georgia refers to a home school program as a “home study program.” Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-690(a). The Georgia Legislature amended subsections (1) and (6) of Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-690(c), effective July 2012, to require submission of the declaration of intent and attendance record to the Department of Education on an annual basis. See 2012 Ga. Laws 642. Prior to the amendment, the statute required submission of those documents to the local school district, and submission of attendance records monthly. See Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-690 (West 2012). As noted in POMS PR 08005.012(A) (PR 13-056), the earlier opinions in POMS PR 08005.012(A) rely on PR 00-501 (Georgia Home Schooling), dated October 2, 1991, which reflects the requirements of the prior Georgia statute and not the 2012 amendments.

The information provided indicates that Claimant’s mother submitted a declaration of intent to use a home study program to the Georgia Department of Education. See Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-690(c)(1), (c)(2). The information provided also states that Claimant’s mother is the facilitator of her educational program and that Claimant’s mother has a high school diploma. See id § 20-2-690(c)(3). The A Beka “accredited virtual homeschool program” in which Claimant participates appears to provide a “basic academic educational program” as defined under Georgia law consisting of reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies and science. See id. § 20-2-690(c)(4); A Beka Academy, ABA High School Course Offerings (visited May 10, 2013) http://www.abekaacademy.org/Homeschool/PlanOfStudyProg1Prog2.aspx. According to the information provided, Claimant is currently enrolled in 30 hours of coursework per week, which equates to 6 hours per school day, and the A Beka video courses are designed for 90 lessons per semester for a 180 lesson calendar with five lessons per semester designated for supplemental activities to enhance the learning experience such as field trips and special events, which seems to comply with Georgia’s requirement. See A Beka Academy, Frequently Asked Questions, General Academics (visited May 10, 2013) http://www.abekaacademy.org/FAQ/GeneralAcademic.aspx#Lesson. Such a course load satisfies the requirements of 180 days of instruction with four and a half hours each day. See Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-690(c)(5). The information provided also states that Claimant’s mother keeps attendance records and submits them to the State of Georgia at the end of the school year. See id. § 20-2-690(c)(6). According to the information provided, A Beka also makes nationally standardized tests available to students While it is unclear whether Claimant will be administered standardized tests, it is likely not relevant at this time. Georgia requires standardized test administration every three years beginning in third grade; therefore Claimant would not be required to take a standardized test in this, her eleventh grade year (tests would occur in third, sixth, ninth and twelfth grades). See GA. Code Ann. § 20-2-690(c)(7).

and its website states that it provides progress reports and report cards after each grading period. See id. § 20-2-690(c)(7)-(8); A Beka Academy, Accredited Program (visited May 13, 2013) http://www.abekaacademy.org/Homeschool/AccreditedProgram.aspx.

Thus, Claimant’s use of A Beka’s course and materials in her home schooling program along with the other information provided meet the requirements of Georgia’s home study program law. Therefore, Claimant qualifies as an elementary or secondary school student based on her instruction in secondary education at home under the home school law of Georgia. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(a)(1); POMS RS 00205.275(A). Additionally, Claimant’s program of study requires attendance at the rate of 30 hours per week, which meets the federal requirements for full time attendance. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(c); POMS RS 00205.300(C).

CONCLUSION

A Beka is not an educational institution under Florida law. However, Claimant is a full-time secondary school student based on her participation in a home study program in compliance with Georgia law.

Sincerely,

Mary A. Sloan
Regional Chief Counsel
By: Christopher D. Yarbrough
Assistant Regional Counsel

E. PR 12-038 Eligibility for Child's Insurance Benefits as a Full-Time Student Based on Courses Taken Through Continental Academy, an Online Entity Located in Florida

DATE: December 29, 2011

1. SYLLABUS

Although Continental Academy is an educational institution under Florida law, Beneficiary does not meet the full-time attendance requirements because his studies at Continental Academy are correspondence courses.

2. OPINION

QUESTION

You asked whether Continental Academy, an online entity located in Florida, is an educational institution for the purposes of determining the beneficiary's eligibility for child's insurance benefits (CIB) as a full-time elementary or secondary school student. [6]

Opinion

We believe Continental Academy is an educational institution under Florida law. Based on the available information, however, we do not believe the beneficiary is in full-time attendance in a noncorrespondence course. Therefore, the beneficiary is not a full-time elementary or secondary school student for the purposes of determining his eligibility for CIB.

Background

According to the information provided, Weyant (Beneficiary) currently receives child's insurance benefits (CIB) and seeks to continue CIB as a full-time student. Beneficiary reported he was taking online classes through Continental Academy, an entity located in Florida. Beneficiary also reported he was working 47.5 hours a week.[7] Social Security Administration (SSA) personnel contacted Chan , M.S., the Director of Guidance at Continental Academy, who stated Continental Academy offers courses in mathematics, English, history, social studies, science, and general electives. Chan stated Continental Academy does not track the time a student spends online and tracks only when a student successfully completes a course. Chan reported Continental Academy is a year-round school, but does not keep attendance logs. Chan also reported that if a student does not have access to the internet, Continental Academy mails materials to the student. Chan further stated students either complete work online or mail in completed work, and students have interactive access to teachers via email and telephone.

Continental Academy's website indicates it offers high school diploma programs and emphasizes that there are "[n]o classes to attend" and students "[s]tudy at home, at [their] own pace." Continental Academy Home, http://www.continentalacademy.com/index.html. The website describes Continental Academy as "a distance education high school" that "specializes in home study high school completion programs for students that are at least 16 years of age." About Continental Academy, http://www.continentalacademy.com/aboutus.html (visited Dec. 29, 2011). The website states Continental Academy provides "self-paced home study programs . . . for students that could not or did not finish high school and for homeschooling families who want a complete (grades 9-12) quality online curriculum to study from the comfort of their home." Id. The websites also states "Continental Academy has been serving the homeschooling community since 1996 and is . . . registered with the State of Florida Department of Education as a non-public (private) secondary (grades 9-12) school." Id.

Discussion

To be eligible for CIB on the earnings record of an individual entitled to old-age or disability insurance benefits, or an individual who died a fully or currently insured individual, a beneficiary who is eighteen years or older and not disabled must be a "full-time elementary or secondary school student." See Social Security Act (Act) § 202(d)(1)(B)(i); 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.350(a)(5), 404.367 (2011);[8] Program Operations Manual System (POMS) RS 00205.001. To qualify as a "full-time elementary or secondary school student," a beneficiary must attend an educational institution, i.e., a school that provides elementary or secondary education (twelfth grade or below) as determined under the law of the State in which the school is located. See Act § 202(d)(7)(A), (C)(i), (C)(ii); 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(a), (e); POMS RS 00205.001.A; POMS RS 00205.200.A. A beneficiary may meet the requirement of attending an educational institution if he or she is instructed in elementary or secondary education at home in accordance with a home school law of the State in which he or she resides. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(a)(1); POMS RS 00205.275.B. A beneficiary also may meet the requirement of attending an educational institution if he or she is in an independent study elementary or secondary education program in accordance with the law of the State or other jurisdiction in which the beneficiary resides which is administered by the local school or school district. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(a)(2); POMS RS 00205.285.B.

A beneficiary also must be in full-time attendance to qualify as a "full-time elementary or secondary school student." See Act § 202(d)(7)(A); 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(b), (c); POMS RS 00205.201.A; POMS RS 00205.300.A. To be considered in full-time attendance, a beneficiary generally must be in a day or evening noncorrespondence course of at least thirteen weeks duration, carry a subject load considered full-time for day students under the school's standards and practices, and be scheduled to attend at the rate of at least twenty hours a week. See Act § 202(d)(7)(A); 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(b), (c). The POMS states that a beneficiary is in full-time attendance if he or she is attending an educational institution and meets both State and Federal standards for full-time attendance.[9] See POMS RS 00205.300.A. According to the POMS, a beneficiary meets the State standards if the school considers the beneficiary to be full-time based on the school's standards and practices. See POMS RS 00205.300.B. A beneficiary meets the Federal standards if he or she is (1) scheduled to attend school at the rate of twenty hours per week, (2) enrolled in a noncorrespondence course, and (3) enrolled in a course of study that is of at least thirteen weeks' duration. See POMS RS 00205.300.C.

A beneficiary who is home schooled must carry a subject load that is considered full-time for day students under standards and practices set by the State in which he or she resides. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(b); POMS RS 00205.275.B. A home-schooled beneficiary also must meet the Federal standards for full-time attendance. See POMS RS 00205.275.B. If a beneficiary is attending an online school, the beneficiary may be a full-time student if he or she meets the Federal standards for full-time attendance and "[t]he online school is consistent with the law of the state in which the online school is located." POMS RS 00205.295.B; see also POMS PR 08205.039 (PR 11-088, Apr. 22, 2011) (noting an SSA specialist stated the requirement in POMS RS 00205.295.B that "[t]he online school is consistent with the law of the state in which the online school is located" should be read consistently with POMS RS 00205.200, which requires SSA to determine if a school is an educational institution "under the law of the State or other jurisdiction in which it is located").

The information provided and Continental Academy's website indicate Continental Academy is located in Miramar, Florida. Therefore, we look to Florida law to determine whether Continental Academy is an educational institution. Florida requires regular school attendance for children ages six through sixteen. See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1003.21(1) (2011). A child is in regular school attendance within the intent of Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1003.21 if she attends a public school; a parochial, religious, or denominational school; a private school supported in whole or in part by tuition charges or by endowments or gifts; a home education program; or a private tutoring program. See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1003.01(13) (2011). Florida law defines a private school as a non-public school that provides instructional services that meet the intent of Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1003.01(13). See Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 1002.01(2), 1002.42(1) (2011). Attendance at a private school satisfies the attendance requirements of Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 1003.01(13) and 1003.21(1). See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.42(7).

Florida statutes do not regulate the establishment of private schools in Florida. See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.42; State v. M.M., 407 So. 2d 987, 900 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1981). However, private schools in Florida must register and file an annual survey with the Florida Department of Education. See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.42(2)(b); Florida Department of Education, Office of Independent Education & Parental Choice, General Requirements for Private Schools, http://www.floridaschoolchoice.org/Information/Private_Schools/ general_requirements.asp (visited Dec. 29, 2011); Florida Department of Education, Office of Independent Education & Parental Choice, Private School Annual Survey, http://www.floridaschoolchoice.org/ Information/Private_Schools/annual_survey_info.asp (visited Dec. 29, 2011). Private schools in Florida also must keep attendance records to demonstrate compliance with Florida's compulsory attendance requirements and must meet certain health and safety requirements. See Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 1002.42(4)-(6), 1003.23(2); Florida Department of Education, Office of Independent Education & Parental Choice, General Requirements for Private Schools, http://www.floridaschoolchoice.org/Information/Private_Schools/general_requirements.asp (visited Dec. 28, 2011).

The annual survey must include a notarized statement from the owner of the private school certifying that each of the private school's employees has been fingerprinted and undergone a criminal background check. See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.42(2)(b), (c). The Florida Department of Education uses the information provided by the annual survey to organize, maintain, and update a database of private schools in Florida. See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.42(2)(a), (b). The Florida Department of Education does not use the annual survey or database to "accredit" private schools; rather, the database of private schools exists solely as a "service to the public, and not to regulate, control, approve, or accredit private educational institutions." Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.42(2)(h). The public may access the database of private schools via the Florida Department of Education's website. See Florida Department of Education, Office of Independent Education & Parental Choice, Florida Private Schools Directory, http://www.floridaschoolchoice.org/Information/PrivateSchoolDirectory (last viewed Dec. 28, 2011). The website states the "[i]nformation contained in this database was submitted by private schools as part of the annual survey requirement found in section 1002.42(2)(b)" and reiterates that "inclusion of a school's information in the database does not imply approval or accreditation by the Department of Education." Florida Department of Education, Office of Independent Education & Parental Choice, Private School Information for Parents, http://www.floridaschoolchoice.org/Information/Private_Schools/default.asp?whichView=parent (visited Dec. 29, 2011); see Florida Department of Education, Office of Independent Education & Parental Choice, Private School Accreditation, http://www.floridaschoolchoice.org/Information/Private_Schools/accreditation.asp (visited Dec. 29, 2011).

Continental Academy’s website indicates that it is "registered with the State of Florida Department of Education as a non-public (private) secondary (grades 9-12) school." See About Continental Academy, http://www.continentalacademy.com/aboutus.html (visited Dec. 29, 2011). The Florida Department of Education's database/directory of private schools lists Continental Academy as a private school located in Broward County. See Florida Department of Education, Office of Independent Education & Parental Choice, Florida Private Schools Directory, http://www.floridaschoolchoice.org/Information/PrivateSchoolDirectory (visited Dec. 29, 2011). Continental Academy's website also indicates it charges tuition, making it supported "in whole or in part" by tuition charges. See Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1003.01(13); Continental Academy, Tuition Fees, http://www.continentalacademy.com/affordable.html (visited Dec. 29, 2011). Thus, Continental Academy appears to comply with Florida law governing private schools. Therefore, we believe Continental Academy is an educational institution under Florida law. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(a); POMS PR 07905.011; POMS PR 08205.011.

However, the information provided indicates Beneficiary is not in "full-time attendance in a day or evening noncorrespondance course" as required by 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(b). See POMS RS 00205.300.C (stating that to meet Federal full-time attendance standards, the individual must be "[e]nrolled in a course that is not a correspondence course"). "Generally, a student is not in full-time attendance (FTA) based on correspondence school courses even if the correspondence school meets the definition of an [educational institution]." POMS RS 00205.330.B. SSA also emphasized in 1996 that correspondence courses were insufficient to satisfy the full-time attendance requirements of the Act and regulations. See When You Are a Full-Time Elementary or Secondary School Student, 61 Fed. Reg. 38,361, 38,361-62 (July 24, 1996). To accommodate students who participate in alterative education methods, SSA revised 20 C.F.R. § 404.367 to include students enrolled in home schooling or independent study programs authorized by State (or other jurisdiction) laws. [10] See Id. at 38,362. However, SSA made clear that it would "continue to exclude from eligibility those individuals who are enrolled solely in correspondence courses. We do not believe that such courses satisfy the definition of an elementary or secondary school in the Act . . . ." Id.

The regulations and POMS do not appear to define "noncorrespondence course" or "correspondence course." However, the POMS defines "correspondence school" as "a school that teaches by mailing lessons and exercises to the student. Upon completion, the student returns the exercises to the school for grading." POMS RS 00205.330.A. "Although the definition of 'correspondence school' refers to submitting materials by mail, we believe that submitting materials over the internet constitutes merely a difference in methodology rather than substance." POMS PR 08005.048, PR 04-329 (July 19, 2004) (concluding beneficiary's alleged home school was a correspondence course where beneficiary completed studies at home and transmitted work via internet, with no participation or instruction by his parent).

The information available indicates Beneficiary's studies through Continental Academy are correspondence courses. Beneficiary reported taking online classes through Continental Academy. According to Chan, Continental Academy's Director of Guidance, students generally register online and receive materials online, or if the student has no internet access, Continental Academy mails the materials to the student. Continental Academy apparently has no web-based interactive courses or classes where students interact with teachers or classmates. If a student has a question regarding coursework, he or she may only submit questions via email or telephone. Continental Academy's website also indicates its programs involve self-paced courses completed at home either online or by using materials mailed to the student. See Continental Academy Home, http://www.continentalacademy.com/index.html (visited Dec. 29, 2011) (see links explaining Continental Academy's two online programs and a program where study materials are mailed). Moreover, Beneficiary's ability to work 47.5 hours a week while taking classes through Continental Academy is contrary to the basic purposes of the CIB program and provides further evidence that he is taking correspondence courses. See 61 Fed. Reg. at 38,361. Thus, the available information indicates Beneficiary's studies through Continental Academy are correspondence courses. Therefore, Beneficiary does not satisfy the full-time attendance requirements of 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(b). [11]

We do not have sufficient information to determine whether Beneficiary satisfies the other requirements of 20 C.F.R. §404.367, but the evidence that he is not taking noncorrespondence courses is sufficient to conclude he is not a full-time student.

CONCLUSION

Although Continental Academy is an educational institution under Florida law, Beneficiary does not meet the full-time attendance requirements because his studies at Continental Academy are correspondence courses. Therefore, Beneficiary is not a full-time elementary or secondary school student for the purposes of determining his eligibility for CIB.

Mary A. Sloan
Regional Chief Counsel
By: Brian C. Huberty
Assistant Regional Counsel

F. PR 09-096 Status of Florida Virtual Global School as an Educational Institution

DATE: May 5, 2009

1. SYLLABUS

The Florida Virtual Global School (FLVGS), an Internet school located in Florida, provides secondary education in accordance with Florida law. The FLVGS is, therefore, an educational institution for SSA purposes.

2. OPINION

QUESTION PRESENTED

You asked whether Florida Virtual Global School, an internet school located in Florida, can be classified as an educational institution for the purpose of determining entitlement to child's insurance benefits.

Opinion

Based on the information provided, Florida Virtual Global School would be considered an educational institution under the Agency's regulations.

Background

Katherine (Claimant), a resident of Tennessee, currently receives child's insurance benefits on the earnings record of her father Kenneth. Claimant seeks to continue these payments beyond the age of eighteen based on her full-time attendance with Florida Virtual Global School (FLVGS), an internet school located in Florida.

FLVGS is located in Orlando, Florida, and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the Commission on International and Trans-Regional Accreditation. See Florida Virtual Global School Website, http://www.flvsgs.net/index.php/about_us.html (last visited on April 27, 2009). FLVGS's website also notes that it is a public school funded by Florida state tax dollars. The website states FLVGS is an extension of Florida Virtual School. FLVGS does not issue high school diplomas. Instead, FLVGS will provide transcripts of all course work completed at FLVGS. The materials we received included a letter from the Tennessee Department of Education that stated Tennessee recognizes Florida Virtual School as an appropriate on-line program for educational choices.

The courses offered by FLVGS include: 1) Core Courses such as math, science, social studies, and language arts; 2) Elective Courses such as art, business tech, computer science, foreign language, health, and study skills; 3) Honors Courses; and 4) Advance Placement (AP) Courses. See http://flvsgs.net/index.php/e_solutions/for_educators/course-offerings.html (last visited April 27, 2009).

In her statement regarding school attendance, Claimant said she was scheduled to attend school twenty-five hours per week. Claimant expects to graduate from high school in July 2009. Claimant also indicated she is not being paid by an employer to attend school. Elaine , the principal at FLVGS, signed this document certifying Claimant's statements. Katherine further certified that Claimant's course work lasted at least thirteen weeks.

Discussion

To be eligible for child's benefits on the earnings record of an insured person who is entitled to old-age or disability benefits, a claimant eighteen years or older who is not disabled must be a full-time elementary or secondary school student. See Social Security Act (Act) § 202(d)(1)(B)(i); 42 U.S.C. § 402(d)(1)(B)(i); 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.350(a)(5), 404.367 (2008). An individual can meet this requirement if he or she attends a school that provides elementary or secondary education as determined under the law of the state in which the school is located. See Act § 202(d)(7)(A), (C)(i); 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(a). Because FLVGS is located in Florida, we look to Florida law to determine whether FLVGS qualifies as an elementary and/or secondary school.

Florida statutes recognize five types of educational entities: public schools, private schools, parochial, religious or denominational schools, home education programs, and private tutoring programs. See FLA. STAT. § 1003.01(13) (2008). Florida statutes further state parents of public school students may seek the public school choice option available to their child. See FLA. STAT. § 1002.20(6)(a) (2008). Public school choices include the Florida Virtual School. See id. Because FLVGS is an extension of the Florida Virtual School and Florida recognizes the Florida Virtual School as a public school choice, we conclude FLVGS is a school that provides secondary education under the Act and the Agency's regulations. See Act § 202(d)(7)(C)(i); 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(b).

Furthermore, because Claimant resides in Tennessee, we look to Tennessee law to determine if she qualifies as a full-time secondary student. 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(b). According to Tennessee law, a child between the ages of six (6) and seventeen (17) must attend public or non-public school. See TENN. CODE ANN. § 49-6-3001(c) (2008). The evidence provided demonstrates Tennessee recognizes FLVGS as an acceptable school option. Additionally, Claimant attends FLVGS classes twenty-five hours per week. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(c) ("To be considered in full-time attendance, your scheduled attendance must be at the rate of at least 20 hours per week"). Moreover, Claimant stated she is not being paid by an employer to attend school. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(d) ("You are not being paid while attending the school by an employer who has requested or required that you attend the school"). Claimant also said she expects to graduate from high school in July 2009. See Act § 202(d)(7)(c)(ii) (do not consider education beyond grade twelve for determining whether a child is a full-time student); 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(e) ("You are in grade 12 or below"). Because Claimant attends classes full-time at a school providing secondary education under the law of the state where the school is located, she is in grade 12 or below, and she is not being paid by an employer to attend the school, Claimant met the requirements of 20 C.F.R. § 404.367(a), (b), (c), (d), and (e).

CONCLUSION

Because FLVGS is a school that provides secondary education under the laws of Florida, FLVGS is an educational institution for the purposes of determining Claimant's eligibility for child's insurance benefits. Based on her attendance at FLVGS, Claimant has established that she is a full-time student, she can qualify for child's insurance benefits under the provisions of section 202(d)(1)(B)(i) of the Act.

Mary A. Sloan
Regional Chief Counsel
By: _____________
Jennifer L. Patel
Assistant Regional Counsel

G. PR 07-011 Educational Institution, Florida Number Holder (NH) - A~ Claimant - J~

DATE: November 8, 2006

1. SYLLABUS

Community Christian School in Bunnell, Florida, provides education in compliance with Florida law and is, therefore, an educational institution for SSA purposes.

2. OPINION

QUESTION PRESENTED

Whether Community Christian School meets the definition of an educational institution under Florida law so that J~ (Claimant) can continue to receive benefits on the earnings record of A~ ?

ANSWER

We conclude that Community Christian School meets the definition of an educational institution under Florida law so Claimant can continue to receive benefits.

FACTS

Claimant receives child's insurance benefits on the earnings record of NH and attends Community Christian School full-time. Community Christian School provides education for children from kindergarten to 12th grade and offers all courses required by Florida in addition to extra courses on the Bible. Students attend school 180 days a year and are in school for a full day. The school's records are open for inspection and the school is now filing annual reports with the Florida Department of Education. The school requires state-mandated medical examinations and vaccinations and keeps attendance records. The teachers and director have been fingerprinted and have had their background checked. The teachers have degrees and receive continuing education.

ANALYSIS

To qualify for child's insurance benefits, a claimant who is not disabled must be under the age of 18 or a full-time elementary or secondary school student and under the age of 19. See Social Security Act (Act) § 202(d)(1), 42 U.S.C. § 402(d)(1)(B)(i)(2006); 20 C.F.R. Sec. 404.350 (2006). To be considered in full-time attendance, the child's scheduled attendance must be at a rate of at least 20 hours per week unless an exception to this rule applies. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.367 (2006). Claimant here appears to attend school the requisite amount of time, according to the information furnished. A claimant must a school that provides elementary or secondary education as determined under the law of the state or other jurisdiction in which it is located. 20 C.F.R. Sec. 404.367(a) (2006).

Florida allows students to comply with its compulsory school attendance requirements by attending private schools for a minimum of 180 days a year. FLA. STAT. ANN. Sec. 1003.01(13) (West 2004). A private school is defined as a non-public school run by an individual, partnership, or other organization that designates itself as an educational center serving students below college level and teaching the Florida core curriculum courses. FLA. STAT. ANN. Sec. 1002.01(2) (West 2004). A private school may be parochial, religious, denominational, for profit, or non-profit. Id. In Florida, core curriculum courses include mathematics, language arts/reading, science, social studies, and foreign language. FLA. STAT. ANN. Sec. 1003.01(14) (West 2004). Florida maintains a database of information about private schools in the state, with the information provided by the individual schools. FLA. STAT. ANN. Sec. 1002.42 (West 2004). This provision also requires individual owners of private schools to submit to fingerprinting and a background check and requires that private schools maintain attendance records, school-entry health examination forms, and immunization records. Id.

According to information obtained from Community Christian School, it appears to meet the definition of a private school and to comply with all requirements of Florida law. The school complies with the curriculum, attendance, and record requirements. The school requires school-entry health information and immunization records and maintains these documents. The director and teachers have been fingerprinted and have undergone background checks. The school this year began providing reports to the Florida Department of Education for inclusion in its database. The school meets the definition of an educational institution under Florida law. Because Claimant appears to be in full-time attendance at the school, she appears to satisfy the attendance requirement for eligibility under Sec. 202(d) of the Act.

CONCLUSION

Community Christian School meets the definition of an education institution under Florida Law so Claimant would be entitled to continued benefits.

Mary A. Sloan
Regional Chief Counsel
By: Laurie G. Remter
Assistant Regional Counsel

H. PR 90-010 Private Schools

DATE: September 11, 1990

1. SYLLABUS

Non public schools within the State of Florida are required to maintain attendance records and submit any reports required by law and by regulations of State and district boards to the appropriate school district. The Florida Department of Education does not regulate non public schools in the State.

The lack of a school listing in the book published by the Florida Department of Education is not conclusive evidence that the school is not an educational institution for SSA purposes.

Florida statutes do not have provisions which set forth minimum standards for private schools and there is no requirement that private schools be accredited to operate within the State.

Florida statutes provide for an annual listing of public schools and nonpublic schools obtained from survey forms submitted by the schools and we advised that a lack of a listing for a private school is not conclusive evidence that the school does not exist since the school may have failed to submit the form to the State.

Nonpublic schools within the State of Florida are required to maintain appropriate attendance records and the attendance of an applicant can be verified through a request for the attendance records of the applicant either in writing or by a visit to the school to obtain the records.

(Florida-Home Schooling - CCIV [Adams] - to ARC, Progs., Atl., 09/11/90)

2. OPINION

Your office has requested our assistance in making a determination as to whether a private school is an educational institution within the State of Florida. An applicant for child's benefits has stated that he is in attendance full-time at Pace School in Hillsborough County, Florida. Your office has been unable to verify the existence of this school as an educational institution through either the State's department of education or the local county school board. Your contacts with the local school board revealed that private schools operate outside the jurisdiction of local school boards so no information was available on the Pace School. You also noted that there was no listing for the school in a current book published by the Florida Department of Education that lists private and public schools.

Section 202(d)(7) of the Social Security Act provides in pertinent part that:

(A) A "full-time elementary or secondary school student" is an individual who is in full-time attendance as a student at an elementary or secondary school, as determined by the Secretary (in accordance with regulations prescribed by him) in light of the standards and practices of the schools involved . . .

(c)(i) An "elementary or secondary school" is a school which provides elementary or secondary education, respectively, as determined under the law of the State or other jurisdiction in which it is located.

The State of Florida does not have any minimum requirements for the establishment of private schools. Standards which were contained in Section 247 of the Florida Statutes Annotated (FSA) have been repealed and this section has not been replaced with any other statutory provisions. Florida courts have also recognized that there is no statutory authority regulating the establishment of private schools in Florida. See State v. M.M., 407 So.2d 987 (Fla. 1981). However, nonpublic schools are required to meet some statutory requirements with respect to education, particularly in the areas of attendance and records maintenance.

Section 232.02 of the FSA provides in part that:

Regular attendance is the actual attendance of a pupil during the school day as defined by law and regulations of the State board. Regular attendance within the intent of s. 232.01 may be achieved by attendance in:

(3) A private school supported in whole or in part by tuition charges or by endowments or gifts;

Section 232.021 further provides that:

All officials, teachers, and other employees in public, parochial, denominational, and private schools, including private tutors, shall keep all records and shall prepare and submit promptly all reports that may be required by law and by regulations of State and district boards. Such records shall include a register of enrollment and attendance and all such persons named above shall make such reports therefrom as may be required by the State board. The enrollment register shall show the absence or attendance of each child enrolled for each school day of the year in a manner prescribed by the State board. The register shall be open for the inspection by the superintendent or attendance assistant of the district in which the school is located. Violation of the provisions of this section shall be a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided by law.

Moreover, section 228.092 of the FSA provides in part that:

(2) Transfer of student records.—All nonpublic schools which become defunct shall transfer all permanent information contained in student records to the superintendent of schools of the public school district in which the nonpublic school was located; or if, the nonpublic school is a member of a nonpublic school system or association, such school may transfer such records to the principal office of such system or association . . .

The foregoing Florida statutes provide for compulsory school attendance and appropriate recordkeeping with respect to school attendance even for nonpublic schools. In addition, these records must be maintained and preserved even after the school has ceased to exist. Therefore, Pace School must have attendance policies and appropriate records should be maintained by the school. Florida statutes do not provide for a specific number of attendance days and there are also no minimum requirements for teachers at private schools.

We further note that section 229.808 of the FSA provides the Department of Education with the authority to establish and maintain an annually updated data base of educational institutions within the State. Nonpublic institutions are to complete a survey form for the data base and a failure to submit the information will subject school authorities to a fine. However this section specifically provides that:

(7) It is the intent of the Legislature not to regulate, control, approve, or accredit nonpublic educational institutions, but to create a data base where current information may be obtained relative to the educational institutions in this State coming within the provisions of this section as a service to the public, to governmental agencies, and to other interested parties. It is not the intent of the Legislature to regulate, control, or monitor, expressly or implicitly, churches, their ministries, or religious instruction, freedoms, or rites. It is the intent of the legislature that the annual submission of the data base survey of a school shall not be used by that school to imply approval or accreditation by the Department of Education.

It is our opinion that the lack of a listing in the Department of Education's data base would not constitute conclusive evidence that the institution is not a school. Perhaps the better way to determine if the Pace School does exist is for a Social Security representative to make a personal visit to the school location to verify the information contained in the school's handbook with respect to the school. In addition, the parents of the applicant can be asked to give their consent for the school to provide attendance records for the child if a question concerning attendance has been presented.

The lack of accreditation would also be of no significance in making a determination as to whether this institution is a school. Since the Florida Department of Education does not regulate nonpublic schools in the State, unless there is some evidence that the Pace School is not in fact a school, then we feel that it is a school under State law and, therefore, would be considered a school for Social Security purposes.


Footnotes:

[1]

. . . Youthbuild, About Youthbuild, https://www.youthbuild.org/about-youthbuild (last visited Jan. 13, 2016).

[2]

. Youthbuild, We Educate, https://www.youthbuild.org/what-we-do/we-educate.

[3]

. Youthbuild, Other Programs, https://lakelandhousing.org/Other-Programs/youthbuild.aspx.

[4]

. All regulatory citations are to the 2015 Code of Federal Regulations.

[5]

. All citations to Fla. Stat. Ann. are to the West 2015 version.

[6]

. . . You also asked the broader question of whether the beneficiary is entitled to student benefits. Although we cannot provide a direct answer to your second question given the information provided, we do address whether the beneficiary is a full-time student, as discussed below.

[7]

. . . The information provided does not include Beneficiary's first name, the State in which Beneficiary resides, or the name of the number holder on whose earnings record Beneficiary is receiving CIB. However, we do not believe this information is critical to our opinion.

[8]

. All references to 20 C.F.R. are to the 2011 version unless otherwise noted.

[9]

. Neither the Act nor the regulations appear to specifically differentiate between State and Federal standards for full-time attendance. See Act § 202(d)(7)(A); 20 C.F.R. § 404.367.

[10]

. In providing basic background information regarding the CIB program, SSA noted in part Congress's belief that a child over age eighteen who is attending school was as dependent as a child under eighteen, and it was unrealistic to stop CIB at age eighteen. See 61 Fed. Reg. at 38,361. SSA interpreted Congress's statement to mean "full-time students attending class are less likely to be able to support themselves through employment than are part-time or correspondence students." Id. We do not have sufficient information to determine whether Beneficiary satisfies the other requirements of 20 C.F.R. § 404.367, but the evidence that he is not taking noncorrespondence courses is sufficient to conclude he is not a full-time student. Id.

[11]

. We do not have sufficient information to determine whether Beneficiary satisfies the other requirements of 20 C.F.R. § 404.367, but the evidence that he is not taking noncorrespondence courses is sufficient to conclude he is not a full-time student.


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/1507905011
PR 07905.011 - Florida - 06/27/2017
Batch run: 09/14/2017
Rev:06/27/2017