Whether H~ (Ms. H~), who attends the International School of Kuala Lumpur, can be
considered a full-time student at a Educational Institution for the period of November
2016 through June 2017 and is, therefore, entitled to student benefits on the record
of her father, R~ (the Number Holder or NH).
The law of Malaysia, the jurisdiction in which the school is located, recognizes Ms.
H~’s school as an Educational Institution. Based on the evidence provided, Ms. H~
meets the additional requirements for student benefits. Therefore, she may be considered
a full-time secondary school student for the period from November 2016 through June
The NH, who is Ms. H~’s father, began receiving Social Security Retirement Benefits
in June 2015. Ms. H~, who was born on November XX, 1998, began receiving Auxiliary
Benefits on her father’s record in June 2015. Ms. H~ attends the International School
of Kuala Lumpur in Selangor, Malaysia as a full-time student. Ms. H~’s school year
began in August 2016 and ends in June 2017.
Ms. H~ completed a Student’s Statement Regarding School Attendance (form SSA-1372-BK)
on November 8, 2016. She indicated she attends 35 hours per week of high school courses
and expects to graduate in June 2017. On September 26, 2016, J~, the principal of
the International School of Kuala Lumpur certified that Ms. H~ is enrolled at this
institution and the course of study was at least 13 weeks of duration.
The International School of Kuala Lumpur’s website includes a High School Profile
stating that it is a private and non-profit, parent-governed school accredited internationally
through the Council of International Schools (CIS), and in the United States through
the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Graduates of the high school program earn a United States secondary school diploma
and students may elect to pursue the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma or individual
IB courses, or take Advanced Placement (AP). To graduate, students must complete 22
units of credits. The school has two semesters, with the first beginning in early
August and ending in December, and the second beginning in January and ending in June.
Classes meet for 85 minutes and there are four periods each day of an eight-day rotation
cycle. There are a total of 36 weeks in the school year. The school day runs from
8:00 am to 3:00 pm five days a week.
A. Social Security Laws, Regulations, and Policy
Under the Social Security Act (Act), an individual may continue to receive child’s
benefits past the age of 18 if she is a full-time elementary or secondary school student.
See Act § 202(d) (1)(E); 42 U.S.C. § 402(d)(1)(E). To be eligible, the individual must:
meet the requirements for child’s benefits; attain age 18; be in full-time attendance;
attend an Educational Institution; and not have attained age 19. Program Operations
Manual System (POMS) RS 00205.001. The Act defines a full-time elementary or secondary school student as: “an individual
who is in full-time attendance at an elementary or secondary school….” Act § 202(d)(7)(A);
42 U.S.C. § 402(d)(7)(A). An elementary or secondary school is defined as “a school
which provides elementary or secondary education under the laws of the State or other
jurisdiction in which it is located.” Act § 202(d)(7)(C)(i); 42 U.S.C. § 402(d)(7)(C)(i).
This can include schools in foreign countries. See POMS RS 00205.250B.2.
An Educational Institution is a school that provides elementary or secondary education
(grade 12 or below) as determined under the law of the State or other jurisdiction
in which it is located. POMS RS 00205.200. A student is in full-time attendance if she is meeting both standards of the institution
and Federal standards for full-time attendance. POMS RS 00205.300A and B. The Federal standards for full-time attendance require that the student is
(1) scheduled for attendance at the rate of at least 20 hours per week; (2) enrolled
in a course that is not a correspondence course; and (3) enrolled in a course of study
that is of at least 13 weeks’ duration. POMS RS 00205.300C. For schools outside the United States, schools operated by the United States are
assumed to be an Educational Institution. POMS RS 00205.250B.2. However, if the school is not operated by the United States and is outside of
the country, the school will be considered an Educational Institution if it meets
the criteria of the jurisdiction where it is located. POMS RS 00205.200.
B. Malaysian Laws and Guidelines
Whether Ms. H~ is attending an Educational Institution is determined by the laws of
Malaysia, the jurisdiction of her school.
The Malaysian Ministry of Education has published guidance on the establishment of
international schools. Ministry of Education, Guidelines for the Establishment of an International School
(Feb. 1, 2015). The document lists a number of regulatory requirements and approval processes applicable
to international schools, including those related to incorporation, governance, premises,
personnel, student intake, and fees. In terms of registration, these guidelines state
that Section 79 of the Education Act 1996 (Act 550) requires the registration of all
educational institutions in Malaysia. The Act was subsequently amended in 2015, but the amending legislation does not impact
the provisions on registration.
While the department within the Malaysian Ministry of Education responsible for private
educational institutions in Kuala Lumpur – the Kuala Lumpur Federal Territory Education
Department – does not reference the status of the International School of Kuala Lumpur
on its website, the school is listed as a member of the Association of International
Malaysian Schools. The Association states that membership is open to schools “which are registered with
the Ministry of Education in Malaysia.” Id.
Information about the International School of Kuala Lumpur is also available on the
website of the Office of Overseas Schools of the U.S. Department of State, which states
that the school offers “an educational program from prekindergarten through grade
12” and “is officially registered as a nonprofit educational institution under the
Malaysia Education Act of 1961.” While the 1961 Education Act was repealed, the Education Act 1996 contains a range
of transitional provisions, including section 151, which provides that any educational
institution registered under the 1961 Act will be deemed to be registered under the
1996 Act. See Education Act 1996 (Act 550) §§ 151, 155.
Ms. H~ has been receiving Auxiliary Benefits on her father’s record since June 2015.
Ms. H~ turned 18 on November XX, 2016. She attends the International School of Kuala
Lumpur as a full-time student. The institution is by all indications registered with
the Malaysian Ministry of Education and, as such, under the POMS it is considered
an Educational Institution because it provides secondary education as determined under
the law of the jurisdiction where it is located. Ms. H~ will not have attained age
19 by June 2017. Accordingly, all of the requirements of POMS RS 00205.001A are met, and Ms. H~ is entitled to student benefits from November 2016 through June