PR 07906.298 Qatar
A. PR 17-016 Entitlement to Student Benefits Based on Status as a Full-Time Student at American School of Doha, Qatar
Date: November 4, 2016
The American School of Doha, Qatar, is an Educational Institution offering an American college preparatory system with Advanced Placement courses and an International Baccalaureate Diploma Program.
Whether R~ (R~), who attended the American School of Doha as a full-time student, could be considered a full-time student at a secondary school for the period of February 2016 through June 2016 and, therefore, entitled to student benefits on the record of her mother, C~ (the NH).
Qatar, the law of the jurisdiction in which the school is located, recognizes R~’s school as an Educational Institution. Based on the evidence provided, R~ met the additional requirements for student benefits. Therefore, she may be considered a full-time secondary school student from the period from February 2016 through June 2016.
The NH, who is R~’s mother, began receiving Social Security Disability Benefits in March 2012. R~, who was born on February XX, 1998, began receiving Auxiliary Benefits on her mother’s record in October 2012. R~attended the American School of Doha as a full time student. R~’s school year began in August 2015 and ended in June 2016.
R~ completed a Student’s Statement Regarding School Attendance on January XX, 2016. She indicated she attended 35 hours per week of high school courses and expected to graduate in June 2016. On January XX, 2016, the registrar of the American School of Doha certified that R~ was enrolled at this institution and the course of study was at least 13 weeks of duration.
The American School of Doha’s website regarding the high school noted that they offer an American college preparatory system with Advanced Placement courses and International Baccalaureate Diploma Program. To graduate, students must complete 25 units of credits and at least 40 hours of community service. The school day runs from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm five days a week, with early dismissal on Tuesdays.
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. Qatar Laws and Guidelines
Whether R~ is attending an Educational Institution will be determined by the laws of Qatar, the jurisdiction of her school.
All private schools in Qatar must be approved and licensed by the Ministry of Education. Law No. 23 of 2015, Al-Jaridah Al-Rasmiyah, vol. 19, 13 December 2015, available at:
http://www.almeezan.qa/LawPage.aspx?id=6811&language=ar (in Arabic); see also Letter from George Sadek, Senior Legal Analyst, Global Legal Research Center, Law Library of Congress, to Lauren Myers, Asst. Regional Counsel, Office of the General Counsel - Region II, Social Security Administration (March XX, 2016) (hereinafter, “March XX, 2016 LOC Letter”) (on file with the Office of the General Counsel - Region II). The Supreme Education Council in Qatar has published guidelines for foreign private academic institutions operating in Qatar, which set out a number of requirements an institution must fulfill to be accredited. SUPREME EDUCATION COUNCIL, LICENSING A PRIVATE SCHOOL IN THE STATE OF QATAR: HANDBOOK FOR APPLICANTS FOR THE ACADEMIC YEAR 2015-2016, http://www.edu.gov.qa/En/Documents/Private%20Licensing%20Eng11082015.pdf. As noted in the March XX, 2016 LOC Letter, the American School of Doha is listed on the official website of the Qatar Ministry of Education’s website among accredited private schools. See, Private Schools Information, The American School of Doha, MINISTRY OF EDUCATION, http://www.sec.gov.qa/Ar/ServicesCenter/Pages/schooldetails.aspx?SchoolID=353 (in Arabic).
C. R~ Is Entitled to Benefits Because She Is a Full-Time Secondary School Student at an Educational Institution
The documentation provided and the information from the Ministry of Education shows that R~ was entitled to student benefits.
R~ has been receiving Auxiliary Benefits on her mother’s record since 2012. R~ turned 18 on February XX, 2016; she attended the American School in Doha as a full-time student, under both the institution’s standards and Federal standards. The institution has received accreditation in Qatar, according to the official website of the Qatar Ministry of Education, which approves and licenses Qatar private schools. Private Schools Information, The American School of Doha, MINISTRY OF EDUCATION, http://www.sec.gov.qa/Ar/ServicesCenter/Pages/schooldetails.aspx?SchoolID=353 (in Arabic); see also March XX, 2016 LOC Letter. Therefore, it is considered an Education Institution under the POMS because it provides secondary education as determined under the law of the jurisdiction where it is located. POMS RS 00205.200A. R~ had not attained age 19 by June 2016. Accordingly, all of the requirements of POMS RS 00205.001A are met, and R~ is entitled to student benefits from February 2016 through June 2016.
In sum, it is our opinion that the American School of Doha meets the requirements of an Educational Institution. Because all of the requirements for student benefits are met, R~ can be considered a full-time secondary student at a secondary school for the relevant period.
The Center for Program Support (CPS) provided this office with the following documents: R~’s January XX, 2016 “Student’s Statement Regarding School Attendance” form; a “Certification by School Official” form dated January XX, 2016; a printout of the Admissions page of the American School of Doha website from February 10, 2016; and a printout of the High School page of the American School of Doha website from February 10, 2016.