TN 1 (06-05)

PR 08005.021 Louisiana

A. PR 05-175 Louisiana State Law Requirements For Home Schooling (NH Mason R~, SSN ~ Rance A. R~, Student) (OGC Legal Opinion No. 05-1674) - REPLY

DATE: June 7, 2005

1. SYLLABUS

A child who participates in a home study program approved by the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (SBESE) is considered in attendance at a day school for compulsory attendance purposes. The student's parent or legal guardian must apply to the SBESE for initial approval of a home study program and must apply annually for renewal of the approval. The initial application process for home schooling requires a copy of the child's birth certificate in addition to the application. The approved application should establish that the home school offers a sustained curriculum of a quality at least equal to that offered in public schools, that there is an adequate physical plant, and that the home school operates at least 180 days per year.

The home school instructor, parent, or legal guardian must submit evidence of compliance with Louisiana's laws. The student must also meet Federal standards for full-time attendance and all other requirements for payment of benefits.

2. OPINION

The purpose of this memorandum is to respond to your request for our opinion regarding whether a home school would qualify under section 202 (d)(7)(C)(i) of the Social Security Act (the Act) as a school that provides elementary or secondary education as determined under Louisiana law. See 42 U.S.C. § 402 (d)(7)(C)(i). Specifically, you asked whether Rance A. R~ qualifies as a full-time student of an elementary or secondary school and, therefore, is entitled to receive benefits on the record of Mason R~. After reviewing the facts and relevant law, we believe that Rance's home school qualifies as an educational institution under Louisiana state law and that he is entitled to benefits on Mr. R~ record.

As we understand the facts, Rance was receiving benefits on Mr. R~ record until he attained age eighteen in September 2004, at which time his benefits were terminated. Rance then submitted Form SSA-1372, Student's Statement Regarding School Attendance, on which he stated that he had been home schooled since September 2004. The SSA-1372 also indicates that Rance attends the home school full-time 20 to 25 hours per week and that he expects to graduate in May 2006. Finally, it is our understanding that Rance is being home schooled by Ms. Pamela C~, a home school assistant.

The materials you have submitted include an approved initial home study application signed by Ms. Princetta R~, Rance's mother, on which she certifies that Rance is enrolled in a home study program offering a sustained curriculum of a quality at least equal to that offered in the public schools, that there is an adequate physical plant, and that the program operates a minimum of 180 days per year. The form is signed as approved by the President of the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (SBESE). You have also submitted the SBESE-approved home study information packet for the 2004-2005 school year.

According to Louisiana law, the initial application process for home schooling requires a copy of Rance's birth certificate in addition to the application itself. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17:236.1B. Since the SBESE application is not a renewal, there is no requirement for documentation of student achievement during the prior year. See La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17:236.1B; see also SBESE Approved Home Study Information Packet 2004-2005 at page 2. However, we note that Rance indicated on his SSA-1372 that he had briefly attended a public high school during the prior school year, and such information would have been available to the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. The initial application was approved by the President of the SBESE on December 17, 2004.

As you know, the child of a wage earner may receive benefits after age eighteen if he is a full-time elementary or secondary school student. 20 C.F.R. § 404.350(a)(5) (2004). A student receiving home school instruction in accordance with the law of the state in which he resides is considered a full-time elementary or secondary school student. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.367(a)(1), (c). As Rance resides in Louisiana, Louisiana State law applies. Id.

In Louisiana, a school is defined as an institution for the teaching of children, consisting of an adequate physical plant, instructional staff members, and students. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17:236. A child who participates in an SBESE-approved home study program is considered in attendance at a day school for compulsory attendance purposes. Id. The student's parent or legal guardian must apply to the SBESE for initial approval of a home study program and must apply for renewal of the approval each year. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17:236.1A./

The information you have provided establishes that, since September 2004, Rance has been attending a home school that was approved by the SBESE in accordance with the Louisiana statutory procedures. We have no reason to question the accuracy of the documentation and representations made. Accordingly, we believe that Rance qualifies as a full-time student according to Louisiana State law.

The purpose of this memorandum is to respond to your request for our opinion regarding whether a home school would qualify under section 202 (d)(7)(C)(i) of the Social Security Act (the Act) as a school that provides elementary or secondary education as determined under Louisiana law. See 42 U.S.C. § 402 (d)(7)(C)(i). Specifically, you asked whether Rance A. R~ qualifies as a full-time student of an elementary or secondary school and, therefore, is entitled to receive benefits on the record of Mason R~. After reviewing the facts and relevant law, we believe that Rance's home school qualifies as an educational institution under Louisiana state law and that he is entitled to benefits on Mr. R~ record.

As we understand the facts, Rance was receiving benefits on Mr. R~ record until he attained age eighteen in September 2004, at which time his benefits were terminated. Rance then submitted Form SSA-1372, Student's Statement Regarding School Attendance, on which he stated that he had been home schooled since September 2004. The SSA-1372 also indicates that Rance attends the home school full-time 20 to 25 hours per week and that he expects to graduate in May 2006. Finally, it is our understanding that Rance is being home schooled by Ms. Pamela C~, a home school assistant.

The materials you have submitted include an approved initial home study application signed by Ms. Princetta R~, Rance's mother, on which she certifies that Rance is enrolled in a home study program offering a sustained curriculum of a quality at least equal to that offered in the public schools, that there is an adequate physical plant, and that the program operates a minimum of 180 days per year. The form is signed as approved by the President of the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (SBESE). You have also submitted the SBESE-approved home study information packet for the 2004-2005 school year.

According to Louisiana law, the initial application process for home schooling requires a copy of Rance's birth certificate in addition to the application itself. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17:236.1B. Since the SBESE application is not a renewal, there is no requirement for documentation of student achievement during the prior year. See La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17:236.1B; see also SBESE Approved Home Study Information Packet 2004-2005 at page 2. However, we note that Rance indicated on his SSA-1372 that he had briefly attended a public high school during the prior school year, and such information would have been available to the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. The initial application was approved by the President of the SBESE on December 17, 2004.

As you know, the child of a wage earner may receive benefits after age eighteen if he is a full-time elementary or secondary school student. 20 C.F.R. § 404.350(a)(5) (2004). A student receiving home school instruction in accordance with the law of the state in which he resides is considered a full-time elementary or secondary school student. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.367(a)(1), (c). As Rance resides in Louisiana, Louisiana State law applies. Id.

In Louisiana, a school is defined as an institution for the teaching of children, consisting of an adequate physical plant, instructional staff members, and students. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17:236. A child who participates in an SBESE-approved home study program is considered in attendance at a day school for compulsory attendance purposes. Id. The student's parent or legal guardian must apply to the SBESE for initial approval of a home study program and must apply for renewal of the approval each year. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17:236.1A./

The information you have provided establishes that, since September 2004, Rance has been attending a home school that was approved by the SBESE in accordance with the Louisiana statutory procedures. We have no reason to question the accuracy of the documentation and representations made. Accordingly, we believe that Rance qualifies as a full-time student according to Louisiana State law.

Tina M. W~
Regional Chief Counsel

By: ____________________
Thomas C. S~
Assistant Regional Counsel


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PR 08005.021 - Louisiana - 04/30/2008
Batch run: 01/27/2009
Rev:04/30/2008